Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dr. Zhivago Heals My Wounds

"Though he was greatly drawn to art and history, he scarcely hesitated over the choice of a career. He thought that art was no more a vocation than innate cheerfulness or melancholy was a profession. He was interested in physics and natural science and believed that a man should do something socially useful in his practical life. He settled on medicine."
B. Pasternak 1958

This is the passage that I would like to read to any artist who is undecided in his or her life. Maybe it applies to the Occupy Wall Street folks but like I said, there is a fraudulent element to the government and to the corporations. We need to be protected from Walmart no less than from Mexican drug cartels. And if the government is not going to do that then, like in 1862, we must take matters into our own hands. But that is a totally separate argument from getting a liberal arts degree and then whining that it's too hard to find a job...while Hatian immigrants work 62 hours a week and smile. But then I think, "It's no longer a question of who can do the best job, but who can work the most for the least, who can survive on the least amount of money." Basically, there is always someone more desperate than you so your low wage job is at risk of being even lower wage because the bloated market of unskilled, redundant laborers is growing with every unaborted fetus. Is that ideal challenge? In a world of 7+ billion people, yes. It will never be ideal. So, if we are revolting because we are not being protected by the government then isn't it better to eliminate the government? I mean, it's already totally bought and sold by Exxon and IBM and Apple. Who is kidding whom? There is no guaranteed protection from the free market. We live in a meat market and as we are shuttled to the slaughterhouse people are complaining that it's too cold. Ha! How about burn the slaughterhouse down? Food for thought!

Rain Dampens Dirt Not Spirits

I nearly tore the roof off my van when a tree limb snagged the stove pipe in the chicken man's driveway. Here I am superglue-ing the screws that hold on the rain cap. Imagine my surprise when I filled the transmission back up with 5 quarts of fluid and when I shifted I did not move forward or back off the ramps. It turned out that the thing takes 6.7 quarts to fill. I actually had the tranny in drive when I was pouring the fluid in and at around 5.8 quarts the hydraulic modulation kicked in and almost drove me off the ramp into the chicken coop. It will be a miracle if the new tranny band lasts because the drum is scored and the band is cheap and the mechanic has a bad back and one of his toenails is black from jungle disease. His prolapsed hemorrhoids are not making a comeback, fortunately.

Hobo Gets Fingernails Filthy

This is a big improvement over the dirt roads in Labrador where I've done my most recent work. There's a Napa a few miles away from here and a chicken and a pizza place. I'm not happy but I'm not miserable either. Today was a test of the brain and I failed. I was driving around with my head cut off dropping off laundry, cleaning the stove, loading the moped, hunting for my shoes and the phone rings. I pull over because I am not an asshole who drives while talking on the phone.
"This is HOV."
"We'd like to see you."
"Who are you?"
A jogger passes me. I need to do a million things so I can take the transmission apart and I have no time for guessing games.
"Remind me who HOV is."
"We contract for the state department."
"Ah, paper processing?"
"Great. What can I do for you?"
"You filled out an application."
"I did."
"Do you know why you were let go?"
This guy sounds like a newly hired temp agent learning his way around the job. He seems to be confusing me with someone who cares."
"Listen. I'm at liberty. Do you have work?"
"We'd like you to come in and interview at the Hilton."
"Will there be stale brownies?"
"I think so..."
"Well count me in. When do the cookies arrive?"
"1 PM."
"Then I'll be there."
I realize I'll only be there if 2 chickens can fly 40 miles with Oggy on their back, but who cares. It's an interview!

Oggy Admiring the Valve Body
I hang up, drop the laundry off, drive back, eat a slice of pizza, gawk at the field hockey girls on their way to practice, run up the wooden fire escape, notice some spots I missed when I painted it in the Spring so I race into the basement and find some paint. It's a close match and I touch up my stairs. Then I clean. I pack. I race up and down the stairs to pack the van. I stage everything outside on the porch. Then I check the dirty oil and see a note on the windshield. More hate mail, I figure. "Get off the street you hippie!" or something. I stuff the note in my pocket. I hate this town. I hate these nosy assholes on this street peeking out of their window blinds. I want to leave asap so I slam the door. Right, I'll be a TESOL tutor for these snobby assholes. Never! I burn rubber up Elwyn Ave as Led Zeppelin blares from my speakers.

I drive 40 minutes to Nottingham in a rage. And since there is some light left I dive into the transmission, pan, gasket, valve body, snip the broken band in half and hook out the parts as a rain of hot red fluid fills my face. The tranny drum is scored like a skateboard wheel. It's hopeless to think the new band will last but to replace the drum is to drop the tranny and replace everything. $1500 job or two weeks Oggy Style. And I've got chickens roosting on my head so there is no way I'm dropping the tranny. Chicken man has some work to do and I go to grab my computer...where the hell?...I look. OH FUCK. I left the computer back on the porch in the rain along with all my food! and my transmission is in pieces on a damp lawn. I reach into my pocket and find the hate mail and read it to amuse myself. "Oggy, I'm back in town. Stop by"
Hell, it's a friend I haven't seen in a year.
I knew the timing was bad on this recent eviction but it's always interesting to see what part of the plan crumbles first. Computer spends the night in the rain. Tranny is fucked. Job interview is in jeopardy. Chickens roosting in the van. Neck sprained and beard is gray. This is gypsy shit.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.