Sunday, August 26, 2012

There'll be days like this. | July 21, 2012

I wrote this on July 21, 2012, but saved it as a draft and forgot about it.  It's kind of suitable for the end of summer wind-down currently going on, so...  enjoy!

Yes, the title to this post is a reference to the Van Morrison song.  Yep.  That just happened.

Here's why:

Today my job took me through Canby, Molalla, Silverton, Stayton, Lebanon, and Sweet Home.  I was on the road well before dawn, and with each bend in the road I observed something that made me fall in love with the world all over again.

For just a moment, I'm going to pretend that there are regular readers of this blog, and that you might be wondering why a department store sent me across the Willamette Valley.  It didn't.  I have a new job.  I drive a refrigerated truck all over Oregon and SW Washington, ensuring there is sushi on every table.  Like Johnny Appleseed.  Only with imitation crab meat ("krab").

It's an okay job.  It keeps the lights on and the cats in school clothes.  And I've been getting a lot of writing done.  Well, dictating.  Which is leading to writing.  (I'm finally writing a gawd-damned mother f'n book).

Anyway, much of the time, this job is all about crappy Japanese-style food products, road kill, and mile after mile of the New American Ghetto (the Target, Starbucks, Petco, Claim Jumper combo alternating with the Walmart, Dutch Brothers, Petsmart, Ruby Tuesday combo).  All of the consumption, the waste, the expertly crafted sheen that implies each of these communities is distinctly different from any all the others - it gets to me.  I try to live in the moment, I try to wave at the cows as I drive past ("Hello, Cows!")...  but, like them, I sense what the future holds.  Like them, I aim to keep moving forward with dignity by keeping my focus on the fact that right now the sun is shining and the grass is green...  I try, and I'm pretty good at it, but sometimes it's hard to not see stacks of packaged, processed meats in the fields instead of living, breathing creatures.

But today, July 21, 2012, was different.

I'm not big on snapping photos to remember shit, it seems to take you out of where you are and puts you in the future, as in, "Someday I'll want to look back on this moment, when I was thinking about my future self looking at this picture."  But sometimes, stopping to frame up a shot sears every detail of that moment in my brain, and the photo becomes a trigger for a Proustian Moment.

So I did it.  I stopped to take a picture.  Now, when I look at it, I hear the gravel on the parking lot and feel the heft of the refrigerated truck jerking and sliding to a stop; I see the small dogs behind the fence barking at me - curious, friendly, just trying to get my attention ("Hello, Lady!"); I hear wind chimes; I see the fawn from a few miles back - not yet road-kill, eating leaves off a front yard tree while cars slow to watch; I see the the topiary shaped like a giant steer, perched in front of a Les Schwab Tire Center and looking more gorgeous than you ever thought any auto supply center landscaping could be; I see the marquee in front of The Farmstead advertising that one of my favorite musicians will be appearing there that night, and I remember how I debated driving back that eve, but since it was Tim Ellis without Jim Walker, I let go of the thinking and planning so I could sink back into the morning around me; there was the farm dog walking across a porch with a calm and commanding presence; the puppy getting trained with the assistance of a fanny pack full of treats, sitting, wagging, bright-eyed and hopeful; llamas sitting next to each other like old friends, watching the sun come up; flocks of birds flying in formation, swooping around crops that had been tilled under, looking like a Van Gogh painting; the old man leaning on the bumper of his truck, drinking coffee out of a metal thermos, reading the Owner's Guide, or maybe - as I like to think - a chapbook of poetry, a smile leaping to his face as a car driven by a young guy pulls up; fields of flowers seemingly dropped from above in a crisp color-block manner; and, of course, cows - milling around with each other as though they were at a vegetarian brunch buffet and had all the time in the world, their coats shining in the sun - auburn, black, white, brown.

There was so much more, but this is all starting to sound like one of those Morning in America campaign ads.  I already dared the fates by taking a photo, and so I'm not going to push my luck by sharing each detail of the drive.  Suffice to say:  There will indeed be days like this.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nora Ephron | 1941 - 2012

You would think someone writing a blog about Screwball Comedies, Rom-Coms and Comedies would have been all over the passing of Nora Ephron.  And you're right.  A good blogger would have.

But this blog has me.  Poor thing.

The thing is, I hesitated because I've always been somewhat conflicted about Nora Ephron's work.  It's not that I'm ashamed to admit I enjoy her films.  I write this blog, I have no shame.  After thinking it all over, I determined my problem with her is that when she's good, she's very good, but...  y'know.  Once I realized that, I knew I had to write this post ASAP, because when you like someone, you have to accept them good and bad.

But then I read Nora Ephron's Potato-Chip Legacy by Matt Weinstock (The Paris Review Daily, June 28, 2012), and it kind of nailed much of what I'd been thinking.  And so I hesitated again.  I took some time to kick it all around for a few weeks, hoping that I could come up with something to add to what Mr. Weinstock wrote...

To date, I got nothin'.

If/when I do, I'll be sure and write it all down here for your reading amusement.

Until then, here's to Nora Ephron!  Because, really, there's nothing wrong with silly love songs, and there's nothing wrong with silly movies about love.