Friday, February 1, 2013

a system of inter-states (part 3)

"trouble sleeping, simple fellow?"
(short pause)
"no, I'm just waiting..."
"waiting for what?"
"take a wild guess, sir."
"our destination, perchance?"
"huh...funny that you refer to it as our destination."
"why is that funny, lad?"
"well, I was assuming that you would be off right away on a return trip or something-"
"or something?"
"sure, sir- or something- I don't know- maybe another leg of your journey."
"my journey?  young man, what in god's name do you mean by my journey?"
"sir, I'm getting tired of you quibbling over my every last word."
"son, you're exaggerating a little- I've noticed you're prone to any case, I'm 'quibbling', as you call it, over every tenth word or so-"
"that still seems like a lot."
"well, maybe it is...I'm not sure..."
"well, I'm not sure either, sir."
"at least we have that much in common."
"that's quite a bit, if you think about it."
"well, I have thought about it, in fact."
"somehow that doesn't surprise me."
"somehow that doesn't surprise me."
"somehow that doesn't surprise me."
"somehow that doesn't surprise me."
(long pause)
"indeed, somehow that doesn't surprise me at all."
"doesn't surprise me in the slightest bit either, sir."
"why else do you think I would have opened up in the way that I have?"
"you mean about the haiku?"
"no, no- besides, you guessed about that yourself."
"well, sir, you made it painfully obvious, if you don't mind me sayin' "
"you mean about the haiku?"
"tell me a little more about this phenomenal memory you alluded to earlier."
"you mean the wilderness thing-a-ma-jigger?"
"if you want to call it that, sure."
"son, are you sure you don't want to try getting a little sleep before we arrive?"
"arrive where?"
"our destination."
"you mean my destination."
"no, fellow, you're wrong again- it's pretty much my destination as well."
"but sir, you're not staying there."
"that doesn't mean it's not my destination."
"where are you headed to next?"
"st. louis."
"st louis?"
"st. louis."
"I was goddamn born in st. louis!"
"good for you, simple fellow."
"I was born under the goddamn st. louis arch!"
"yeah, I think I remember reading about that somewhere."
"impossible, sir.  (pause)  is that your fun way of mocking a passenger?"
"I'm not mocking you, son."
"well then are you mocking the arch?"
"not at all...I love the arch."
"you love the arch?  really?  you love an inanimate object?"
"it sounds crazy, I know, son.  (pause)  but yes, I love an inanimate object."
"does it love you back?"
"it sounds crazy, I know, son.  (pause)  but it loves me back even more."
"you sure you want to start quantifying that sort of thing, sir?"
"well, son, the arch itself is partly a matter of quantity."
(very long pause)
"true enough."
"but not true all the way-"
"correct- mostly true."
"and you know where to draw the dividing line?"
"no idea, sir."
"no idea."
"no idea at all."
"wow.  that makes two of us."
"well, at least we have that much in common."
"what do you say about trying to capture the essence of the arch in a simple haiku?"
"a simple haiku, son?"
"why not?"
"where did you ever hear about anybody writing a simple haiku?"
"in high school."
"high school."
"yeah- a world literature class."
"world literature?"
"sir, for chissakes! enough with the quibbling!"
"you mean the wilderness thing-a-ma-jigger?"
"no, I mean the st. louis arch!!!"
"calm down, son...(long pause)...that's better...take a couple deep breaths...besides, I'd rather write one about the st. louis cardinals."
"what's that?"
"a baseball team."
"you mean that thing with the bat and the gloves and the um
"well, that's a big part of it, yes...but not entirely..."
"and you know where to draw the dividing line?"
"no idea, son."
"no idea."
"no idea at all."
"wow.  that makes two of us."
"no, actually I know a whole bunch of others..."
"yeah, I suppose I do too, sir."
"of course you do, sonny."
" 'bout how much longer til we get to..."
"our destination?"
"depends on traffic, my driving conditions...but barring any breakdowns or accidents...I would say...oh, I don't know...maybe another 5 or 6 hours..."
"that seems doable, sir."
"oh sure- it's entirely doable."
"sir, are you sure you aren't exaggerating a little?"
"well son, if I am, I must have picked it up from you just during the past couple of hours."
"am I that bad of an influence, then?"
"who said anything about 'bad influence?'  lad, you are sometimes prone to the strangest delusions...if you don't mind me sayin' so..."
"no sir, I've always appreciated your frankness."
"well son, we haiku writers don't really have much else of a choice..."
"yeah, I heard about that too..."
"in the same world literature class?"
"that's right, sir."
"that must have been a halfway decent high school you went to."
"it was."
"you sure you want to start quantifying this sort of thing, son?"
"sir, you're the one who brought up 'halfway decent'."
"oh...I suppose that I did...(pause)...son, isn't language itself partly a matter of quantity?"
"maybe so, sir..."
"huh...that answer deserves a little more scrutiny..." 

(very long pause)

(another very long pause)

(it was around this point that we both gradually slipped back into the general silence.)

(there was of course the sound of rushing air and the sound of tires on pavement.)

it was a strange conversation, no question.

I was the only one on the bus!

(the deep night,
the interstate.)

(a strange and somewhat unsettling/unsettled experience.)

(to be continued)