Monday, February 22, 2010

Exhaustion...the alternative to pondering life's mysteries.

I wonder, is this how normal people feel at the end of the day? How do we go on? I don't know.
It's been a tornado of activity since I left that bleak mill town called Laconia.
I packed my gear and cleaned the room. I wonder, the room stank like musty old dirty boxer shorts for the three months I lived there. Guess what I found underneath the box spring?

Yes, a pair of boxer shorts, marine blue. OR aqua? gross! But there's no looking back. I split Laconia and made it to Portsmouth in time to pick up a buddy and his nuclear family at Logan airport and then...I went and picked up my new best friend...

She's has the greatest peripheral vision possible. 360 degrees

Bonnie is what they call her but since she is deaf and temporarily mine I will call her Castalia, after the fabled civilization in The Glass Bead Game. She gets me up EARLY. And we walk the cold streets. I say, "If you don't shit soon, I'm gonna take a dump behind that car." She ignores me because she can not hear.

I find it hard to believe dog owners do this routinely in the winter, but it must be so. Of course, I live on the third floor and must walk on these outside stairs and Castalia REFUSES to walk up or down these stairs. So guess who's an elevator to a struggling King Charles Spaniel? Oggy!
I carry her up and I carry her down. Now, that is unusual. She dislikes it to the point where there are claw scratches on the wood deck from when I drag her over the precipice.

And then, since I was up at an ungodly hour of 7 am I decided to head on down to my local day labor hall since they treated me so good a few months ago and sent me to rebuild Poco Diablos. Remember that? What would they have me do today? Break more rock?

No, I went to a moving/storage facility, a "Cross Dock" as they call it in the industry of shipping and commerce. It's where those fancy cabinets you ordered from Lowes arrive with hundreds of other cabinets. And we separate them out for the individual cargo shippers (truckers) who will get it to the specific spot, even a private home (UPS). So these container trucks full of boxes arrive, we unload and sort them, scan them, and they return into another container and are shipped out. All day, every day, thousands and thousands of boxes. I worked with a commercial fisherman named Jeff who was just saving money to take the bus to Jersey to do what he really does which is catch monkfish.
"You hit 'em with a hammer when they come out of the net. Big old ugly bottom feeder. Delicacy in Korea."
"A fucking hammer? They bite?"
"They got hundreds of teeth. You hit 'em with a 15 pound mallet. We let one grab a line and hung it up for twenty minutes before it let go. I found one with a license plate inside it. That's creatures of the deep type shit."
He showed me chewed hands like claws of a wolverine. Here's a pic of a monkfish...I wonder if they do tours where you go out with them and then do battle with the monkfish using a mallet? Something like this really should be left alone at the bottom of the ocean. Leave it in peace. No good can come from disturbing this creature.

His ex-"old lady" had taken the truck and his heart and the gossip is she's quite the booze hound. So he's got nothing left here.
"8 Years. That's enough."
And we milked that work ticket for $50+ and then I sped home and dropped Jeff off at the tavern for a drink while I went back to get Castalia out of the house before she pissed on the carpet. That didn't happen but she did tear up something that I didn't inspect. Then I gave her a free ride down five flights of stairs and off the to dog park!
Then a tour of the town.
"What a pretty dog. What's her name?"
"Castalia. I named her after the utopia in the Glass Bead Game. Where they refine the spirit and not the heavy metals. See, Steve Jobs is a gargoyle and..."

Then back home where the day caught up with me. I don't sleep until normally 4 am. Last night I was in bed around midnight and this morning it was no earlier than 7 when I was dressed and active. I just made it to the library to change my address and email a guy selling a cherry barn find CB 550, my dream bike. I told him I'd do anything for it but I'm making $50 a day so, come on. Give a guy a break!

I do want to recommend my new favorite sub shop. Suds and Soda, an old school deli with pickles and chips kind of place in Greenland. I've lived here many years and don't remember eating a sub there. I think I considered Greenland subs beneath me in 1988. I was so bourgeois. Today, I walked into a dusty time warp when I went there on my 15 minute break from lugging boxes of freight.
"What you want, honey?"
"You got meatball subs?"
"Showah. Whatevah ya want." (They had fresh lasagna in a pan)
"I want one with the cheese."
"Ok, hon."

