Just find something you like.
Then rub your body all the fuck in it.
Just find something you like.
Then rub your body all the fuck in it.
Maybe eternal recurrence is a mathematical certainty.
But I don’t see why that would mean Zarathustra was a groundhog.
Or why that critter would probably be okay with what you did to him this morning.
I told you. It was not just belief. It was knowledge.
I knew he would return.
For one thing:
He has always shortened the green.
If he doesn’t shorten the green, who will?
We may have found a place to live. We have seen the house twice and we like it. Now, the relocation company is talking politely to the agents and the agents are talking politely to the owners and we’re talking politely to both the relo company and the agents and there are just many, many parties and we are all talking politely to one-another.
The people with the house are in a situation similar to ours. They are relocating to Singapore for work. They are leaving at the end of this month. Which means they will be arriving to a new place at the beginning of next month. Like us. Most importantly, they have a dog. A hound-like dog. A dog similar to ours. So it’s possible they understand a dog situation. It’s reasonable to assume they appreciate a dog scenario within a living arrangement.
This all reminds me of a joke:
How many real-estate agents does it take for one American couple with two dogs to find a place to rent in England?
That’s it. That’s the entire joke.
For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been living in a hotel off of the A33, pictured above. It connects the highway M4 to downtown Reading. We’ve met people like Kata and Dragos and Peter, who have become our friends. We’ve become regulars at their bar in the evening for dinner or drinks or coffee, and at their tables in the morning for breakfast.
When you look south on the A33 from the hotel, you can see a great windmill near Madejski Stadium. It spins and spins in the various painted skies: The cirrus and the stratus and the cirrostratus, the cumulus afternoons. The pink and the orange 9 pm sunset. The clear blue morning. The windmill seems small in the distance. It seems like something you can easily take. But as you get close to it, you understand its size and its power.
You understand it is not what you thought.
You understand you’ll need a different strategy.
Tonight it is storming. It is the first big storm we’ve seen here. The bright lightning flashes from behind the heavy hotel curtains. The thunder is as if from angry giants. If Honey were here, she’d be shaking and panting. If Rothko were here, he’d be putting his face right up against mine. And those might not be unreasonable strategies.
Today from the dog sitter:
Honey often barks and growls at other dogs and gets into fights over toys/beds/spots on the couch. Rothko has behaved very cowardly and sometimes refuses to follow commands just shuns away to hide under tables and has to be pulled out.
EXACTLY AS I’VE TAUGHT THEM.
I need something good.
A hydrant, even.
Will settle for this Sixty-Nine Hydrant Sign.
There is a town called Wokingham and we may live in it or near it. I met with an agent today named Paige, and unlike many of the other agents, Paige seemed genuinely optimistic about some not horrible places we might be able to live in with dogs. One of the properties she thought might work was an old barn conversion. I really want to live in a barn conversion, because next time C says, “Jesus, you act like you live in a barn.” I can then say, “Yes.”
One of the things I discovered tonight on the Internets is that Wokingham seems to be one of the healthiest towns in England. Maybe if we end up in Wokingham, we will never leave. Maybe nobody does.
We have become “regulars” at our hotel. Most of the staff knows us and the things we tend to order or say or do. We go down for breakfast and they greet us and we exchange pleasantries and we talk about the shifting landscape of the guests all around us: sometimes a convention of business people, sometimes a tour bus full of old Germans.
I like to pretend I’m Major Gowen in Fawlty Towers, and I watch the cricket on the TV like I know what the hell is happening, and I drink a whiskey and I look for a moose head I can talk to.
The last few weeks have been bad weeks. They have been some of the worst. It has had nothing to do with coming to England (I think that has helped). It also has had nothing to do with my generalized lack-of-dogs condition (I think that hasn’t helped, but still…) I know this sounds ominous and cryptic. I’m sorry about that. You can just ignore all of this. I actually really want you to. Because it’s not my style to be this way.
Or maybe it is. Maybe it is exactly my style.
Do I have a style? Do I have a me, now? Now that every instinct seems wrong. Every familiar muscle memory is cut. Every sound. Every mannerism. Every hope.
Do I have a me? Now? Did I ever?
In the car, my hands reach for things that aren’t in the places my hands expect the things to be. I have to fight natural urges to make wrong-way turns and I have to consciously think about making the right-way ones. I have to learn the things I’ve already learned. I have to do the things I’ve already done. Be the person I’ve already been.
My voice hates not speaking through a dog.
My voice hates the sound it makes when it is alone.
C went to Paris. I went to a restaurant called Bill’s.
Bill’s has a good menu, a nice patio, and is right off a cemetery with gravestones so old you can’t read most of them. It’s possible I have always been looking for this combination of things in a restaurant. I just never realized it.
Everybody I have spoken to here has given me the same advice about where to live: avoid Oxford Road. It’s funny, because in my first walk-about, I walked a little bit on Oxford Road and felt immediately the badness. Apparently, my sixth sense still works.
At Bill’s, I spoke to my server about the lack of dogs. And right then, right as I was telling him I hadn’t seen a single dog, he pointed at the path going through the cemetery beside us and there was a guy riding his bike with an unleashed dog running next to him. Just like that. And it was a big dog, too. A boxer mix.
I feel like it must have been real, this vision, because my server pointed at it.
I feel like my server was probably real.
My server told me that the English here typically work pretty hard (he sounded French, not English, and so he said this with a touch of contempt). He said I’d likely see folks walking dogs in the very early morning or the very late evening, but not much during the day. Ok, right. I suppose I get that, in an abstract sense, but here’s the thing: I do see a great number of prams all about everywhere all the time. Loads and loads of prams. So many prams I wonder if there is a pram convention. Or if Reading is a manufacturer of goddamn prams.
I see less in the way of pram near the cemetery, though. I see the pram parade less here.
These ladies, along Queen Victoria Street off Town Centre, Reading.
Note the lack of dogs.
Other people’s dogs.
Extreme lack of dogs, innit?
I drank a pint in that pub over to the right (The Alehouse). Several English blokes here, but I wound up by chance talking to to two Americans, one from Dallas. And the other day, C and I sat next to a couple in a restaurant who, though English by birth, had been expats for the last 20 years, and had spent time in Houston.
Texas finds me. Texas finds me.