“We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.” ― Tennessee Williams, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
I have been trapped inside (except for going to work all the time – which is even worse). I think I’m losing my mind.
I did get out today – actually went to a wedding in the design district. It felt odd. So odd I’m getting worried that I have lost all my abilities as a social animal – which were never strong to begin with.
Whoever gets the vodka will wear the trousers in the marriage. She was dead keen and talked him in to it. They asked me to prepare the glasses and offer the drinks during the reception. It seemed like a good idea at first. We’ll have to explain it to everyone, I said. Neither family was Polish and nor were any of the guests.
—-Brindley Hallam Dennis, Hitch
Have a drink.
There is the wedding toast – actually, one of the few wedding traditions that I approve of. But even that can, if taken too seriously, spin out of control.
I remember once staying at some chain hotel along the Interstate in some God-forsaken East Texas oil town where I was working for a few days cleaning up a pipeline spill. When I came back to the hotel from a long day searching out and picking up wayward crude, exhausted, there was a wedding reception going on – the party was in full bloom. The bride and groom were good looking but frighteningly young.
When I passed down the corridor the (child) bride was collapsed in hysterics weeping – still in her vast cloud of a wedding dress. Her maids of honor surrounded her in their hideous matching dresses trying to calm her down. I went into the men’s room for a quick piss and discovered the tuxedo-ed groom – as much of a kid as his bride, violently drunk and fiercely puking all over the place. His grooms were trying to get him under control but mostly managing only to despoil their rented rainments.
As I trudged back to my lonely hotel room all I could think about was how sad I was at witnessing this handsome doomed young couple.
My mother spends all her wages on cigarettes. My mother, a waitress at a café in the center of a suburban residential area at the edge of the world. In the afternoon, the café is filled with ladies. They are housewives coming from elegant houses at the edge of the world, killing time.
—–Hiromi Suzuki, A Longer Trip Back Home
Stray Christmas Ball in the Trinity River, Dallas, Texas
Does a story have to have a classical plot? Does the protagonist have to want something? Is the story always about if they get it or not?
I didn’t know that a French word for mock strawberries was Fraisier de Duchesne. That sounds like a good name for a character – maybe an evil aristocrat or a kindly old neighbor, Fraisier de Duchesne.
“And down I went to fetch my bride:
But, Alice, you were ill at ease;
This dress and that by turns you tried,
Too fearful that you should not please.
I loved you better for your fears,
I knew you could not look but well;
And dews, that would have fall’n in tears,
I kiss’d away before they fell.”
― Alfred Tennyson
While I was sitting alongside the reflecting pool listening to the music I looked up and there was this blonde woman wearing a white skin-tight stretchy shiny Spandex dress running barefoot as fast as she could down the middle of Flora street with a pair of heels clutched in her hands. She was trying to smile but was obviously upset at being late for something. Her legs were moving as quickly as they could, but she was slowed by that dress. Nothing much could move above her knees.
A few steps behind her, walking leisurely, but more or less at the same speed, was another woman, casually dressed, carrying a bundle of flowers and walking a beagle on a leash. She had a big grin watching her friend try and hoof it.
I wondered what was up, and then looking down the street in the distance by the Meyerson Symphony Hall I could see the last of the sunlight glinting off a tripod and a woman with a big camera pacing around. The woman in the dress was late for a photo shoot. Looking closer – I spotted a man in a suit.
Maybe wedding photos; maybe engagement. I don’t know about the beagle – maybe the dog would be in a few shots. I saw them start to set up and shoot some down by the Symphony Hall and then they were lost in the distance.
I didn’t think about them for a while. I was enjoying the music – but for some reason I turned my head and there they were, right in front of me. They had moved down and were taking pictures in the middle of the reflecting pool. I guess the photographer was at an angle where the crowd listening to the music didn’t appear in the background.
They were almost finished. I raised my camera and only had time to squeeze off a couple shots.
It would have been cool if they had dragged that dog out there too.