Vinyl Seats

It was the height of the Cape Town summer, sweltering, especially in the confines of the white 90’s VW bus special. Piles of bodies, to the point of absurdity, fighting for whatever breath was left in the stifling interior, were crammed in without discretion. A hodgepodge of browns, blacks, empty stomachs, full stomachs, aching backs, the required bags from a special day in town, all hoping for something greater, populate every square inch of interior.  Continue reading

A Friend of Beethoven

I’m tired. It was a long walk today, longer than I was expecting, but my perpetual companions proffered a tired soul enough to make land. As of late, within the last couple of years, its hard to tell as my memory has begun to find uncertain purchase, and the difference in seasons is negligible here, one of the reasons I came west so long ago now, my body has begun to hurt and tire easily. Michael and David tell me its because I’m getting old, mocking my rickety, unsteady attempts at rising in the morning with calls of old man, old fart, and their favorite: worm food. That last one always make me laugh. They, in turn, have given up youthful aspirations; creases and deep set wrinkles, the marks of long years of laughter and sorrow, characterize once youthful faces. Friends, too caught up in the goings on of life, too distracted to notice the steady, rhythmic onslaught of old age are now deep within its clutches. We, moving in unison, shared youthful beauty, the respect and handsome accolades of middle age, and now the pity of those who navigate their way around our unsteady gait. All, except Anita, fight the ravages of time; she doesn’t look a day over 25, exactly as I met her so many years ago, baring an uncanny resemblance to my young wife. Maybe it is this recent sense, this recent awareness, that not an inconsiderable amount of time has passed in my life, and that the infinite well of vigor and vibrance of youth has begun to sputter and spurt. Continue reading

The Introduction of a Casual Observer

Wedged into the middle seat of a transatlantic flight, 15 hours into a 35- hour journey, one recalls a conversation from hours earlier. The magic of the journey, and the buzz of the airport, long faded, has left only an uncomfortable piece of airline property, serially too small, and one’s mind, fatigued by the closeness of strangers, to grapple with all the journey represents. What began as a chance to witness the doings of man in new places with new names, employed by foreign people with foreign features, slowly and deliberately devolved into questions of One’s place in the universe.  Lost in the distant fray of a self-imposed, indulgent willful ignorance a rusted, squeaky door argument beats its drums of war. A Voice, the unrelenting burden of those who are forced to seek what lays beneath, disgusted and distraught at the natural inclination all have for the need to drink colorful liqueurs that drive home the point paradise must be near, drifts delicately to the fore.  One’s rhythm, swinging gladly between fanciful imaginigs of swashbuckling heroism and sun kissed bodies, is on the verge of taking a decidedly more serious turn. The steady onslaught of consciousness, at first a gentle lapping at the shores of paradise unkown, will in turn transform into a personal realism. A void or vacuum never materializing; rather, a gradual sense of truth bubbles to the surface offering a perspective unencumbered by fanciful over activity. In its place, the Voice, logical and slightly detached, offers a casual observation, points out that a plane flight alone does nothing to change a person; that, in fact, one must choose to change oneself.

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