Stare.
 
2004 Notebook: Weak XIX
 
   
gratuitous image
7 May 2004
No. 4,603 (cartoon)
I wish I was dead.

What makes you think you’re not?

8 May 2004
Entering the Aesthetic State
Alexi is an earnest, young artist. I enjoy his company because he’s so sincere, naïve, and frequently gullible.

At lunch today he told me about some silly art theory book he read, then asked me to describe, “your approach to entering the aesthetic state.”

“You must discover without owning; that’s essential,” I replied.

“What does that mean?” Alexi asked.

“You must become the medium, and the medium must also become you, as a whole, yet remaining essentially separate,” I said.

His eyes got wide, and he asked me to elaborate. So I did.

“That was some pseudo-Zen crap I just made up,” I explained. “You shouldn’t believe anyone’s nonsense except your own.”

9 May 2004
Robert Edison Fulton Junior
I just heard that Robert Edison Fulton Junior died yesterday at age ninety-five. He had a remarkable life by all accounts. He witnessed the opening of King Tut’s tomb in 1923, and traveled around the world on his motorcycle a decade later. He also invented a hybrid airplane/automobile called the Airphibian, a contraption that allowed him to land at an airport, put the wings and tail in the trunk, then drive to a bowling alley.

Fulton also invented lots of other things, but I’ll remember him for one of my favorite quotes. “One measure of a man is what he does when he has nothing to do.” Sounds like art to me!

10 May 2004
An Argument Beyond Words
I had lunch with Amy today, and it didn’t go very well. I told her about my latest projects while I inhaled a gigantic burrito and a couple of beers, but she was unimpressed with my works in your progress.

“You know what your problem is?” she asked. “You’ve got no common scents.”

I thought Amy was being completely ridiculous, so I issued my rebuttal in the form of a loud, basso profundo belch, perhaps one of the most common scents of all after a burrito. I know this sounds vain, but I think I literally rattled the glasses.

Amy was stunned; she clearly wasn’t expecting such clever repartee. I don’t know why Amy and I have so many miscommunications, but we do.

11 May 2004
Patricia’s Dr. Patricia
Patricia dropped by the lab tonight; I hadn’t seen her in years. We enjoyed a nice, long chat over a bottle of wine. We’d been talking for quite a while before she mentioned in passing that she was now Dr. Patricia. My friends never cease to amaze me; that’s but one of the many reasons why they’re my friends.

Despite having bestowed a number of titles on myself, such as Pf.T. A.M.N., I usually think they’re silly. I make an exception for Ph.D., though. I’ve seen what my closest friends had to do to earn those characters, and it’s quite an ordeal. And so it was that I was impressed that Patricia made it into the doctors’ club then didn’t tell anyone about it, sort of like a martial arts expert who doesn’t let anyone know until s/he’s attacked, then decapitates an ax murderer with a small piece of dental floss. Or something like that.

12 May 2004
Lack of Charisma May Be Fatal
I was riding down Market Street on my bicycle when I spotted an old, homeless man walking toward me. He was dirty, emaciated, and looked like he might not have long to live. He wore a torn, old shirt with these words printed on it: “Lack of Charisma May Be Fatal.”

13 May 2004
Al’s Workshop Groupies
Al’s going to Colorado; he just jumped in his truck and drove there to give a series of photography workshops over the summer. Al, one of the f64 boys from Carmel, has been doing that sort of thing for decades, and is very popular with his many students.

Once, I visited Al while he was doing a workshop, and I was struck by the way a lot of the people there regarded him as almost a saint.

“You should do a workshop on getting groupies,” I suggested as we drank whisky in his camper.

“Getting groupies is easy,” he replied, “getting rid of them is the hard part.”

Al should know. He should, and he does.

14 May 2004
Beautiful Woman with Metal Legs
I was at the opening of some new technology show tonight for a very good reason: free drinks and tables of hors d’oeuvres, more commonly known as a free dinner. I saw lots of clever inventions here and there, but the gadgets and gizmos lacked the timeless appeal of a good cocktail, of which I had many.

I was about to leave, when I saw an incredibly beautiful woman. She wore a short, sleeveless dress that revealed a huge, magnificent scar on her upper arm. Her meat and bones body ended at mid-thigh; she walked on elegant mechanical legs. She moved through the crowd with unusual grace; I thought she was extraordinarily lovely.

I wanted to ask her what it was like to have metal legs, and to propose a photography session, but I was too shy. I watched her glide around until I lost her in the forest of people. My friends poured me into the car for the next stage of decline before I could see her again.

Yes, I know it’s grossly insensitive to look at the evidence of someone’s personal tragedy and see only beauty; I’m usually much more empathetic. But, for just a few minutes, it was wonderful to turn off my brain and savor amazement.

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart