uu 19 – peripheral lights

noted books

08 November 2015 – News of dad going on a second date. He won’t give me a name. Not until there’s a reason to. Plus, he added, I might just know the dame.

His words.

Else, Dot and Melville off to southern California. For 3 months. Give or take. Extended honeymoon. That and Dot always goes this time of year. Got in the habit with her first husband (dearly departed). Has some sort of timeshare arrangement with another couple who spend half their year in the Mediterranean. Sounds a sweet deal.


Liz and I took the jetsetters to the airport then stopped for dim sum. Got to talking life and how we live it. Not in an overly serious way. Just talking. As we do. This that the other and whatever it is we do it all for. Things coming back to idea of going on a holiday. Bringing about pause in conversation. Liz. Chopsticks at her lips. Gaze momentarily stuck on Lazy Susan doing jerky rounds at next table. Revelating revolutions. A light in her eyes.

Alakazam. Pause be gone. Light camera action.

Here it is. She wants to go away. Actually take a holiday. By herself. A break, a time out. Doesn’t really matter where. So long as she can just plop herself down, not worry about the weather, and think out what next. That’s the ticket. As well as she’s been doing, as well as thing are going, she’s convinced it’s high time she made some changes.


And then her phone went off. She showed me the message (‘Everything you do is greatly appreciated.’) and laughed. Confided that she’s been practicing gratitude and wrote the message herself. Figures if she’s making an effort to be nice to others she may as well include herself in the mix.

Another thing she said re: personal gratitude: If you don’t keep up with it it gets away on you.

And there you have it. Couldn’t agree more.


11 November 2015 – Sitting with G at his desk this morning. Watching and listening to him enter handwritten notes into his computer. Adding them to a list that has grown to well over 150 pages.

Today’s entries (numbered for clarity—and, yes, I am sitting in front of his computer):

1. Fields of pink in Atacama.
2. Aedes japonicus.
3. The abusive jogger and the kindly cyclist.
4. Haunted rowhouses not selling.
5. The Imposter.
6. Whenever any of it makes sense let me know.
7. Danielewski’s narrative constructs (narcons).
8. How that so little of consequence fills so much time.
9. Who is the me mentioned above?
10. Remembrance Day 2015.

His threadbare technique is usually less cryptic. Not this time around. I had to ask for explanations. Which went as follows:

1. Atacama. A desert in South America. Enough precipitation this year for pink flowers to bloom. En masse. Linked to El Nino.

2. Disease-carrying mosquito that has been detected in western climes.

3. An incident witnessed at work. Jogger darting out of nowhere into path of oncoming cyclist. Cyclist, not going very fast, brakes hard and falls off bike. Jogger continuing on. Cyclist, an older man, sarcastically calling out in Australian accent, ‘No. It’s okay. I’m not hurt’. Jogger, looking over her shoulder, screaming curses. Capped off with, from 40 yards away, ‘Serves you fucking right you fucking shit. You don’t own the road. Open your eyes. And while you’re at it why the fuck don’t you go back to fucking England.’ All of it within earshot of a group of daycare kids waiting at the crosswalk a few meters ahead of the cyclist. G went to assist the cyclist, who it turned out was a very nice man. All the cyclist could do was shake his head and laugh. ‘I’m not bloody English, am I.’

4. Another work reference. One of the bossmen recently moved into a new rowhouse ‘on the edge of civilization’ and has been waking up in the middle of the night to the ghost of a woman at the end of his bed. After a few such visitations he asked his neighbors if they’d had any similar supernatural experiences. They all had. One neighbor discovered that the rowhouses were built on the farm where an infamous mass murderer reportedly disposed of his unnumbered victims. Naturally everyone is trying to sell. No one is buying. Coincidentally G worked on this development last year. And had no idea it was where it is (nor what it was).

5. Idea for a story. Involving one Ifnius Tendender and his quiet band of do-gooders. Who do the nitty gritty for an underground organization aiming to right the wrongs perpetrated by those who are either beyond the law or have the means to circumvent normal procedures. Tendender has had past successes tracking down deposed/exiled/runaway despots and re-routing their ill-gotten gains back to those who were stolen from (even if unknowingly). His new gig is of a different order. Repossessing a stolen masterpiece and gifting it to a museum that has been displaying a fake for decades. The painting is of course worth 10s if not 100s of millions.

