Archive

Archive for April, 2017

Living on Chemicals

April 28, 2017 Leave a comment

The pharmaceutical companies encourage us to do things we ought not to do. If you get heartburn from spicy chicken wings, don’t worry. Just gulp Pepto or pop Zantac and indulge your addiction. Eat wings, eat pizza, eat salami… it doesn’t matter, because there’s a ‘medicine’ for that.

You like to jog, but your knees make you suffer. Pop a couple of Naproxen, and off you go. Just ignore the fact that whatever is going bad in your knees, it’s still going bad, but you’ve masked the reality.

My own organs are wearing out. They’ve served me well for 80 years, but the wear and tear begins to show. One’s prostate gland swells, interfering with the flow of urine. A series of pills helps somewhat, until finally, a colonoscopy fixes it, and creates another problem – one can’t quite turn it firmly off for the whole day.

The heart needs help, so there are pills for that. They do a great job on the heart, but the side effect is impotence. Along with that, there is some degree of depression. There’s a pill for that. There are pills for blood, pills for Thyroid, pills to sustain the function of almost every organ in your body.

I question myself, requiring so much maintenance. As Gloria Steinem said (she’s a year older than I am) “Most people my age are dead.”

The truth is, every day I see news of people 10 to 20 years younger than I am, passing away. Maybe I’m on borrowed time. The people I knew in high school are gone. Most of my cousins are gone. One of my brothers is gone. Meanwhile, I’m still having fun. I’ve never taken life, or death, very seriously anyway.

Advertisements

04. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

April 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter Four

Goldstein’s was a very popular delicatessen. He arrived a few minutes late and found himself in a line of a dozen people, waiting for tables. A few women were seated in the few chairs available. The rest of the people were either conversing, or were impatiently rocking from foot to foot, looking anxiously for a table that might be vacated. A waiter in a green apron reached through the crowd and asked Milton Korn to follow him.

Others in the waiting area looked at Milton suspiciously, some angrily. In a back corner of the restaurant, the waiter waved Milton toward a table where Honey Freed was sitting. The waiter left them with a pitcher of water, glasses, and menus before he departed.

“I was afraid you might not come,” Honey said. She slid out of the booth to greet Milton with a furtive, cheek-to-cheek semi-kiss. They sat down, facing each other across the table.

“Sorry,” Milton said. “I was waiting in line.”

“I thought you might, so I send Walter to fetch you in.” Walter the waiter approached the table with a carafe of coffee and two mugs. “I thought you’d like to start with coffee. I hope you do,” said Honey.

“Yes, coffee is fine. Thank you, Walter,” Milton said.

“You thank the waiter?” Honey said.

“He brought coffee. He brought me in to your table. I appreciate it,” said Milton.

“So, my interesting artist, where do you get the visions, the subjects that you paint so beautifully,” Honey said.

“Every person is programmed by the flow of their life,” said Milton. “I lived in a town as a privileged person. I didn’t like it. I want to be ‘regular’, and let my work be known ahead of me. My work is important, at least to me, and outside of my work, I am unimportant.”

“Do you live the life you desire?” said Honey.

“Does anyone?” said Milton. “If I had my choice, I’d live in a comfortable farmhouse in the middle of 100 acres. Green fencing around the perimeter, with a solid gate, locked against visitors. I’d have a remote camera and gate opener.

“Are you antisocial?” said Honey.

“People always disappoint me,” said Milton.

“Why are you here, then,” she said.

“I was restless at home. You’re good to look at, and you like my paintings,” Milton said.

“Is that all it takes?” said Honey.

“That’s all it takes to get me to share a table,” he said. “I hope you don’t disappoint me.”

“I grew up on a farm,” she said. “I’ve found a place I’d like to buy, but I just can’t manage the mortgage without a bigger down payment.”

“Where is it,” said Milton.

“It’s about an hour out of town, on a small, dirt, farm road near Vantage Bay,” Honey said. “Do you want to see it?”

“What? Now?” Milton said.

“Why not?” said Honey. “Do you have something that you have to do this afternoon?”

“Okay, let’s go,” said Milton. Honey led him to her car, an Alpha Romeo Spyder.

Don’t Complain to the Police

April 26, 2017 Leave a comment

The neighbour to the north of the sociopath has been suffering the aggravation for more than 20 years. His way of dealing with the sociopath is to yell and shake fists at him over the fence. He’s an idiot, and that’s why there’s been no improvement in 20 years.

The sociopath has a large diesel tractor. He spends his days on the tractor, dragging a steel beam around, eliminating any chance of grass coming up. The dragging on dry dirt adds clouds of dust to the stench of diesel exhaust. The man is not a farmer. His property is 60 feet by 200 feet, although he regularly transgresses onto neighbouring properties. His property is largely covered with crude sheds and an old school bus. The village is so small and insignificant, there are no bylaws to protect it. The area of the village is considered to be part of the surrounding farmland.

