Our firm doesn’t take the January or February holidays. Yesterday I took the bus but I left a half hour later than usual because I knew there would be no traffic. I don’t think the bus driver hit the brake pedal until we got to downtown Portland.
Of course we paid for it on the way home because there was a giant traffic jam from everybody coming home from their surprisingly sunny three-day weekend.
On Sunday I did something that’s been on my list forever and I put a bunch of stuff on my iPod that I never seem to listen to at home but would be perfect to listen to on the bus. A friend sent me some comedy shows and I have a spoken word CD that I got from Liz Woody and I have some fairy tales in German and a writing class.
Yesterday during the traffic jam I listened to the comedy shows and Liz and enjoyed the scenic route the bus took to avoid the freeway until the last minute. Listening is underrated.
Another thing I did yesterday was re-read A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor which is one of my top three short stories of all time. Another one is De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period by J.D. Salinger and if pressed to choose the third right now, I’d have to pick The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. If nothing else these are all stories that I read over and over and love just as much every time. Maybe love isn’t the right word. They’re all pretty twisted stories.
A long time ago I wrote a story where some side characters had a band called Flannery and they took their names from characters in this story: Bailey, June Star, John Wesley and Pitty Sing. It seemed awfully clever at the time.
Last night after we turned out the light, I told Bob I’d read the story and he said, “That’s the one with the rabbit ears.”
“What?” I said, thinking he couldn’t possibly remember that from the story.
“The woman wore a bandana tied with rabbit ears on the top.”
This is a man who after living in the same home for 10 years still can’t remember where half the kitchen stuff goes, yet he remembers a tiny detail from a story he probably read over 20 years ago.
From the first page of the story:
Bailey didn’t look up from his reading so she wheeled around then and faced the children’s mother, a young woman in slacks, whose face was as broad and innocent as a cabbage and was tied around with a green head-kerchief that had two points on the top like rabbit’s ears.