Sunday, 15 April 2018

Umbrellas in the Snow

            I got woken up by my phone at 2:00 on Saturday. It was K.J. Mullins, the editor of “You must be just getting ready for bed” I commented. This seemed like a serious call so I asked her what it was about. She said “Sri donc” but that was all. I waited on the line for her to say something more but there was just empty air. While I waited, a man and woman that I lived with were putting up a decorative fence along the balcony wall of my apartment. The woman, who had short brown hair, was my wife. There was still no response from K.J. when I woke up because I had to pee.
            The only time I’ve ever spoken to K.J. on the phone was when she asked my to call her so she could explain why she couldn’t run a story that I wrote. “Sri” is a Sanskrit honorific something like Mr or Mrs but a little closer to sir. “Donc” means “therefore” in French but I think my subconscious picked up “sridonc” from the Lorrie Moore story “People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk”, which made me cry a lot. “Peed Onk” stands for paediatric oncology.
            The wind was howling dramatically when I got up but that was because of how it was blowing against my living room windows. The noise stopped when I opened them at the beginning of yoga but then the hem of my right curtain tried to escape out the window so it could dance freely with the wind. The left curtain was also stretching towards it’s nearest portal so it could wave hello to Parkdale like its sister but because I open both windows from right to left the open space is further away for the left one. Otherwise they might have both flapped free enough to become wings that would lift the west side of my apartment up to soar out over the lake.
            I didn’t go to the food bank that morning because I have my final exam on Wednesday morning and I needed to finish re-reading all the literature and then start working on practice essays.
            I needed to shave because my upper moustache hairs were beginning to French kiss with my lower nose hairs. Maybe they enjoyed it but it was making me itch.
            I took a siesta in the spring but when I got up it was winter again. April had been violated by non-fluffy white mess as if somebody’d poured a big dirt ripple slurpie over everything. One thing that distinguished this situation from winter though was that a lot of people seem to be in an April mode of weather consciousness. This was evident in the fact that many people were carrying umbrellas to ward off the snow. Some of them were brightly coloured in yellows, red polka dots and Canadian flags and the colours were made brighter against the backdrop of the snow.
            I re-read Raymond carver’s short story, “Cathedral”. It’s just the realistic telling of a story that gives the man’s honest though somewhat bigoted reactions and thoughts.  It was a story of a blind man coming to visit a man who doesn’t really want a blind man visiting him but it turned into what seemed like a life changing experience. The narrator tries to describe a cathedral to the blind man but fails. The blind man offers the solution of the narrator drawing a cathedral while the blind man’s hand is riding his drawing hand. Even though the narrator cannot draw, supposedly this not only allows the blind man to see a cathedral but also expands the narrator’s perceptions as well.
            I practiced playing my song “Insisting on Angels” twice. The first time was almost without any mistakes.
            I put on my woollen socks and my Kodiaks (hopefully for the last time) ad went out with the exact change to buy two cans of Creemore.
            I watched a weird and slightly funny Alfred Hitchcock teleplay that begins with a man named George in a mansion on a windy night. He looks at his watch and then gets up to make a phone call but the line is busy. He goes upstairs and looks in on his wife sleeping and then he leaves the house. He tries to take the car but the garage door is jammed. He walks until he can catch a cab and the driver is played by George Lindsey, who played Goober on The Andy Griffith Show. At the address where he is dropped off no one answers the door but he has a key. Inside, a woman is lying on the couch. George smiles and goes to wake her up. He turns her around and finds her dead. He wipes everything down that he’d touched and leaves. A few days later the cab driver, Sam Kirby comes to see George at work. The details about the murdered woman and her address have been in the papers and Kirby threatens to tell the police that he’d dropped George off at her place on the night she was killed if he does not receive enough money to buy a fishing cottage. He gives George until that night to meet him in a bar and tell him what he’s decided. George goes home and confesses everything to his wife, Mavis. She is a modern southern belle and her family’s reputation is far more important to her than money. She instructs George to tell Kirby to come to the house after midnight to discuss money. He plays pool with George for a while and then Mavis arrives with coffee. She offers Kirby a molasses cookie and he says “Don’t mind if I do!” She passes him a tray covered by a white cloth; she removes the cloth to reveal a gun that she calmly picks up to shoot Kirby dead (I don’t think I’ve ever seen Goober killed before). Earlier that day she had arranged for a large hole to be dug for three new rose trees. It had been her plan all along to dispose of Kirby’s body in the hole with three rose trees planted on top. Mavis cheerfully takes care of Kirby’s burial.
            The next day at work George’s secretary Martha comes to ask for a raise. She explains that George’s office is bugged and she has a recording of his conversation with Kirby. George says that a raise can be arranged and invites her to come to the house that night to discuss it. Then he calls his wife and asks her to make more molasses cookies and order more rose trees.
            Mavis was played by Kathie Browne who was married for 34 years to Darren McGavin until she died. He died three years later.

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