Friday, August 26, 2022

Blue Pants, Not Checkered, But Still Befuddling

 Slipping on a pair of blue pants this morning, I found to my surprise that they were at least three sizes too large. Oh my God! I've lost 20 pounds in my sleep! How can it be? I mean, not that I couldn't stand to lose some weight. I just didn't know it could be so easy. I was actually feeling kind of good about this, searching about for a belt that could be drawn tight enough to secure the waist, but given that the amazing pants fell down around my ankles every time I took a step in one direction or another, I realized that this was not going to work. 

I then remembered another pair of blue pants that I had gotten at the same time as this amazing pair and determined to try those on for comparison. 

Well how about that? They fit just the like any other pair of pants in my closet, blue or otherwise. 

Is there a fat person living in my house without my being aware? Or is there a fat person who comes and goes while I am out somewhere and has left his pants behind on some occasion. 

Don't you just love a mystery? 


For those who don't, it became clear to me after the passage of an absurd amount of time that the ironing service my maid uses had given her someone else's pair of blue pants, who is perhaps even now struggling into a pair of pants three sizes too small for him and wondering how in the world he had gained so much weight in one night!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Cold/Flu/or Whatever

 I've come down with a common illness for the first time in some years. Well, I guess it's common. It feels like a common cold or flu, sore throat, mild cough, stuffed up, fatigue, so far no fever. Could be the latest variant of COVID I suppose, whatever that is, but if so, COVID is nothing more than a flu/cold nowadays. 

That said, it's certainly not pleasant. I'm not sure when the last time I got sick was. A few years ago anyway. So I'm not used to it. Strangely, I spent a young lifetime often being ill, for some reason an easy target for colds and flus. It happened often enough here in Bali too for some years, but then it was gone. Of course I have more than enough unusual problems that keep me feeling unwell, but of the MS/arthritis/who-knows-what sort, not of the common sort. 

So I guess I'm on day three more or less of this thing and digging in for the usual course, which has been at least a week in the past. 

Strangely, the MS symptoms, which had been getting fairly severe recently, compared to the usual, have receded in the face of the cold/flu. Maybe they killed the MS for the time being. Or perhaps gave the immune system something else to concentrate on--something it is actually supposed to concentrate on. I just hope it doesn't overdo things. You know, destroy the village to save the people.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Creatures of the Deep

I was walking on the beach this morning, as I often do. Pantai Karang, which I guess means coral beach. I've never seen any coral there, but of course coral is farther out in the water along with all the alien looking sea creatures, fish with frowning, exaggerated faces, small fish and big fish and bigger fish looking like something one would not want to eat but rather to avoid. Fish of all colors and stripes, rock-grays and unworldly green and golden swirls. I didn't really know these creatures were there until I went snorkeling some years ago, and ever since then I've felt mildly haunted whenever I swim, an eerie sense of these slick, bug-eyed, many finned fantasmagorical vertebrata criss-crossing in the deep below me like pacing tigers.

I don't swim anymore, but that's not the reason. I'm just saying. 

I followed the path at Karang Beach to a point where it branches off to left and right and I took the right branch which leads atop a raised rock causeway over the water itself to a little open hut where fishermen often sit and dangle their lines into the deepening surf. And I thought as I walked away from solid land, What in the world am I doing here? Why am I here? How have I been here so long? Is there not somewhere else I should be?

What is the point? What is my point? What is the point of me? 

I stopped later in Sanur for coffee, and as I came out of the cafe, I noticed four numbers imprinted in the concrete of the walkway. 2009. Obviously, this meant that the concrete had been laid in 2009, thirteen years ago, a year before I came to Bali. And I thought not about that, but suddenly about walking to the end of our block with my brother--when?--1959?--maybe--and seeing in the concrete there, sometime in the century before this one that finds me in Bali, four numbers as well, 1913. Wow, 1913! we exclaimed. So long ago! Even before our father was born. Even before World War I. We may as well have discovered some ancient artifact, preserved over the ages in a concrete curbing on 28th Avenue. Come on, my brother said, let's see if we can find even more! 

Was that the day we saw the double winged plane flying over the neighborhood? I don't remember. But it was yellow, a sort of mustard yellow. I remember that. 

In the afternoon I turned on the TV, looked at the YouTube screen and selected a Three Stooges short that popped up. How did this happen to be on my screen? Not sure. It just was. As I watched, I found myself laughing, and I found myself as well somewhere back in the late 70's. I would stay up late at night in those days because I was writing a novel and then at 1 am I would turn on the TV and watch old Three Stooges shorts. My brother was up late too and sometimes he would call on the phone, 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock in the morning. Hey, you watching the Stooges? Did you see what Moe just did? With the saw or the hammer or the wrench or whatever tool he had just used to assault Curly or Larry. 

Yes, I saw, Gary. 

I'm watching cable TV, a thousand choices, a thousand channels, and I'm seeing something from the late 70's, hearing a voice now permanently stilled, laughing the laugh I laughed in the 70's, albeit with the shaky voice of a 68 year old man. 

Is there not somewhere else I should be? 

Am I not there already? 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Pissing on One's Betters

 To begin with, I will say that I am an enthusiastic fan of Haruki Murakami, author of 1Q84, Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore and many other top notch literary novels as well as short story collections. In fact, I am currently re-reading the 3-volumes of 1Q84 and Killing Commendatore is next in the cue, a novel which I have read before in English and will now read in Indonesian. 

I say all this to impart the impression that I am both intimately acquainted with this author's work and emphatically impressed by most of what I've read. And when I say "most of", I mean that I have read all of this author's fiction titles and found most of them more than satisfying. 

Now then, some time ago I happened to see a Murakami sort of fan site on Facebook and clicked to follow. Most of the posts were simply of book covers in various languages or brief reports on what one or another reader was currently reading. Most recently, however, the novel being featured has been The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and one reader wrote at some length about his disappointment with the experience, stating that for him, honestly, it was a major waste of time. He wondered, somewhat apologetically, whether so many glowing recommendations were due more to the author being Murakami than to the actual value of the work. 

Well, I agreed, more or  less, and replied to this effect. I noted that this novel was a fairly early offering and that although glimmerings of the genius of later works were often  in evidence in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, it was nonetheless far too long for the story it had to tell, unfocussed, and even tedious in some parts.

The reader to whom I had replied expressed his agreement, but then someone else chimed in. Robert by name. Robert seemed an angry sort of fellow--angry at me anyway for having the unmitigated temerity to criticize any work by Haruki Murakami. I had better read someone other than Murakami, he opined, because I was obviously unable to understand and appreciate the material.

I noted in reply that I have read all of Murakami's fiction and that he rates very high among my favorite authors, but that even the best can have a sub par outing. 

This did not go over well with Robert. My comment, he wrote, had merely revealed my own ignorance. 


"All righty then!" I replied. 

Ah but Robert was not done. I had offended him to the core. I had insulted Murakami. It was quite unforgiveable. 

"Pissing on your betters is a sad occupation," Robert wrote in conclusion. 

My goodness. Why is it that people these days cannot manage common civility? Why in the world are they so angry, and so ready to express their anger in such sharp or crass terms to total strangers. I mean, on the one hand I couldn't help but laugh at this man's strangely excessive responses, but on the other I can't help but wonder what in the hell is going on with the world.