amazing {clutter}

amazing; pencil and crayon on Moleskine watercolour paper, 5.25 x 3.5 inches. For T.N.V.


What's amazing to me is that everyone doesn't go crazy. All the time. Like going to sleep or getting hungry, it should be an all-the-time phenomenon. Crazy fuel is everywhere, spilled and pooled and giving off its toxic fumes. Reflecting badly. This is why people stare at the ground, trying not to breathe.

The first four days of September have been a hot, airless room. This describes my office, where they shut off the useful part of the air-conditioning system over the Labour Day weekend, and left in progress the hopeless part, the squalid buzzing part, just tinny white noise like some distant jet engine, falling out of the sky, just over your shoulder.

Morning is the only time to get anything done, as the remains of overnight cool allow enough thought to bounce at a certain restrained depth. But then the afternoon arrives and throws a blanket over your head. And then you sit there and be moist, and the black thoughts crawl all over. Boredom is the least of it.

My coworker comes over to my desk, stands there and starts telling me about his daughter's hockey practice last night, how next year it's going to be soccer, how he and his wife have already met the coach, how this coach won a provincial championship two years ago. He tells me all this spontaneously. I tilt my screen, start a chess game. Every chess game I've ever played is about overloading the f2 pawn; I think if I just throw enough pieces at it, I have to win. As it turns out, even at the setting of two-thirds 'Faster' over 'Stronger', the computer wins almost every time.

Some days I dream of beer. I think I'm achieving this modest goal one night when I meet a friend for drinks at his favourite pub, but instead of pints he orders bottles, and the bottles have the words 'non-alcoholic' printed on them. He has some prepared words about the incongruity of life and hangovers, yet this is a fellow I know to really enjoy drinking -- when he can. Those last three words are important because I can almost see spousal fingerprints on the green bottles he nurses.

The next day I try the liquor store. I buy four cans from various countries around the world (exactly the kind of purchase that marks me out as a white, left-of-centre voter). Since I'm walking a few kilometres, I ask for plastic. No plastic. Fine, could you double-bag the paper? I ask. The clerk blushes. I don't know how to do that, she says. Okay, is there any way I can carry my purchase without it falling apart on the way home? I ask. This is where the helpful manager steps in, and tells me I can purchase a carry bag. What, to add to the three already sitting in my closet? So I take my paper bag and cradle it, like a lumpy stupid baby, all the way home.

The truly infuriating bit: by walking to work every day -- every. single. day. -- I am probably the 'greenest' person in the place. I can literally breathe plastic bags and still be ahead.

While I try to vary my route just enough to keep these and other awful thoughts at a minimum, I more or less stick to a strategy of avoiding hills. And every few days this takes me, almost always without realizing it, past the front step of a family of drunks.

The father is the archetype: bare-chested and tanned, wild curly hair, moustache, cigarette, talking in slur. Beside him sits a very thin, straight-backed woman who might be his daughter, might be his wife. T-shirt, pony tail. She always gives me a shy look. Two of her teeth stick straight out.

Sometimes they have guests. Talking too loud. At least two dogs. The porch itself is a miasma of broken kitchen chairs and beer bottles. Clutter is essential to crazy. Then the crazy hangs in the air, sprayed like mist.

People enjoy drinking outside. This is the premise of the patio. Customers will wait for outside tables. Is it better to be drunk in the sun? Does the crazy feel more like a vacation?

At least today, finally, there is some wind.


  1. Christina12:40 pm

    OMG. I'm married to you? How lucky am I? This was an awesome read.

  2. You might be the only real green person I know, but as far as fiction goes, The Green Giant man has you beat, then maybe the Hulk.

  3. =]

    im good. The blogs lookinggg awwweeeeesomeeeeeeee btw. and many happy sighs for each new drawing and written word.

  4. Just reading the post, made me feel as if I was there, too! OMG! it does sound crazy. How do you deal with it? The image's colors inspire calm.

  5. I thouroughly enjoyed this post, the art and the read are both great. Thanks for sharing your talents.

  6. Det du säg och det katta skit, det lägg jag i samma hög.

  7. hey there again!
    I know I havent been present in the blogger world this summer
    but I wanted to stop by
    and thank you
    for stopping by my bloggy and leaving nice comments
    I appreciate them

    Also I really enjoy your blog and art and words.


  8. If you dream of beer so much, maybe we should just go out and endulge together sometime. Walking to work is healthy, to yours and the Earth's. Besides, you need SOME way to work off those beer calories. And as for the paper bag dilemma - I think you should just take a backpack with you the next time you visit the beer store or LCBO - easy on your arms, no dropped goods. Sorry those were the only things I was able to relate to, lol.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. you should write your clutter here all the time..

    reading this makes me miss the days of email tossing with you during work.

    yes,how lucky you are, C.


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