Secret Pop

Oct 23, 2007

Time Travel

At 9 A.M., it looks like sunset. Heavy, orange light streaming in through curtains that seldom look that color. I remember the skies looking like this, the air feeling like this, four years ago. You can look on news station web sites and see specific addresses of homes that have been completely destroyed. I remember looking at those lists last time around. Most of the homes were in Scripps Ranch. The street names sounded like they were supposed to be estates in the French countryside. I remember thinking that you get less sympathy from people when your house burns down and it's built on Moneybags Lane or Millionaire Drive.

My family's home burned down in 1998. Not as part of a big county-wide disaster. Just a house fire. So the governor didn't come bring us blankets, but I do know what it's like to not be able to believe that everything's gone. And also to look back on that experience nearly ten years later and know that it didn't kill us. Maybe it even made us stronger.

So far, my sisters and my parents are all safe. My little sister's neighborhood was evacuated yesterday. She's at my parents' house taking it easy, because school is closed all week. We talked yesterday about how we take it for granted that we live in the part of the country where these things happen. I told her how I had just been talking with our friend Geoffrey and that his brother and sister-in-law had moved to Florida. And while they're not on the Atlantic coast, I was saying that I have difficulty imagining I could ever move to Florida knowing how hurricane-ridden the area has been. And my little sister said, "Yeah, I know we've got fires and earthquakes, but I still say, fuck hurricanes." And that made me laugh.

I realize that this entry was written specifically in reference to another similar event four years ago, but I just referred back to the entry I wrote about THAT occurrence, and I realize that nothing I'm saying today is new. And that I may have said all of it better before. I must just be getting out of practice. All I write these days? Emails about work. Typing my address into online orders, if that counts. Clipped conversations in IM windows. I push the buttons on my phone a lot to play Bejeweled. And if someone was keeping track, the keystrokes might spell something out. It's not that I have less to say. Or maybe it is.

This used to be where I would write what I was thinking, only skeletally interrupted by what I was actually doing. My activities provided the scaffolding for all of the other often unrelated things going on in my head. But now, more often than not, I realize that I'm only prompted to write because I've done something or gone somewhere. And all I say is where I went or what I did. And as I rarely go anywhere or do anything anymore, the entries grow fewer and fewer.

I have been suppressing sentiment for some time now. I learn this lesson over and over. I keep it to myself when something tugs at me. And then at some point, I don't keep it to myself. I utter it aloud. I type it. And the absence of being met halfway is more apparent than the sentiment itself. There is no satisfaction in playing patty cake with the air. All of the satisfaction rests in the two hands coming together and making a clapping sound. The canceling out of equal and opposite forces. Force only has value when resistance measures it. (Note to NASA scientists: That's not an actual physics theorem. Please don't use this "law" when trying to get us to Mars.)

What's this? What's this? What...IS...THIS?

Friday night, I went to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D at the El Capitan Theater. I didn't know until the movie started that the 11:30 screening was a singalong. I can think of few things more horrifying than being in a movie theater filled with people talking and singing and vocalizing and not being within my rights to tell them to put a sock in it. And the songs in this movie are not all that easy to sing. And I think many people don't realize how few of the lyrics they actually know. And the soliloquys are sometimes speak-sung, so they can't really be sung along with. So SHUT UP, YOU AWFUL AWFUL GOTH PEOPLE! was all I could think for much of the movie. Although it's definitely a film that lends itself to 3-D-ification. And all of this just makes me want to go back to Disneyland. Where I've not been at all this calendar year, despite my ownership of an expensive premium pass.

All Animals Are Audrey

I watched a good bit of Animal Planet over the weekend. There was a Meerkat Manor marathon, during which I saw Flower sustain a fatal cobra bite to the head, and I saw her mate Zaphod have to leave the security of his family to go out on the rove. When Flower died, I thought, "Singalong Nightmare Before Christmas, and now THIS?" It was very sad. And although I realize they are not really very similar at all, meerkats make me think of Audrey. It's in the eyes. And the look of uncertainty always on their faces. Frankly, all animals make me think of Audrey in one way or another. All breeds of dog, certainly. But most other animals, too. I watched a show about a couple who adopted a baby hippo named Jessica, and Jessica's big wet eyeballs were Audrey all over the place to me. And then there was a show called Papa Bear, in which a guy in New Hampshire took in bear cubs who had been abandoned by their mothers and developed these amazing relationships with them and was able to study their behavior in ways that no other researchers ever had. The one bear named Yoda was remarkably affectionate and gentle. She would literally sit down in front of him and flop back on him like they were competing in the luge together. And he would scratch her and let her play with his watch band. It was the most amazing thing. And all of the close-ups on the little bear cubs' faces and later on the faces of the mothers just looked like Audrey to me. Hunters who shouldn't have been hunting in that part of the forest later shot and killed Yoda, and I felt tears sprout out of both of my eyes and thought that I agreed with the man on the show about Jessica the hippo. Viewing a photo of another wild hippo they had called Charlie who had been shot by neighboring farmers, he said that man is the worst animal god made. And I was inclined to agree with him.

When Beulah and I were talking about our love of animals and these shows I had watched, she understood what I was saying. And I told her about some people in the Cedar Fire of four years ago dying in the fire because they couldn't get their horses out, and Beulah scoffed, "Duh. You RIDE them to safety." She's very smart.

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