Monday, February 8, 2010

M is for Memory Stick

a football caused flashback
The girl had to accept early on that she was going to need another job in order to survive and still be called an Artist. She tried several versions of get-the-job-done-early and leave the rest of your day to do art. The first one was delivering newspapers at the Flying Saucer Trailer park along the Platte River. She felt very grown up drinking coffee with the newspaper Classifieds and a ballpoint pen and she knew it was going to be a perfect job since it started at 5 am. With the dwellings so nice and close together, it would almost seem like you could do it on a bicycle (like Henry and Ribsy) in the 1950's and be home in time for a late breakfast, then onward with the day's art.

She didn't imagine how it would be pitch dark at 5 am. when the girl, the trainee, was to pick up the man giving away the job, and that the man, who lived in the apartment complex where every one gets a balcony with wooden rungs, would smell like thirteen cigarettes already when he got in her car. It was about three miles to the aforementioned trailer park, three miles of silence and rattled breathing and spilled black coffee mixed with cigarette on hard cold beige Pontiac stationwagon vinyl. They turn off the main road down by the always lit gas station with bright yellow pumps to the entrance of the Flying Saucer Tailor Park, fenced in by huge Platte River cottonwood trees. The blue and white light box with an actual flying saucer that she admired from afar for all those years is now right there close lit up perfectly with pink accents and some scratches into the dawnsearlylight. In anticipation of being able to throw things out her window, the girl is already cranking it way down now to stop smelling the big new big stranger filling the car.

After the first two newspaper tosses, the man demonstrated - Throwing things! - how in her enthusiasm for employment, did she overlook this? Her complete lack of training or comfort or confidence or prowess in this area seared into her frontal lobe. With a neat little spin, his newspapers would launch upward, then, like a self-posessed seedpod, accurately plunk onto the miniature hand-built front porch or even right on the doormat! Not only had the man memorized the little streets and forgotten the numbers long ago, but he must've played football in his youth, in fact I was sure of it. He even was wearing one of those padded navy blue coachy jackets. Although his entire character seemed colorless and tired, tired of everything except tossing things out car windows with ease and precision. Suddenly, it was all so strange and forced and foreign, what she'd set herself up for. She could still be in a warm bed right now. But instead there was this overarching quest to pursue Art which made her have to think up a scheme like this and now be all cold and smelly and embarassed at the crack of dawn, in a miniature neighborhood, with some weird guy and a stack of Rocky Mountain News rubbing graphite all over her lap.

Yup, It was her turn to try it now, the demo was over: the girl got that kind of a pre-stage sweat jitter blush feeling, nervous in the same way as when it was the wrong gym activity. And she was simultaneously going to have to be reading addresses off a list while driving, and rubberbandening the stacks into cylinders. This simple straightforward job that was going to be over before most people got out of bed was, well, overwhelming for a freshly college-aged girl. We'll use some cartoonish sound effects to try to replicate the girl throwing the newspapers in the tight-knit neighborhood where people's entryways were pridefully flanked with cute potted petunia planters: Bafff, KaBoom, Phling, Boing, Crash, Bash, skiiiddd! She was decapitating geraniums, or scooting across the pavement and scuffing headlines off. She was landing briefly on a banister and then falling into dense juniper shrubs. She was landing perfectly between two homes, she was bending red mailbox flags, and worst of all, waking up dogs, dogs, dogs.

Naturally, the man did not hesitate to cuss and guffaw at his trainee, only making matters worse. Her arm with the relative un-use of this skill and the accompanying embarassment was already starting to feel twisted and achey and less and less functional from the heaving effort. Even after all that swimming, the papers felt more like dense firewood or bricks, and the rubberbands weren't cooperating either; they wanted to crawl off or twist hair off her arms, or be flung into dark corners of the car interior.

The girl claimed that it would be easier if the man weren't watching. “Wait’l Sundy, Honey” said the man. The girl doesn't remember making it 'til Sunday.

An early lesson in the Art of the Fact that there is no such thing as unskilled labor.

vs. ART RANGER's arm

No comments:

Post a Comment