Long phone chat with O this afternoon, precipitated by yesterday's "Eraserhead" musings (we saw it together, and he tells me the artist I mentioned is still a minor success in the DC art world). O is a man with whom I have been having a continuous many-leveled conversation since the early summer of 1974, when we drove his brother L's van to a Maryland oceanside resort, supposedly to live there for the summer, we three. Exterior forces caused that situation's almost immediate deterioration: my total time resident was just five days (two of which were spent working as a dishwasher in the back of a restaurant, with a very peculiar boss); O didn't last much longer. (His job was digging swimming pool holes.) I'd known him slightly for a decade, being my classmate and best friend L's one-year-older brother, but we'd never really connected until that trip, when, apropos of nothing, about a half-hour away from our parents' suburban DC neighborhood he asked: "So haw many years has it been?" ?? "Since you've been considering suicide, of course." Not that such deep topics are typical of our conversation (but nothing is off-limits, either with him or his brother L)- point is, he and I can have no contact for years, but when we resume conversation it's like there's been no interruption at all. We call each other "Dude", said usage long predating the current youthful fashion, for reasons now obscure. This site's nature is going to compel him to get back on-line - he's been "off" for a couple years.
We didn't discuss this today, but I've been recollecting one lazy summer afternoon in 1981 we spent hanging out in the bad-neighborhood/industrial-loft/art-studio where he was then making his residence (it was just off North Capitol Street). I remember that I was reading A Generation Of Vipers by Phillip Wylie - just after a small rock came sailing in through the open window, we heard the sounds outside of some sort of a fracas - the scolding voice of a black woman kept repeating "Don' you be hitting him in the face!" Curiosity roused, we peered out but in the short interval between stimulus and reaction the people out there had moved down the block and out of sight.
I wasted more time today finishing up the Illinois' guy's "Brotherhood of the Terminal Loner" 42 site; and today I also got into his Utah compatriot's Stagnant Underground journal - not sure why I bother. He has some interesting tales and good information <1>, but she's pretty bleak so far - lots of rock lyrics (whole songs!) and dream recountings - I suppose I should tell a recent dream I had, here goes: someone gave me a bunch of cuttings; later in the dream (after I'd planted them) I noticed how strong their stems had become, how well they were doing. It was no obvious type of plant I could identify, didn't even have flowers. That's all I remember - pretty touchy-feely, especially for me - very unexpectedly dull and out-of-character - mine are usually intricate, complicated, emotionally wrenching adventures (I'll try to relate one some other time). Also contrary to my usual experience with indoor greenery - my acquisition of one is generally a slow, agonizing death sentence for the plant, so I don't bother anymore; but sometimes I receive them as gifts.
I'm wondering how many years or generations of immersion it takes in our American culture, until the brown immigrant child calls his mother "Mom" (with one or two syllables) rather than the native "Mama!"
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<1>Like this Dr Web site - great stuff there for all you web-page-makers Back