She gave me a sausage and pepper and onion sub instead that was delicious. (I should've been suspicious when she asked if I wanted mustard.) I'm definitely going back for the meatball sub.

A big guy walked in and bought a salad and some scratch tickets.
"What ya doin', Teddy, watchin' ya figuah?"
They all laughed.
I thought, here, I'm almost a contributing member of society. I'm telling you, dear reader, I almost got tears in my eyes because I was working again, moving cabinets and shelves and mattresses and buying (could afford) a sub sandwich in Greenland, NH with money I was making and a dog was waiting for me at home and if I wanted a bag of chips then, by god, I could buy any bag I wanted! Even the biggest bag they had. And a can of iced tea! And I threw that empty can in the garbage boxes we made that literally were so plentiful that they would fill numerous gigantic shipping containers. I mean, these boxes of trash were twenty feet high. We needed pallet jacks to move them. And me and Jack worked those hand trucks and tossed shit around, "Where this one going?"
"Is it an A?"
"Naw, a B"
"Row 10."
"10's full."
"Then stack 'em against the wall."
And off I'd go with food in my belly, breaking a sweat, my back aching, a paper cut bleeding on my finger.
And Jeff was on his cigarette break and two guys were driving forklifts around expertly turning backwards and around obstacles, swearing, "Aw go to hell!"

This is life, I thought, yes, it's insane that the world would ever need this many pressboard kitchen cabinets but this is the real world of meatball subs and cheese and dogs walking and errands and scratch tickets and picking up friends at the airport with baby car seats and stuffed birds and diapers. Ah, this is madness but it IS overwhelming. My whole invulnerable philosophy is defeated by a simple sausage sandwich at Suds and Soda. I was humbled and exhausted today. My body merely survived the effort and tomorrow I get to do it again. There were flags all over the place, waving in my face, reminding me of my birth. I heard on the radio a story on nanotechnology, carbon charged fabrics, that will be the future battery. We will solve the energy crisis and it will be too late for some wolves but it will not be too late for some humans. We will have our cake and eat it too, it seems. OR some of us will. Not the Vietnamese or Mexicans or Indians or Chinese. No, they will never survive the resource shortage, but many many Americans will live and watch movies like Rush Hour 2 (it was on at the Labor Hall this morning) on energy neutral televisions. This is a guarantee.
And thus I see the finish line. I have found my formative dichotomy, the dichotomy that all writers must have if they are to write works of substance. It is this: The refinement of the spirit or the refinement of the environment. Hesse, had his spirit/flesh dichotomy that is the essence of his work, the fulcrum his characters balanced on. Now I have mine. Because though I believe the future holds a way to reclaim the energy now lost in mountains of trash, I must recognize that there is more to life than energy, to resources. There is soul or something intangible in the sausage sub with provolone cheese at Suds and Soda in Greenland. I will investigate and develop this theory over many subs, for therein lies the answer.


hobo soup said...

the good thing about new england subs is they shred your steak into little flakes no bigger than cocoa pebbles. Then they run the lettuce through a grater too, and everything fits so easily in your mouth.
I'm not surprised it was in greenland where you had this important philosophic discovery. It was Teddy Penny who bought the salad. He used to grow marijuana on my parents property in the 70's.

eddie said...

where you living?

Anonymous said...

It couldn't have been Teddy Pinney that bought the Salad from Suds. Teddy died 2 years ago, at the age of 48, massive heart attack

Anonymous said...

I do agree though, Suds N' Soda has without a doubt the best MeatBall subs you can find anywhere! Period!! I love everything they have in the deli, they make it all right there, and it is far cheaper than going to those yuppie style sandwich shops!

Oggy Bleacher said...

Yep, Suds n' Soda holds the current "Oggy's Finest" award in the meatball sub category.
Pizza Slice award is a close competition between AJ's Wood Grill Pizza (technically in Kittery, but still in the running) and Ken's West End Pizza. I'm leaning toward AJ's.

Oggy Bleacher said...

Oh, and I made the name "Teddy" up for some kind of authenticity. It's a coincidence that a person like that existed. The rest of the conversation was basically true.
My condolences to the family of the former pot farmer.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.