The guy with the tractor is a sociopath. He feels nothing toward the neighbours for whom he makes the days unpleasant. He breaks fences and denies it. He sweeps his dog’s droppings under the fence, onto the neighbour’s property. He pushes all the snow from surrounding areas onto the property to the south of his. This is because it’s the easiest way to get his area cleared, and the neighbours’ areas are of no consequence.

After a few years of trying to get some help from the city manager, the county counsel and even the mayor, the neighbours got a response from the provincial police. They had a couple of interviews at the police station, and one time they were told that the offending neighbour was in the building. Pressure was applied by the police to have the neighbours shake hands with the offender, and the good neighbour was blamed by the police for being unreasonable. The psycho agreed to stop putting snow on the neighbour’s property. That was strictly against the law, so of course he had to stop.

What the police overlooked, was the years of criminal harassment. He redirected rain runoff onto the neighbour’ garden. He used an old oil tank as an amateur incinerator, and burnt garbage in it. Often, he burned plastics and foam rubber, sending clouds of toxic chemicals over the neighbourhood.

The police felt that they had done a good job, blaming the complainant and ignoring the many infractions by the psycho. So don’t go to the police. They’ll blame you, because you make them work.

03. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter Three

Milton Korn wandered down to the gallery the day after his show was launched with a traditional vernissage. It wasn’t the gallery he wanted to visit, it was Honey Freed. He saw her a half a block past the gallery. She was producing a commercial for a shampoo product, and they were taping the final scene. A woman with gorgeous hair blowing in the wind was to stride happily past a hair salon. The wind was produced by a six-foot tall fan.

Milton stood quietly at the side and watched the busy crew. They pushed the camera around, they hoisted lights and deflectors, and they pulled a large number of heavy cables back and forth. In the midst of the controlled chaos, Honey Freed stood tall and looked beautiful and exciting. She was tall and slender, in tight blue jeans and a white shirt tucked in at her tiny waist.

There were some uniformed police around the location, to control traffic and people. One of them went over to Milton and asked what was his business there. Milton just wanted to watch the crew work, without getting in the way. That’s why he stayed back there. The cop told Milton to move on, which pissed Milton off. He told the cop he was a friend of Honey Freed, the boss of this crew. The cop said he’d ask her.

Milton watched the cop thread his way between boxes and light stands, over cables and sand bags, up to Honey’s side. He spoke to Honey and pointed at Milton. Honey shaded her eyes from the midday sun. When she saw it was Milton, she broke into a broad smile and waved him to come close. He picked his way through the same obstacle course as the cop, who scowled at Milton as he passed, on his way out.

“I’m so glad you’ve come,” she said, and put her hand on Milton’s shoulder. He felt the heat. It’s strange, he thought, that a casual connection can generate such physical responses. He believed it was olfactory at work. An unscented fragrance, if that’s possible, that arouses otherwise dormant feelings in two people. Not any two people, but two people whose fragrances attract each other.

Of course, Honey’s physical beauty was certainly magnetic. She was accustomed to men approaching her, dating her, and sometimes proposing to her. Honey was not a lonely woman, but she was not living the life she hoped to live. When Milton felt the warmth of her touch, Honey also felt the heat.

Honey also felt something unique when she studied Milton’s artworks. She sometimes collected art, and was knowledgeable on the subject. She apologized to Milton that she had to work for the next couple of hours, to capture the final shot they needed.

“Can we meet for breakfast one day?” Honey said.

“Tomorrow?” said Milton. “I have nothing scheduled.”

“Tomorrow morning, 8:00am, at Goldstein’s on Walsh Avenue,” she said, decisively.

“See you there,” Milton said, and went home.

(To Be Continued)

The Woman With Her Kite

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Sunday morning dawned sunny and warm. I went out to the porch with my coffee and sat to look at the old park across the road. Huge, ancient maple trees dotted the broad, grassy clearing in the centre. Further along, there were the high fences of the tennis courts, and a children’s play area.

I finished my coffee and took the empty mug into the small kitchen. When I went back to my chair on the porch, a woman had appeared in the park. She had a large kite, and she was trying to get it up into the morning breeze. She was too far away for me to see just what she looked like, but I could see that she was very tall and slim. She moved like she was an athlete or a dancer. I went down to the street and across to the park

I sat in the sun on a bench that faced the clear area where the woman was working with her big, red kite. She was getting frustrated. Frankly, so was I, watching her try repeatedly to get the kite to fly. It just flopped along on the grass, while the woman ran across the clearing in vain. I stood up and took a step toward the kite.

“Perhaps I can help,” I said.

“I don’t want no help,” she said, in what was almost a snarl. I stepped back and sat down again. I’m an average sized man, about five-foot-eight, and the woman was considerably taller than I am. I didn’t want to antagonize her. She looked tough and sounded tougher. I watched for a while longer as she helplessly laboured with her kite. After another half hour, she was clearly dejected as she walked over and sat on the other end of the bench.

“Would you like a cold drink, or coffee or something,” I said. She was sweating and breathing heavily. She looked at me with hard eyes. I could see, now that she was close, that she was perhaps in her thirties, and had suffered some hard times. Her face was attractive, although somewhat lined and stern.

“Coffee would be great,” she said, perking up a bit. He voice was softer, but still tough.

