At the moment of the birth I was (obliviously) walking in a mild rain along a moonlit dyke
with a person who is an ex-girlfriend and (more importantly) my most-enduring childhood friend, pointing over to the small-l lights of Steveston and, citing the previous weekend's baby shower, simultaneously asserting that I had no immediate desire to return there and little suspecting as I said it that I would be spending the next 48 hours back in that same uber-suburb (there must be a way to join those two words; sUBERb?) A pleasant unexpected encounter; we discuss the trivialities of living; My mother visits hers frequently (for Scrabble) and gripes about me, she and her mother not seeing the problem: "He's not abusing any substances, he's not engaging in any illegal activities, he's living away from home and he's not racking you up for money. What's your problem?" Apparently my mother wants me to be happy; I don't have the heart to inform her I left happy behind in 1998. Joanna (the friend since age 3) envies Michelle her opportunity of freedom in her upcoming year of foreign-exchange world travels. "Didn't you spend most of last year travelling?" "Yeah, but I had my boyfriend
with me!" I grimly meditate on my complete freedom, in that case, and wonder why I do less the fewer chains I have. Now that I can do anything I want, I have simply ceased to want. This wouldn't bother a real buddhist but I can't shuck the hope against all evidence that there's more out there than mu
At about 8 am UTC June 11th (I estimate - t'was about midnight our PSTish time), Ian Sigurd Ralston Gudmonson was born to my sister and I became an uncle. Ian is a Latinization (remember the trick in the last Indy movie?) of the father's name John (magical, he claims, because Ian has two syllables from only three letters, giving a 1.5 average or some mystical quasi-kabalarian kaka); Sigurd is from a monumental great-uncle of ~100 years and Ralston from John Ralston Saul, one of the father's favorite authors and one he managed to sidle up to at a reading and among declarations of admiration, snag a promise from the great man of letters to be the godfather to his future child.
The doctors at the hospital proclaimed Ian to be the biggest 5-week-premature baby they'd ever seen. They (the new mommy, daddy and BaBy) would be back here (their abode in Steveston) by now but some initial feeding problems arose at the hospital - little Ian seemed bent on consistently cramming his fist into his mouth before attempting to take advantage of the ultimate user-friendly interface (that is, the bigger-than-your-head hot-and-hot-running-milk faucets being urged in front of his mouth), not realizing that there was not room for both tit and hand in his tiny maw. My father posited that the baby might be taking Kliban's advice Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head to heart. In some thoroughly silly quasi-Lamarckian discussion of evolution later that night I suggested that manual instincts had taken precedence over oral ones in the human brain and that to prevent further occurrences of this sort we'd have to start designing keyboards for lip-typing rather than finger-typing.
My being dropped off for my indefinite, oh, what's the word... stewardship? of their apartment and dog doubled as a chance to acquire items on a Hypothermia Prevention Kit (read: pants, sweater, shoes, Vitamin C) for John on account of the weather having considerably changed from the shorts-and-sandals weather when Danae (my sister) went into labour and when an expedition next made the long trip back from the hospital to their house (the weather, I completely forgot to mention the weather in my most recent mega-log; Vancouver's been getting four seasons in one, frequently all within the same day - mild sun HAIL THUNDERSTORM dazzling blue sky drizzle overcast clear cloudy every six hours. Looking down a hill some hours before getting the announcement I thought to myself My god, they've cracked open the sky and are pouring down molten lead on to the business district! How often do you get to see two rainbows simultaneously?) Stopping for the first meal for him in - 18? hours at a pizzaria he convinces the waiter to put his (soaking from the downpour at that moment) sandals under the oven that is the store's namesake (Brick Oven Pizza!) as inspired from a Seinfeld episode. Sometimes I worry about that boy. Still somewhat in shock he explains his situation louder than necessary and gets into a conversation with adjoining customers who commend him on what amounts to his wife's travails (or as the card in their apartment reads, "Hope everything goes well until you can see your feet again. Good luck Danae (and to the guy who knocked you up!)") and express relief that he had not only one name but three picked out. He confesses that if "it" had been a girl, the jury was still out. "What, nine months isn't enough time to think up a name?"
En route to their apartment we stop at the hospital to bring some pizza back. "Er," I utter profoundly as I am prone to, "isn't there some sort of rule about that?" John proudly states that he's systematically broken every single hospital rule he's been aware of (the 'don't get in the hospital bed with the mommy' rule, the celphone rule - TWICE!) and justifies it on account of never having gotten his tour. (They were scheduled to take the hospital tour later that day to get acquainted with the premises they were expecting to visit in approximately five weeks. In a similar vein they still have two weeks of prenatal classes left but I imagine they'll have found a good reason to play hooky.)
We get to the room, passing Absolutely Everything Else! directional signs amusing me to no end. My sister is radiant and Botticellian, looking tired but surprisingly hearty, probably on account of the five weeks' extra mass she didn't have to push through her tunnel of love - if the birth had occurred under regular circumstances she might well, at that time some 20 hours after initially going into labour, still be pushing Ian out of her loins. Instead the labour was over after about an hour (!) and she'd just been riding the endorphin rush since then. Not hungry (in fact, she'd been sneaking John bits of her hospital food) the pizza instead ends up being consumed by my mom, the smirky now-grandma in the corner smiling as she remembers what she went through and never will again. Ian is blonde like his father (and, now that I remember it, like his mother before the childhood leukemia chemotherapy - eek! - a factor they'd despondantly figured for the past few years might have rendered her sterile. Guess not!), has a wavy head, big closed eyes and his lungs have progressed from gurgling to full-fledged cries. She makes a half-assed (no pun) attempt to cover herself up, wisely abandons it in favor of her radiance and I am profoundly thanked for the task of tedium which awaits me. No problem, no problem I serially disclaim - being the visionary / artist / bum that I am, I had no pressing engagements for the next few days and besides, this is the least I can do to repay for the untook offer some years ago of staying with them while my mother worked through a particularly potent bout of "for your own good" progenitorly fascism - sharing the same mother as we do, she can appreciate how irrational mom can be at times. I would render this service unto her even out of sympathy for having to have to put up with it, let alone for reasons of the kinship at the core of the sympathy. Parse that how you want, it's 4 am and I can't quite wangle syntax right now. Pizza dropped off, my father and I leave the hospital and take the long, looong trip to their apartment, where I am to reside the next few days.
