Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I was the nice kid in school. I was the poster boy for “do the right thing”. Mrs. Cardwell, my first grade teacher said … and I quote …”Why can’t you children be more like Bruce?” Miss Howard, my high school French teacher said … and I quote … “Who’s talking in the back of the room? I know it couldn’t be Bruce.”
The right thing … it is what I do. Me, the guy voted Mr. Congeniality on the football team. Sixty years of Mr. Right. Until today, that is!
Today, I threw caution to the wind.
Today, I pulled out all the stops.
Today, I let it all hang out.
Anne and I took a hike up Black Mountain today. Today … that’s right, today … I hiked without my hiking backpack.
I just said “no” to the emergency TP … so what, shit happens.
I just said “no” to the Deet … it doesn’t bug me.
I just said “no” to the compass … I’ll rely of my moral compass for direction.
I just said “no” to my knee and ankle braces … who knees them?
I think this was all due to the full tilt boogie. It was my downfall. I am sixty plus and on the way out. For the duration of the downhill slide, I intend to make the rules. I will hike without a pack if I choose. Let the chips fall where they may. I will drink regular coffee, make that espresso, at midnight. Even a piper has to make a living … I’ll pay. I will eat fish caught at the dam in Vernon. Tridium-dee Tridium-dum.
From here on out, I am living large. I don’t really want to live to a ripe old age … I know the smell. When the adventure and fun is gone, I want out. Don’t think that I don’t have a plan. On the coast of Portugal is a place called Cabo da Roca. The cliff overlooking the ocean there must be over 300 feet high. Straight down to a buttermilk surf. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Better still, there are no rails … like it should be!
When it is time … someone wheel me to the edge. Take the brake off of my chair. Don’t worry. I have always done the right thing.
…and I always will.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I imagine myself standing at the intersection of Route 30 and the Brookline road. I gaze across a deserted field. Before me are a couple of overturned barrels, an abandoned truck, a few empty tables and the remains of a tent. The fleas are gone ... eradicated ... maybe by Billy the Exterminator ... maybe something else ... I wonder if ...
The vast grasslands extend in all directions, as far as the eye can see ... the horizon, a thin black line broken sporadically by indistinguishable tree shapes. Ever so slowly, the scene morphs into a blackened mass. Like India ink oozing onto white paper, the mass swells. The fleas are marching ... like lemmings to the sea ... miniature wildebeasts.
Inside the open cockpit, the pilot glances below as the ancient craft banks into its final turn. His silk scarf snaps wildly in the wind. The goggles and leather helmet are paradoxically apropos in that, in a sense, his target is an antiquity itself. Framed by the four red flags in the corners of his target, he levels the bi-plane a mere 15 feet from the ground and flips the lever. Powder streams from the nozzles, then, cloud-like, floats noiselessly to the ground. There is no escape now.
With the same certainty as the arrival of the swallows in Capistrano, the flea market is dying. It is inevitable. It is obsolete.
It saddens me to see it go. Not just because it is my habit to go on Sunday mornings. Yes, it was a habit ... and it had rules ... the ones that I created. Be there early. Get coffee (nothing else). Circle the grounds from left to right, one row at a time and then the field next to the parking lot. Scout potential buys first. The second lap is to haggle prices for selected items. I have my standards. I refuse to deal with certain dealers. Frenchie puts no prices on his stuff and, worse, chews tobacco. He's out. I will not patronize the guy who brought adult videos and let kids go through them. I tattled on him. No way will I deal with the guy who brought framed pictures of Holocaust abuses and claimed them to be historic art. It is not my intent to support those who profit from the sale of knives (not hunting knives) to kids and teenagers. Cigar smoking dealers are not for me. Never ... never ... never pay asking price.
There are some things I will miss. Where will I find the detritus I seek? Where can I go for the box full of Barbie dolls that I bought in order to get heads and arms and legs for a project I was doing? What store in town sells rusty metal? I will miss the guy who digs the dump for rusting pieces of metal that I buy. For years, I have purchased my garden tools at the flea market for half the price. What about the rusting segments of chain for my hanging stones? Who else sells used canvasses for painting? I need inexpensive, weird ornaments and hanging pieces to secret into hollow trees when I hike.
No question, the flea market will be missed. In it's place ... eBay, I guess. The age of the dinosaurs is over. Can I be that far behind?