7. Reference to narrative stylings used in The Familiar, one of the books he is currently reading. (Other books on his bedside table—stacked on top of Infinite Jest [meaning he may actually be reading them, although when I’m not sure]—from bottom to top: Sailor Song, The Crossing [which I’ve now finished], A Brief History of Seven Killings, and Ragtime [which he’s pushing for us to read together, as was meant with The Crossing]. Not to mention Faces and Masks [master bathroom], First Love, Last Rites [mainfloor bathroom], Rashomon [kitchen table], Norwegian Wood [livingroom table], and various guides on plants and trees [everywhere, including the car]. The only book I’m reading right now is City on Fire.)

9. Today. Added, as he has done, he tells me, throughout his list, to keep track of where it (the list) is at in realtime.

He says that one of these days he’ll get around to doing something with his list. Or not. Almost annoying how cavalier he can be about it.

As for me, one of these days I’ll get around to getting on with Delilah. Drives me nuts I’ve left her hanging so long.


12 November 2015 – The sense that with the rain today we’re in for the long wet haul of coastal winter. Each and every patron I’ve checked in so far has made a comment. I keep saying it’s better than cold snow.

Have I mentioned in here that I got the community centre job?


14 November 2015 – Paris. The morning after.


uu 18 – keys to a forgettable weekend remembered

pink candytuft

05 November 2015 – Strange to receive your own notebook in the mail. The relief of having it back in my possession. Surprising and immeasurable. Can’t put a price on such things I guess. Missed it. This n-book. Its ready presence, its steady insistence. Wondered if I’d ever see it again. Was downright frantic about it if I’m truthful. Once I realized I’d left it at the house on the ocean.

What a gongshow that was.

The ‘family’ weekend gone sideways. Month ago already. Wow. Time can be funny. Such an off-the-wall set of days. So full of drama and consequence. Yet how distant and fleeting it now seems. Scarcely registers. But a pebble in the road and all that.

Peripheral madness.

Let’s see. Marlon was a complete ass. Nothing shocking there. But there are degrees to everything. Don’t think he spent a second in the house. Was with Amanda (one half of the couple who look after the ocean house) the whole time. Drinking, getting high, and who knows what else. Story being she was once a close friend of his ex-wife. Reunion of sorts. That’s the extent of his explanation to Liz. Not that it matters now. Upshot: Liz finally caught wise and ended things. On the Saturday night. Marched straight up to him and demanded he give her keys back.

Salts that away. But there was more.

Briefly put, Amanda lives on site. Yearround. In the garage. With her husband. Deiter. A professional hippie, as he was wont to say—though simple pothead might be better description. Whatever. Point is there was more to the debauchery than Marlon knowing Amanda. Deiter was on board. As was Alice (Dot’s daughter). Also married. To Duncan. Whose fruitless attempts to rein her in only pushed her further into party mode. Her out and out dismissal of him reducing him to sullen bystander. Resulting in heated exchange at first light on the Sunday morning. Summoning those of us in the house to kitchen to witness Alice, bugged out and coming down, shrieking. Calling Duncan a party-pooper and a toad and a wimp and worse. His response to clear the counter of dishes and pots. Crashing climax to scene. After which he calmly apologized to us sleepyheads, bid us all adieu, dangled the car keys in Alice’s face, and promptly took his leave.

She had it coming. I almost started to clap.

Dot and Melville did in fact get married. With Liz, G, and me in attendance. A sober and modest ceremony. On the beach. Mild weather. Not too windy or cold. Vows exchanged before a JP who kept things brief. Everything ran smoothly. No hitches or unexpected surprises—save perhaps the absence of Alice, though Dot didn’t seem to mind. Her attentions were solely on her handsome man, who was beaming like a schoolboy knowing the girl he likes likes him too. Face as pink as the small flowers G managed to pluck for Dot to hold.

By noon we were on the road. Girls in back, boys up front. A cheerful bunch. We played driving games and sang songs together. None of us let events prior to the wedding eclipse the happy union. The only comment on the weekend as a whole was G calling it a fitting script for a Woody Allen movie.

Title: Approximately Happy. Which it was, in the end.

We dropped the newlyweds off then headed to Marlon’s loft for Liz’s stuff. Not much to claim. Just a few bags of clothing and some toiletries. Last leg home Liz marvelled at how easy it was closing that door (and leaving the key under the wordless welcome mat). Wasn’t lost on her that had she already moved in, as planned, things would’ve been much messier. The imposition of the weekend changed their plans. She was grateful for the irony.

And hasn’t looked back since.

A weekend better left forgotten. And surely would have been, by now, had I not secreted this here n-book in the drawer of a faraway bedside table.

Like it was a thin bible.

Funny, can’t help wondering if Amanda and Deiter read it. They must have. How could they not?