That was all on the 11th. What follows elapsed on the 12th and dragged on through at least some portion (to be seen) of the 13th. This has been a paid announcement from P_I's Attempts to Maintain Narrative Coherency While Stubbornly Refusing To Post Daylogs Under Their Correct Dates.
I don't know where I am. Give me a map of the area and I (gratuitous slagging warning) would make my best American impersonation and be utterly unable to locate my environs. It's ostensibly on the south tip of the same island Richmond's on, but it may as well be Baffin Island for my purposes - ignorant of the address of my location, what street it's on, where local buses can be caught (or if there even -are- local busses) ... I am surely trapped. Sometime soon the inhabitants of this apartment will return and I will be picked up, but I may as well have been blindfolded when brought here. It's an "access by car or boat only" kind of suburb, and we all know my feelings on cars.
On the positive side of things, this is out in the boonies. Great trails in the great outdoors next to the Fraser River with an overly-playful dog (Fargo, full name Fargo North Dakota if he's being a Bad Dog) and I should take this opportunity to reiterate that I am not a dog person. There have been some minutes of connection during my stay here where I have suspected that I just might be, but they pale under the weight of the hours of my initial convictions being confirmed over and over again. He's a charming mutt (part dingo, I am led to believe) and clever too - deep in his doggy brain no doubt there is some understanding that upon the return of Mommy and Daddy, he will no longer be the baby of the household and thus is milking what juice he can out of the role while he still has it.
Unfortunately (snork sniff!) I am allergic either to the local flora (sneeze!) or to the mongrel himself, so what was an amazing walk in the sun by the river turned an hour out to be a sneezing fit and an insane pooch trying to bite the leash out of my hand, taking 50% longer to return though moving at a faster pace on account of what were essentially wrestling matches with the dog. Grr to you too, buddy! If you don't like this, you're just gonna looove having a baby to compete with!
The take-in-the-quasi-rural-scenery-while-gallivanting-in-Nature-with-man's-best-friend option thus shattered, I found myself confined in the apartment discovering why bored housewives turn to heroin. After testing How Many Times You Can Go Back To Sleep (somewhere between eight and twelve) I was inviting bed sores so I clashed with my cycloptic nemesis in the corner - the television with one-month satellite trial hookup. I packed books to read this weekend (actually, most of what I hurriedly tossed into the bag was books) but they remain unwrapped; instead I visually chewed up a lot of crap, the high points of which were an episode of Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain, a live performance of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells III (musically disappointing to me relative to I and II but I was impressed to see how much of what I assumed was sequenced guitar-synth-wankery through listenings was actually musicians on instruments, albeit ones as esoteric as crystal wine glasses) and Babe: Pig in the City, an excellent movie on all counts, though perhaps a bit too subversive for children. I should reiterate that I am even less of a TV person than I am a dog person, so given that today was also my first taste of Kid Rock and Christina Agueillera(?) it was quite an ordeal, matched only by getting the antsy dog to leave me alone by tricking him into believing I was asleep (no big task, given that in the television trance I might well have passed for dead.) All in all considering the technology trial I got more enjoyment out of the allergy-induced 10-minute manual phosphene stimulation, leaving burning white iris-analogues in my field of vision with eyes wide open.
As I'm about to get Toxic Shock from MuchMusic I get a phone call from Michelle, who has found an excellent premise under which to visit me (five-week-late birthday gift), an excellent subtext (craving cuddles) and has arranged for her mom to drop her off for an hour or so. It takes me 20 minutes or so to find the address of this complex; it ends up being a short walk out with the dog to the intersection to see what the cross-streets are but DAYAM, they make blocks big out here in the farmlands. It is true that at this point I would have relished the opportunity to talk to anyone who didn't drink out of the toilet, but as Michelle is on top of my List Of People I Like To See even under the best of circumstances I'm thinking Hot Diggity Dawg! Hell, I even (not having been expecting company) change my clothes! (I figured if I was smelling better than the dog I was going good...)
The gift is Scott McCloud's excellent Reinventing Comics (sequel to the equally-eminently-excellent Understanding Comics), which I read in one sitting after she left and will assuredly have much more to say on at a later date. As with my klezmer awareness, it seems my dabblings have left me considerably better-informed in the comics situation than I'd any reasonable right to expect. The interactions between me and her can be summarized as an abortive start to the book, belly-slapping and inkless writing, which I will have more to say on at a later hour.
She leaves, I consume the book, I write this, and now the sun is rising. Today I may go home. We shall see. Establish dialup connection. Post. Disconnect. Sleep.
Everything Observation: Curse you, Jessicapierce! (again, no pun.) I don't want to climb into the ring with DMan, certainly not alone! That man Quests, and my recipes in the Kithe Cookbook have disappeared off the face of the Grid. How can thousands of little facts go up against an inpenetrably-disclaimed monolith of a handful-hundred elite force of strangely popular antagonistic subjectivity?
Fargo is twitching his muzzle spasmodically. Must be having a very smelly dream. This is unrelated to the previous comment.
Know what? If someone asked me how the last couple of days went, I would probably answer only "not much." There's a whole lot of something going down here, even if very little of it is activity.
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