Yesterday at lunch Melanie said to me, after she had covered her eyes with her hand, shaking her head, "The vortex has returned. And in record time."
She may be right.
She's referring to the vortex of weirdness that often seems to ring me. I should have seen it ramping up. The man offering me a loaf of raisin bread. The retarded boy whistling at me in K-Mart, wanting to know if I sold harmonicas.
In Carbondale, it was ape-shit bonkers most of the time. A hirsute Romanian who only wore zebra-striped jogging pants, fanny packs, and Deion Sanders t-shirts, who was fond of the poetry of Steve Miller ("Who is this man who sings, 'Really love your peaches / Want to shake your tree.' This is poetry, my friend."). A disgraced podiatrist who had lost everything, thriving practice, a pretty wife (he would, in melancholy moments, confide what he missed most about her: "a pair of warm titties in my back"). Crying Chinese women. Workshop pseudo-death threats. Police interrogation. Meetings with university legal counsel. Rodney Jones.
In Tuscaloosa, despite road-side faith healings and weird passive-aggressions from my boss, things were mostly sedate. A great time and place for me as a writer.
Chattanooga was, well, home. Little in the way of strangenesses.
But here we all are in Carrollton, a fine little town where I wake up to find on my walk to school a prison detail cleaning sidewalks for me. Then, days later, the city ripping three blocks of sidewalk out of the ground, pouring concrete for new sidewalks. For me. Low flying planes overhead doing aerial surveying. A guy in an elephant costume riding by on a motorcycle.
An elderly woman establishing some sort of psychic link with me.
A weirdly solicitous student we dubbed Burlsputin, for his unsettling mix of Burl Ives and Rasputin.
One issue I wish I could talk about but in kindness to another I won't.
Becoming this university's enfant terrible in regards to improving access.
Two hours of wracking pain.
One personal attendant quitting. Her replacement calling herself The Sunshine Lady.