Monday, November 24, 2014

Gotta Love It

Gotta love it. I left my newly bought pack of cigarettes on the table at the nearby Circle K, came home, eventually realized I had left the cigarettes, and so drove back to the Circle K. Probably about 45 minutes had passed in between times, partly because a car had parked pretty much in the middle of the street and two garbage trucks had tried to go around it at the same time. Anyway, arriving back at the Circle K, I find that the cigarettes are still there! Even though people have come and gone, and there are now new people sitting at the table, the pack is still there. Folks, this just doesn't happen in America. You can forget about those cigarettes. Don't even bother to go back and look. Guaranteed, they're gone. Even if a nonsmoker has come along, he'll take them anyway, just because they're there. And this is not an isolated incident. Same thing happened to me last week at a different CK. I find this sort of thing tirelessly amazing. I have seen people leave laptop computers on a table while they went to the restroom. I've seen people leave cellphones on a table or on a beach chair. I've seen women leave their purses on a chair, for heaven's sake! No one takes these things because they recognize a simple fact that we in America seem to have lost sight of. They belong to someone else.

We Are the World

Really, we all have so much in common. We should concentrate on those things, rather than on our differences. For instance, we all suffer from itches that cannot be scratched. No matter how you contort your limbs, you cannot reach the spot that itches. We are all good drivers stuck in a world of bad drivers. We are all aware of the flaws of others but not of our own. When we try to throw something into the trash bin. we almost always miss. If we drop something on the floor, it almost always rolls under some immovable piece of furniture. If we put on our raincoat in anticipation of rain, it doesn't rain. And vice versa. In like manner, if we leave our laundry out overnight, it gets rained on; if we bring it in, it doesn't rain. We all think of what we should have said several days after we should have said it. Whenever we are trying to concentrate on something, there is bound to be a fly disturbing our train of thought. Truly, the list goes on and on. We are all the same.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I've always made things very easy for takers. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I believe that they will eventually learn something and begin to give in return. Yet, I must admit that that's probably not likely. Having taken without shame, they will likely only take more. So why? I always remember the words of the Lord. "If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." The road is both short and long. Some are focused on their own feet, some on the unseen, though truly authentic goal. This is the foolishness of God, wherein being emptied is the same as being filled.

What's on Your Mind?

Three chairs and a table that I've always intended to paint. The tree that is sprouting new leafs and shedding old ones, not more than a stick when we first placed it there beneath the blue clothesline. Autumn in Oregon, the skeletons of summer, the last of the red leaves gasping in the gutters while the palm of dead winter turns the window glass to ice. Another cigarette, the possibility of sleep, obstinate poverty, the question of love, unsaid words too late imagined, of untold, untellable, uncomfortable depth. Fear and surrender, perpetual passion mitigated by small spaces. The last things, the final things. The laughter of a fountain that I cannot see and the mouse that just ran under the kitchen counter. That's what's on my mind. And so, goodnight.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Night on the Town

"It was late and every one had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light."
--Ernest Hemingway, A Clean Well Lighted Place

I guess that pretty well describes my own night on the town last night. Except for the Swedish guy at Angels who reckoned he could speak English, and maybe could have, too, if he hadn't been too drunk to form real words in any language. He tried Indonesian, as well, with the mostly somewhere absent bartender, with an equal lack of success. I know that he said something about every place in the world being the same, except not, really, because of global warming and that it should have been snowing in Sweden a long time ago. He was 44 and thought that he might marry the bartender, whose name he could not remember. In any case, he was thinking it over. To be honest, I thought that the vacant Circle K at which I had first stopped offered better company

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Coffee Critic

I think I'll become a coffee and cuisine critic, specializing in those establishments less often (or perhaps never) frequented by the general public. O-Bin coffee, located on Jalan Tukad Badung, seems just such a one. Very peaceful indeed. As with nearby D'Kiddo's, I had (and will likely always have) the place to myself. The black coffee comes at a reasonable price and, after entering, I was soon treated to a selection of knock-off Beatles tunes from the early years (which all Bules love). But the thing that really distinguishes this place is its menu of specialty juices for various diseases - breast cancer, kidney stones, high blood pressure and heart disease. Whether these juices cause or prevent these maladies, I am not 100 percent certain, though I'm assuming it's the latter. Sadly, however, there was nothing for toothache. Nor were there any patrons suffering from these diseases, on the occasion of my visit, anyway. Perhaps they were too sick to show up. Nonetheless, should I myself contract any of these illnesses, I will certainly return. Otherwise, the non-curative beverages at D'Kiddos are larger and a bit less expensive.

Pak Botak

Why is it that people here think baldness is so hilarious? I swear, whenever I go outside my house, I'm like as not to have someone shout "Pak Botak!" It's almost like being famous, like Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Usually I get this from a gang of boys, but sometimes from grown men as well. Just this morning, for instance, I was having a coffee at the nearby café, when two men on a motorbike passed by on the street and one of them shouted "Botak!" I'm surprised I was even that obvious from that distance, although I suppose maybe my head was gleaming like a beacon in the sunshine. Look at that! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's someone with a bald head! My lucky stars! Can't wait to get home and tell my kids!

But I have hair. I really do. Some, at least. And so I'm determined now to grow it. That'll show 'em. No more Pak Botak in this neighborhood. Yes, I'm prepared to give up the fame. I'm sure that Mister Hair will be not nearly as amusing as Mr. Bald.