“I live just over there,” I said. “Bring your kite. You can sit and relax on the porch while I start up a fresh pot of coffee.” I strode briskly away to my place without looking back. Once on my porch, I glanced back to see that she had rolled up her kite string and was following me, with her large, red kite carried like a warrior’s shield in front of her. I decided to think of her as a warrior

I was setting up the coffee maker when I heard her behind me. She stood in the kitchen doorway and leaned on the door frame.

“Why did you offer to help me?” she said.

“Because you were trying so hard, and failing,” I said. “You were trying to do alone what is really a two person job.”

“Nobody has ever offered to help me before,” she said.

“What, to fly a kite?” I said. “How do you take your coffee?”

“Black,” she said. She went back to the porch. I followed soon after, with two mugs of black coffee. We sat together in silence for a while, until she turned to me.

“May I stay with you tonight?” she said. I didn’t expect that, and I was wary of the situation. The woman was a stranger; she was bigger than me, and in much better physical condition.

“Why?” I said.

“You might not believe this,” she said, “but your offer of help was something I’ve almost never heard before.”

“That’s difficult to believe,” I said.

“I’m not often around people like you,” she said. She looked into my eyes. “I want to see what it’s like to be held, gently.”

“You’re bigger than I am,” I said. “Do you think I can give you what you seek?”

She stayed the night. I taught her gentleness, with caresses and kisses in special places. I made us Eggs Benedict in the morning. We kissed goodbye, although I was uncomfortable that a woman had to bend down to kiss me. She left, and I’ve never seen her again. I don’t know her name, and she doesn’t know my name. However, the big, red kite is still here. Perhaps she’ll return for it someday.

The Outliers

April 21, 2017 Leave a comment

A 75 year old woman was born and raised in a small village, its population was barely 50 people. She never left that village, except to school in a slightly larger village, barely 4 kilometres away. She literally never left that village of 50. From the day she was born there, to the day I met her, when she was 75, she had not travelled to anywhere. I find this strange, because one of the world’s great, exciting, culturally rich cities is just over an hour’s drive from that village, on impeccable roads. I can’t imagine how she could resist the experience. She was a committed outlier, living in an outlying village.

One of the old woman’s neighbours was also an outlier. They’d known each other since childhood. The neighbour was a boy named Clayton Muggeridge. In the 1930s, when Clay was 15 years old, he built a sturdy sled with a wooden shed on it. He borrowed one of his father’s dray horses and harnessed it up to the shed. Forever after that, Clay filled the sled with the kids from the village and others along the farm roads and delivered everyone to the next village where the school stood. Winters were cold and snow was deep in that mountainous area.

Clay always did that job. When, in the 1950s, the board of education acquired a school bus for the county, Clayton Muggeridge became the driver, and did that job and that job only, until he was 79. Of course, he had his garden and his cows, but the school bus job made him a solid outlier. I don’t think he ever went to the nearby city either.

There is a couple in their sixties. They live in a village of 132 people. Both of the people in their marriage were born in this village, grew up in this village, married other people, and had children. In their later lives, they married each other and merged the adult children.

They live in the village, and they rarely leave the village, except to see doctors or shop. They are ignorant of all culture and art. Even though a major, world-class city is barely an hour away, they never go there. Perhaps they fear the world outside of the village. Their adult children also avoid the variations that life offers. Outliers fail to expand their horizons, therefore, they live limited lives.

Five Genders

April 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Since the 1930s, evolving roles among the various sexual preferences have taken place. I certainly believe that each individual should be free to love, or covet, or even lust after any other individual that attracts them. The idea is, of course, to seduce your intended lover. A partner should never be held by force, but should always be retained by continuous honesty, gentleness, confidence, and warmth. The successful seduction is one in which the desired lover, in response, comes to desire the seducer.

When I was a teenager in the Rock ‘n’ Roll 1950s, you might not know how important a reputation was. Most girls avoided going ‘all the way’, for fear of being thought of as ‘easy’. Boys would press them to let them ‘get lucky’, but none would accept her as exclusive, as in marriage. Boys did not suffer the same fear. It was the opposite with boys; if he ‘got lucky’; he was a hero, a master. Many lies were told.

I can only assume that some young people of today are able to comfortably assimilate the advent of openly gay, lesbian, and transgender society. When I was young, it was rarely spoken of. I think back to one of the guys in our group. Michael was always popular with the girls, he dressed impeccably at all times, and was a terrific dancer.

One night when sharing a room with another of the guys in our group, Mike made a move on his buddy. The word got out, and we never saw Mike again. Don’t know where or how he went. I also remember a cousin, Sheldon, who was much like Mike in how he presented himself. He lived and worked in the artsy part of the city, and never mixed with the rest of the family. The girls said he was a wonderful dancer, too.

The contemporary liberty must be a great relief to many people. People had to live secret lives, always hiding a heavy secret. Pretending to be straight for the sake of appearances must have been very distasteful. I have found my own way to deal with the social changes. I realize what others do in their lives and bedrooms is none of my business, and mine are none of their business. Live and let live.