It’s been a beautiful day. Somehow, I had a great, if abbreviated, ethics class this afternoon. Left early to make my doctor’s appointment at 1:45. Made that on time, and it went well. I left somehow elated, my state made better still by the music I was playing in the car, as Saddleback loomed before me, growing ever closer.
Rolling towards those hills, I had a fleeting, but fine, “eucalyptus” moment: a brief memory of some childhood scene, smelling and hearing and feeling the stands of eucalyptus trees along Santiago Boulevard, aware of the golden hills (circa 1963) around Villa Park with a child’s eyes, lovely music playing in my head. It somehow combined with thoughts of young Teddy, whose name came up in my conversation with Boerlin.
“How are things going with your cat, Teddy?” he asked. He smiled, thinking of the oddness, but cleverness, of that question, but I flat answered it: “Well, he’s turned out to be a great cat. He’s maybe the sweetest cat I’ve ever known, and I’ve known a shitload of cats.”
Boerlin liked that; plus he liked something (he said) I said once about the difficulty of approaching the increasing wackitude of certain declining progenitorial individuals with a balance between respect and humoring. I think Boerlin was playing me a bit, cuz he was fixin’ to charge me for two meetings ($300!), owing to my having missed my appointment last week. My chief complaint, of course, qua patient, was an increase in my own wackitude in the form of worse, though not debilitating, memory lapses—such as the odd lapse that allowed me to lose track of the little card informing me of my meeting with Dr. B last week. So I emphasized that symptom, hoping it would for once inspire B, that tightwad, to charge me for one meeting, not two. But no.
But, yes, my fine eucalyptus moment did somehow combine with a Teddy moment—they are similar moments these days, so high is my esteem for the rotund little fellow. I explained to Boerlin that Young Teddy is covered in some magic sauce when it comes to women, cuz there’s no woman who has passed through Teddy’s orbit who hasn’t become a devoted satellite. “My mom visits the guy nearly every day; my friend Kathie comes around every other week just to see him; even my goddam cleaning lady is playing with him right now instead of working!” All true.
When I finally got home, I found Beverly working, more or less, but it was obvious that she had spent some time playing with the Boy, too. And just before she headed out, Teddy came between us and started rolling around on his back on the floor—a clear indication that he was very comfortable being around that lunatic Beverly. I don’t mind. I’m glad she and Teddy are pals.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Beverly came later.
“I try not to hold it against him,” I told Boerlin, bringing my account of Teddy nearly to a close. But I did add that Teddy is mighty sweet, a kind of miraculous being, impossible not to adore. “I am fortunate,” I said, “catwise.”
I stopped by Ma and Pa’s—Annie was there—since I hate to arrive at my place while Beverly is working (or playing or drinking or showering). Pa was “working” on taxes over at the sunroom table (an absurdly neurotic spectacle). Ma and Annie, however, were blathering sweet & sour nothings about their upcoming trip (with Pa, that hater of travel, that great pretender) to Vegas to see Villy Nelson. I took the opportunity to get Annie on the laptop to snatch up three tickets (on my card), the best ones available (if I were to leave the matter to my folks, they'd get cheap seats up in the rafters), but that ran into a snag, ‘cuz we had to print out the tickets ourselves (or else), but—I was told—“the printer is out of ink.” Oh. Naturally, Pa overheard this and wandered over, muttering something about printers and ink. “Please forget about it,” I told him. “Just forget about it; we’ve got it covered.” But no. He muttered something about how, no, there’s plenty of ink, and then he wandered in the direction of his office, where, of course, the printer (and the fax machine) are located.
“Good grief,” I said, as he turned the corner.
That was it for me; I announced that I would be back in a half hour with the ink. I walked past ‘em all, including my still bewildered dad, and climbed into my trusty Chrysler 300, storming away like I do.
Naturally, the Office Depot (or Staples?) that I always go to up on Portola was empty: out of business. Sheesh. So I headed back on Portola toward Rancho Santa Margarita. I got stuck in the right lane and, as I crossed Glenn Ranch Road, the lane started to disappear (it was traffic time); but, in a flash, I spotted an opportunity to merge to the left, but it wasn’t really an opportunity—I mean, no sane person would regard it as an opportunity. It was an opportunity only to death-wishing race car drivers and me. Off I went, evidently stomping on the gas (I don’t recall that, but I do remember smoke), and perfectly slipping into the just-barely space at the left, utterly pissing off the guy behind me in a PT Cruiser. Immediately, I acted as though everything were perfectly normal, and it was, aside from the pissed off guy, who seemed to be on his cell phone. Well, whatever.
I finally got to the Staples in RSM and found the two ink cartridges (colored and B&W)—the pair cost something over $110, if you can believe that. Well, again, whatever. So I headed toward Trabuco Creek, encountering, naturally, some fool in a tiny car called a Kia Shit (I think that was the name), tooting and putting incredibly slowly through the hairpin turns (there’s a couple of those just before the creek) and the straightaways too. “No, no, no,” I told myself, a reminder that I had already tested fate with that recent lunatic PT Cruiser maneuver, which will come back to haunt me yet. Luckily, the fool in the Kia Shit turned off the road before crazy things happened, leaving me behind a fairly cool Mazda 3, traveling at a stately and respectable speed. I played it cool, again enjoying the weather and music, which triggered a series of near Eucalyptoid moments. It was Desmond Dekker’s “Fu Manchu” (1968), which is way spooky:
It make no sense at all to say where you used to work—What does it mean? I dunno, but it sure is cool and somehow it was perfectly suited to the moment. So there I was, groovin’ to a cool 60s spooky reggae vibe about, I dunno, things people say that make no sense and the general spookiness and beauty of the cosmos when you're driving through the golden hills and mighty oaks and the air that feels good.
It make no sense at all to say how much you used to earn
It make no sense at all to say what you used to do
This is the face of Fu Manchu...
I dropped off the ink cartridges—it was a pit stop—and then headed up to my place to see Beverly off and say hello to the Boy. That went well, and off she went, and the Boy was a miracle yet again, being his wonderful self and climbing all over me for reassurances. I gave 'em.
After a bit, a bird somehow got caught inside the house, and, natch, the Boy was totally wired, feeling somehow that THIS WAS IT, WHAT EVERY CAT LIVES FOR, but probably having no idea quite what to do. But I liked this bird and wasn’t about to let it get eaten or ripped by Teddy, despite the latter’s (otherwisular) miraculous perfection and goodness. So I opened all the doors and attempted to encourage Mr. Bird to head outdoors, but you know how it is. Birds aren’t good at taking directions or hints. But I liked how I could keep the doors totally open and not worry about Teddy, cuz the Boy was seriously focused on that bird and there was no way he was gonna wonder off into the hills. Not now.
Eventually, Mr. Bird found his way out the front door—Boo Boo (aka Teddy) managed not to see that, so, boy was he disappointed and perturbed when the whole crazy bird episode seemed to come to a stop for reasons (to him) unknown. But he dealt with it OK, and, pretty soon, there we were, sitting together on the couch on a kinda hot but beautiful evening while, probably, Annie and Ma got those Villy tickets printed (but who knows) and, near as I could tell, all was well in our little canyon.
A good day, I think.