Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Free Play/Second Proof

The Free Play/ Second Proof

“Just because I tell you something doesn’t mean that you own it.” He is talking about other artists infringing on his intellectual space. We sat on a slightly up-tight couch - the kind that looks inviting but betrays basic creature comfort. Having finished breakfast he spoke those words and I remember thinking to myself that that line (his line) would be a great first line of an essay: My essay. It seemed to me that by speaking it he inadvertently offered up a challenge. But no body quotes anybody anymore…what’s the purpose?

The pool in the backyard sits empty all summer long. In autumn it fills with leaves and a few worm riddled apples until winter when snow covers everything up and the pool is as close as it gets to filled-up. By spring the snow melts, ducks move in on their way to cleaner waters and they feed off the pool’s dredge. Mosquitoes gather in the swamp-like condition of this mini-ecosystem where raccoons bob for apples. The bleached out cobalt plastic blue liner invites all living things to its environ… except swimmers, no one swims in the pool.

Making the Bed:
What is worse than insomnia? Insomnia times 2: Two people lurching through one another’s exhaustion. There was no clock next to the bed and we neglected to set a phone at arm’s reach so neither of us have an actual account of what happened that night. But in the face of so much potential, we were robbed of the one thing we sought, earned and assumed mutually: sleep. It’s inexactness and solitude being even more intimate and allusive than other nighttime pursuits. In the aftermath (dawn) he made the bed tidily. And I thought of my landlady in Paris years ago, Helene, at 82 years old, saying to me as she insisted on helping put fresh sheets on the mattress, “No one should make a bed alone.” Indeed! And I smiled at my new witness making the bed. We were not alone.

A study came out last week ranking NYC as the most expensive city in the United States to live in. What a racket. It seems a waste of money to pay for a study to reassure the rich and poor alike that the expense of living here is real and worth it. Who paid for that? I want in on that game! The taxi driver, the artist, the lawyer, the stripper, the dilatant, already know that NYC is about the ability to bleed cash. On a Monday I was ridding 120 soft-boiled eggs of their shells to sell in sandwiches: that is a job, my job. Icy fingers, eggshells, organic, locally laid eggs from pure-bread Brooklyn chickens, boiled 7 minutes … when all of a sudden an eggshell cut me! My blood exposed to the air and red dousing a pan of eggs (all bad now) that will never be sold. Who cuts their finger on an egg? : People with dangerous jobs.

It is soothing to think that in serendipity there is meaning but equally a loophole or exit.
It is not Tiger Balm. Purrrr.

So the girl that works down the hall from me in the most expensive city in America will bike ride home. I offer that “It looks like rain but I did not expect this” And she says, “The weather; she makes her own decisions.” That is just one day buttressed by anonymous quotes by actual people.

Julie Ryan 2012-2013

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