Secret Pop

Jun 16, 2005


ABBA's Two for the Price of One came up in my iPod randomize-a-ma-tron, and I was sorry to be sitting in an office with earphones on. Oh, how the world would hear me singing along if there weren't such a thing as shame.

We felt the earthquake a couple of hours ago more pronouncedly than I think I have yet felt a quake in California. I actually thought someone was jogging my chair to get my attention. Then I realized the open beam and suspended architecture were all swaying and lurching. And the lamppost whose neck I can see out the front window was quavering like a weed in the wind. A lot of people in the office cried out when it happened. And then the loud murmur began. Everyone has a story to tell of a quake they've been in. And if they haven't, they can tell the story of how they've never been in a quake before. Talk talk talk. And then eventually we lose interest and go back to what we're doing. I was on the phone with one of my co-workers when it happened. We said the mandatory four or five sentences you have to say when that happens. And then we got back to business. What a resilient bunch of creatures we are. You feel fear when it's happening, and that fear comes from the anticipation -- I assume -- of injury. But once you escape unscathed, you forget that you were ever at risk. Maybe that's naive. Maybe it's pragmatic. The first people to fly on a commercial airplane after September 11 must have had to negotiate this territory. And if you play the odds at all, you know that it's far less likely to happen to you anyway. Not right after it already happened to someone else. Your brain spins through all of this in a split second. And then you realize you are a little hungry. You're not sure what you want. Maybe something sweet this time.

I miss watching Star Trek episodes while working from my couch. But I also love that I package my days differently. I'm not allowing myself nearly enough time to rest or recover. I took Tom to Ruth's Chris last night as a belated celebration of his birthday (which was in February), and we ate like bloody kings, he with his scotch and I with my whiskey, the both of us with our wine. And then we talked till the hours reverted to the wee state, and I shook my head, because I had begun the day yesterday in such a taxed and tardy state. After workshop, a few of my chums and I went to Birds, and I drank what was probably too much whiskey and for what was definitely too many hours. And I woke up very late and had to scramble to get dressed and to the office for a 9 a.m. meeting. Which I managed to arrive in time for, but not in the most put-together condition. Although, my assumption is that no one I work with was any the wiser. Except maybe Brad*. The day was packed from beginning to end, so when I headed home, I was already planning my Red Bull strike and a shower and lazy outfit choices. So anyway I do this nearly every night now. The price of a day job, I suppose. No real complaints. Just concerns about what part of my motor functions I will lose when I finally do have that stroke I'm expecting. I had a great big coffee and then a great big espresso and then a great big iced coffee. And a few pistachios. If I had to put money on it, I'd guess it will be some of my speech and the use of the right side of my face. But I'm open to your thoughts on this.

Do you think Stephen Merritt is a brilliant and stupefying genius like I do? If not, put this in your stupid pipe and smoke it: I should have forgotten you long ago, but you're in every song I know...I haven't seen you in ages, but it's not as bleak as it seems. We still dance on whirling stages in my Busby Berkeley dreams. I guess you feel pretty dumb right now. As well you should.

Earthquakes appear to make me unnecessarily combative.

*This time it was absolutely because you're reading.

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