June 2nd, 2019


Hot and Bothered

It was a sweltery day, and although it's supposed to go down to 64 degrees tonight I don't see how it will, since it's still 78 right now, and it's closing in on midnight. The air conditioner is on, and I expect I'll have to leave it on all night. June so far is not ingratiating itself with me. This afternoon dark clouds began piling up over the mountains, and before nightfall we did get some sprinkles which steamed off of the pavement carrying the smell of hot asphalt far and wide. Surprisingly there was no thunder and lightning.

Before the rain began I managed to get to the plaza, and checked the books in the Goodwill store, as I have been doing most days. My persistence paid off today. I've been hoping to find anthologies of classic detective novels by the like of Chandler an Hammett and others, and today they did indeed have a volume of all five of Hammett's novels. It was priced higher than Goodwill's usual three bucks for a hardback, being five dollars, but was well worth it. The print is rather small, but I can deal with that, for now. Now, if they will only get some Chandler in.

There's no news on whether I'll be going to Safeway this week. There are a few sale Items I'd like to stock up on, but nothing I can't live without. Given how hot it's going to be I'm unlikely to be attempting to venture out for any distance on the bus. Chico's hellhole season has begun, and it's only going to be getting worse. The long range forecast does not show any days topping 100 degrees, but such days can't be far off. As it is, most of the next two weeks will be getting into the nineties, with a few days in the mere high eighties. The nights will be getting warmer too. It's very unpleasant to think that we could be getting three solid months or more of this, but that's life in the Great Valley.

This evening I developed a sudden craving for Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray, a soft drink most of the country won't be familiar with. I used to find it in the Jewish delis in Los Angeles. They only started selling it in stores about thirty years ago, even though the stiff has been around since the 19th century, but none of those stores are in Chico, and I'm certainly not going to find a Jewish deli here either. The odd thing is that I'm craving it even though I can't remember exactly what it tastes like. I know it's flavored with celery seed, and is not as sweet as most soft drinks, and that when I used to drink it in L.A. it went very well with pastrami.

Rats, now I want a pastrami sandwich, too, and I doubt a good one is to be had within a hundred miles of this town. Ah, well, at least there is decent Mexican food here, and good beer. I only hope it doesn't get too hot or me to get out and buy them.
caillebotte_man at his window

Nothing In Particular

One afternoon recently I saw a large cloud, partly hidden by the tree just up the hidden trail, but the part I could see looked like an enormous, white dungeness crab. It was facing me, and angled slightly up as though it might sail up into the stratosphere. I watched it lose its legs and gradually turn back into just another, nondescript cloud. This afternoon I felt tired and decided to lie down for a minute, and ended up sleeping until very near sunset. I went outside and where the crab had been I saw several smaller clouds that looked like a flock of birds, hovering on their still wings until they simply dissolved, one by one, in some shift of the air.

Some might see portents in such things, but all I see is my imagination doing what it has always been wont to do: seeing things in other things, making empty metaphors with no context. Crab and birds, not bringing news of the future but reiterating the past. I don't know that seeing shapes in clouds is much different than falling asleep on a hot afternoon and forgetting my dreams. They seem equally devoid of meaning.

Had I not slept so long I might have gone out, and perhaps something would have happened— though the odds are against that— but it was too late. Instead I sat under the darkening sky from which clouds were vanishing and listened to the real mockingbird sing a series of songs. It was hot and the air was still and I imagined the quiet that would exist farther away from the freeway. The bird's music was more profound in that imaginary quiet, and my brain had no urge to make any empty metaphors. Perhaps it had fallen asleep again. I should try not to wake it. It would just annoy me.

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