Wednesday, July 21, 2010

a friend of mine at the office brought in a huge box of fresh garden tomatoes, ripe, bright red, ready to eat, and often in the afternoon i just eat one, like an apple, straight, trying not to get the juice and the seeds all over myself. invariably they get all over something, like the carpet which is steadily getting wet from airconditioner-drip overflow. this wet carpet situation is actually a crisis, but one among many that i've been too busy to deal with properly. the raw tomato, eaten straight, takes away my constant hunger for coffee and makes me feel my stomach is already churning in its own acid. outside, it's sweltering, and humid; well, it's only ninety-five or so, but i've become a wimp, and detest going back and forth from over-airconned buildings to the outdoor sauna. i stay in, skip the coffee, work all afternoon, and go out in it only after the heat of the day has somewhat subsided.

i've missed a few months of haircuts, a few sunset concerts, and a lot of blogging, but i'm not only faithful to my class, i've been making materials at a furious pace; we've been doing art, and i started with warhol, who i know a little about, but now we've moved through hopper, who i really liked (did two listening exercises), van gogh (who, according to the lecturer, was the archetype of the crazy artist- his claim to fame), and now roy lichtenstein and the bull, and picasso, and tomorrow the impressionists...this is really fun. sometimes in class i'll type someone's name into google images, and just get an art gallery, basically, of images, not all perfectly clear, by the time they get up on the projector, but good enough to get a sense of what a guy's work was like, or, for example, what happens when you type "impressionism"...and get a whole variety of different kinds. i make both reading and listening exercises, but it's all about art, and i challenge the class to tell me whether they like something or not and why. we have now gotten better enough at talking about art, so that we have more interesting conversations. the movies take us through one work after another, telling about the genius of any particular painter. hopper led us through the empty streets of new york, the ordinary places; they loved that. warhol hit them over the head with campbell's soup; they didn't of course have the same associations as i perhaps would.

this has lightened up life a little, because i have neglected, so badly, so much of my own art, or even to write about stuff, most of which involves the suffering of family members, so won't make it here. at home, the garden is doing well- mostly tomatoes, ripening like crazy, big honky cucumbers growing suddenly, an occasional zucchini, green peppers, lots of basil and some sage and thyme, and these yellow gourdy squash that don't seem to be edible. sometimes my wife and i take our coffee out there in the back, and drink it slowly while the bugs and bees eye us from the wildflowers or the middle of the tomatoes, and warn us to pick this stuff pretty quick or they'll eat it. even out on the patio, in the early morning, it gets too hot and humid for me, and i can practically feel the poison oak reaching its fumes out to get me if i make one false move. i teach right through the noon hour three days, and only get to swim twice, so part of my frustration is simply not making it to the pool enough, especially if, as the last couple of times, i was unable to make it even on the days when i could...on those days, i'm a little calmer; i sleep better; i rest, knowing i've at least done the best i could, so i should have faith that things will work out somehow, and that g-d will somehow make right, what nature and people have rent asunder.

i hate to lay all this oblique depression on the poor reader, who may only have an inkling, but i've temporarily lost the desire to go out, dig up the better things of life, and turn them over, here, to keep you awake. this is a small town; we drive the streets of the west side, which i call the ornament valley; any given house that goes on sale, for example, or gets sold, if it is actually advertised- that's our news. we no longer get the trib or the local paper; though i check google news for my other class, the news class, there's nothing there but bp or lindsey lohan, or whatever; it's not even enough to divert my attention. across from the dairy queen, a bar builds a sideways kind of lofty place; it's new, yes, but the curb at the dq still has all its spilled ice cream, or other kinds of summer's detritus. the surprising thing, i told my wife, is not that it gets so humid and oppressive at this time of year. it's that life goes on as if it's nothing special. and people like me, who go back and forth, from ninety-five to air-con frigid, come home somewhat empty-headed, almost unable to even write about it.

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