KALI'S DAY excerpt
"Candice hears the sounds of birds. The last traces of light stain the cave’s entrance far from where she sits in full lotus covered only in the ashes of the dead. She drifts in and out, sometimes jolted from a vast emptiness by the grumbling of her stomach. So far she can silence hunger by simply focusing and re-focusing on her breath. But the stomach is a dumb animal and its indifference to “mind over matter” is becoming more apparent in the increasing volume of its complaint. It clenches itself like a fist and it’s all she can do to keep her eye closed, though she hears something scratching along the ground somewhere to her left. She’s conquered fear, never feared the dark until right before she conquered it. In another lifetime, there was a longing that she barely remembers. So it’s not fear or need that distracts her now. It’s the knowledge that, other than herself, something animate, something alive is within reach. Most likely it’s one of those large succulent beetles, thickly armored against what she is now in most danger of becoming—a predator, since she hasn’t really conquered appetite, has only concealed it, and despite having risen above the desire for even the simplest bowl of rice, is about to succumb to defeat for the taste of something that until now has been far from tempting or even remotely relevant to the satisfaction of any desire, let alone hunger—especially hunger.
She doesn’t open her eye. But she imagines it crawling heavily over the various obstacles in its way: pebbles and clumps of damp earth, a random search for whatever nourishment, dirt, dead insects, bits of excrement, it might stumble upon."
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Monday, August 13, 2007
I'm trying to keep it together but disintegration is always at my heels. For a moment I considered re-titling this "The Daily Flog," but I spend so much time battling my tendency to complain that i decided against it. Anyway, I googled it and it's already taken. I will forge ahead with "the path of least resistance" if it kills me.
I decided to try to go against another natural preference of working at night when it's dark outside and I can control the light inside, and most people are home doing god-knows-what and I don't really want to know about it. I tried it and after a week of working in the daytime began to feel as if a gray muck was settling over my soul. Daylight is best for outside activity and I was slipping into a werewolf mentality. To remedy this I decided to go for an afternoon swim at the public pool and ride there on one of the new free for the 1st 1/2 hour bikes that the mayor of Paris had installed in mid-July, a system called VELIB. I used one once coming home late from a friend's and it was super convenient.
I packed my gear and went to the conveniently located bike station across the street from my apartment. There were no bikes. Ok, there's another one not too far, even though it's in the wrong direction. I get there and the computer screen tells me i can't get a one-day pass with my bank card. Ok, there's another one, this time closer to where I'm headed, but not so close to the pool to make me want to walk. I get there and there's one lonely bike left whose red light I foolishly ignore. I go through the registration process. It registers my bank card and charges me the one euro fee plus 150 euro deposit. I couldn't get the bike to release from the parking station, but ok, I should have paid attention to the red light, should have known better. Now that i've been charged, though, I'm determined to get on a bike, damn it. There's another station further along, almost all the way to where i'm going. It's out of order. I end up walking to the pool--I can always get on a bike to come home. There's a man outside the pool who tells me it's closed due to "technical difficulties." This is not the first time this has happened and i sometimes wonder if it's just a sneaky way for the staff to get a day to themselves. I know there's a bike station, not that close, in the opposite direction of home, but hey--i paid my one euro.
So i trudge over there and finally get a bike assigned to me by the computer--Number 6. I straddle Number 6, lower the seat and slowly find my balance with my heavy bag on my shoulder since if i put it in the basket i'm afraid the badly balanced bike will start wavering into traffic. I stay on the sidewalk just to be sure I make it home without being creamed by the Alain Delon wannabes on motos. I seem to be going over speed bumps, but i'm on the sidewalk and can't figure out why there'd be speed bumps on the sidewalk. I look down and it all looks like normal pavement so i get off the bike and give a look. My rear tire is flat. The question now is--where do i dump this thing? First i try the station that was out of order, thinking maybe I can drop off a bike even if i can't take one. Nope. I go back to the one that wouldn't take my bank card, but YES! it takes my bike. I apply a well-made chestnut cream crepe to my frustrated intentions and walk home.
In total, I spent an hour and a half within a half mile radius that I could have spent at the Louvre, or walking through the Luxembourg Gardens but let's look at it this way--there was a three point payoff: Even though I didn't get to swim, I got a major workout walking from station to station and then pedalling uphill on a one ton bike with a flat rear tire. The crepe was really good. I think i'm making progress with my attitude problem.