Friday, October 22, 2004

A place called vertigo

This week's goofiness has me thinking about writing a memoir again. I started this summer, actually, and had about twenty pages before getting bored. David Hernandez is always telling me I should write it; it's him that got me started this summer. It'd be a great book, I think, equal parts horrific and hysterical. But, God, writing it--all those words. Here, with the blog, I don't think too much about aesthetic concerns, everything is pleasantly slapdash, so these little bouts of prose don't seem a bother.

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But back to goofiness and random wackery. I just attract it, plain and simple. Here's a little piece I wrote when I lived in Tuscaloosa:

ON DETERMINATION

Due to some construction on campus, where a long park is being built between two buildings, my usual route to Morgan Hall is now impassible. To get around this, I duck into the student center, take an elevator up and exit out into a parking lot, a few blocks from the department. This morning, for whatever reason, the automatic door outside the student center wouldn't open, so I waited around for someone to come along. It was early and few people were about. I looked over my shoulder and several feet behind me an older lady, in her late fifties, I'd say, was approaching. She waved and I was sure it was to someone else, maybe on the other side of the door. Suddenly, her arm was around my shoulders, her thickly made-up face pressed close to mine, cheek to cheek. To be sure, we were beginning a strange dance. I tried to figure out if I knew her. I didn't. She said:

"He's determined. He's determined to be out there on that football field."

Was she speaking English? I looked around and to the side of us stood Sluggo, her beefy boy, her pride and joy, I guess.

"But, I want you to know his determination is nothing, nothing compared to your determination. What's your name, son?"

At this point, I was so stunned I told her. She began to pray.

"O Lord, it was you who was possessed of the original determination, and it is this spirit of determination we see in Paul. Bless him, Jesus, bless him. Amen."

She leaned ever closer, and impossibly, my sense of dread grew. She kissed me on the cheek, and said, "You're beautiful, you know that? Is it ok for me to tell you that?"

"Sure, anything," I replied, thinking, as long as you let me go.

As quickly as she'd coiled around me, she stepped away and told her son to open the door. I pulled away from them, fast as I could go, and as I zipped away, I heard over my shoulder these words:

"Maybe I'll see you on campus!"

I ran away.

4 comments:

Wendy Wisner said...
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Wendy Wisner said...
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Victoria Chang said...

Oh geez. That's so frickin' funny! I'll have to read that one to my hubbie too...you have confirmed what I have always suspected--people are crazy! And a memoir, incredible idea. The last I read was Eggers' memoir and it was pretty good until 3/4 way through it got dull. Hope you finish it and it comes out sometime, I'd read it.

ryan james wilson said...

I see you met one of my co-workers. Strange, strange. -Ryan