Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I was walking home from work a few minutes ago, thinking about a lot of things that seem to be conveniently connected at the same time.

First, that fall seems to be here suddenly. We're winding down the summer at the ice cream shop, trying desperately to fill shifts in September when everyone goes back to school but there's still enough business to need them. (This, by the way, resulted in a minor promotion for me - too little, too late, I suppose.) I can't say I'm too sad to see summer fade away; I had kind of a crappy one, and can count on one hand the number of days I spent in the sun (three). We shut 'er down a few hours early tonight because the grand total of the day was $154; it rained enough to make the pigeons take baths in the puddles on the boardwalk, and it was so winter-y there wasn't even a rainbow to show for it.

Secondly, I've decided to put my cancerous rat down. Her tumour rubs against the cage bars when she climbs, and it's become raw and infected. She doesn't play anymore. It's time. Since my vet won't do it (grr), I'm employed a good friend of mine, who's a research biologist and trained in the art of killing things humanely. I told him I'm going to go for a walk, and while I'm gone he's to take Ozymandius to live on a farm.

OK, it may be silly, but I'm sad. She was my first real pet - 'real' as in one I could pet and play with. Oz was skittish as hell from day one, but we bonded, eventually, and even re-bonded when I got her back from M. upon moving into my new house. I got her to keep me company while M. was working out of town one time, and I got bloody attached to the little bugger.

Finally, one of the regulars from the tea shop is in the hospital. He had a stroke a few weeks ago, and we haven't seen much of him since, which has been strange because he used to spend entire days staring out our window with a cup of red rose tea. He was friendly, but quiet, and everyone's favourite. He has a pacemaker now, and can't get out of bed - - it's not looking good.

I was thinking about this one the way home, trying to decide how to write about it, when I realised I was being followed.

I thought. I wasn't sure. How long had he been behind me? Was his foot-shuffling getting closer?

I caught a quick glimpse behind me, and scaled him up. Big guy, but top-heavy, so I knew I could take him to the ground if I had to. I ran through self-defense scenerios in my mind, knowing that the only thing that would save me would be instincts from years of training.

Lesson One in self-defense is that prevention is far, far better than any other skill. So I turned around, clenched one fist and stared him in the eye. With the other fist, my better punching one, I grasped my keys so that one stuck out between my fingers. I gave him my best "try me" look.

(It's all about attitude, you know. Victims look like victims.)

I turned up my street, and he didn't follow.

So I never did decide what I was going to say about fall, Ozymandius, and my favourite regular. But while I was too busy worrying about natural mortality, the dangerous unnatural kind almost snuck up on me, and maybe that's what I can take from it.

On another note. I've been writing an oh-so-satiral one-act that's been rolling around in my brain, and I'll post it once a) I finish it (to some degree) and b) I figure out how the hell to use adobe.

For now, a villanelle I wrote recently that vaguely fits the subject at hand:

I haven’t seen a salt-gnarled tree
Or heard a gull shriek for a clam –
Three long years since I’ve been free;
Three long years spent from the sea.

In my sea-shack the drapes were dingy
And hung less stiff than where I am,
Now three long years since I’ve been free.

Sweet, temperate mornings the wind rose gently
And I woke to salt and brine, before
Three long years spent from the sea.

By night, the wind and waves would roll; we
Forget we’re moving till we reach our shore.
Yes, three long years since I’ve rolled free.

The pebbles seethed when they came for me
As the ocean drew a last wave away
For three long years spent from the sea.

This spring is coming happily:
They say it is my final May.
Three long years since I’ve been free;
Three long years, back to the sea.

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