Quotidienne Should Be A Performance Art Piece And You Get There And It’s Just Me Eating Potato Chips

We woke up at three. We’ve abandoned our attempts to conquer jetlag and are instead pleased at how quickly we will adjust to ‘merican time. Something happened for three hours, I don’t know, I don’t remember that far in the past. I put on pants at some point, hopefully. I remember eating curry but I also remember eating cereal. Were they both today? Maybe.

WE ARE IN A TIDAL WAVE SPITTOON, NO, MONSOON, NO what is that thing, a funnel cloud. A spiral staircase. A bendy straw. We are in a never ending bendy straw of temporal confusion. Time has lost all meaning. I think of sunset as late morning.

It has been pointed out to me that I may mean whirlpool. A whirlpool of temporal confusion. Or possibly a cyclone. Or a word that I made up in my head one time and decided everyone else had to acknowledge and then forgot about.

Point is, eventually, we managed to pry ourselves out of the comforting womb of this apartment. We poured lattes into our mouth holes. We went to the one busking street. It is the unofficially official busking street in Vilnius. He went down into an underground flea market shop (actually underground, and full of gas masks and old snapshots and Soviet tchotchkes) to look at cufflinks and I crouched over our heap of instruments and looked at the people looking at me. A very small very old lady with spacious teeth saw me and the instruments and got so excited and happy, like a young kid does, without consideration of how it looks. I was excited with her until she passed out of view and I stopped being able to feel her feelings.  I drank my coffee and was neutral without being sullen, which is a good trick for me.

He came up, cufflinkless, having FAILED UTTERLY to ask the proprietor if we could play on his doorstep. So I went down and cooed and fluttered (very badly, it only worked because he was on his cellphone and not paying attention) and he said it was fine if we played.

Western Swing and early jazz is what we have right now. I am on tenor banjo, as my faithful readers will know, and he’s on fiddle or clarinet. I haven’t busked in months and was shaky, coffeeified and nervous. But they have so few street musicians that they may not be in a position to judge and were delighted. A roundy man, shorter than me, stopped right in front of me and winked. I winked back at him and he giggled. A group of German geographers (ahahahaha, real life consonance!) sat down at the cafe across from us so they could hear us. We now have their email and are going to try to find someone to give one of them accordion lessons. A middle aged couple of unspecified European-ness slow danced next to us. It went well.

We walked home via a series of bars. I destroyed him utterly at foosball and was permitted to bloviate on the topic of young adult fiction (separate and distinct events, it is just that I am cheap with my punctuation.)

We then, there being no all night snack availability in Vilnius, deep fried potatoes in coconut oil. And a mushroom, because when you are deep frying, you might as well live like you may never have a chance to deep fry again.

I don’t think I have any wise parting words for you today. *smiles sappily into the camera* And remember, when life gets you down, when things seem grey and cloudy, when the current of your dreams has developed into a riptide of death and nightmare and featureless desert, in the ocean, ocean desert, ah um, ocean with no sea life in it I guess, remember. Remember that you can sit on the couch and put your toes in sour cream. It feels kind of cool and you feel terrible, so you might as well, right? And then, later, when you feel better, when you have used sour cream to get you through that difficult time, you will have unlocked the power of realising that you can put your toes in sour cream, a socially suspect activity. And then you will understand that everything is a construct that can be broken down given sufficient desperation and that if what you really want to do is go live on a pontoon and knit hats, then you can.

Quotidienne Should Be A Performance Art Piece And You Get There And It’s Just Me Eating Potato Chips

Lists

I have no idea what has happened in the last two weeks. Which is the last time I posted. But I will try to remember in this handy bullet pointed list of shame.

  • I am ashamed that I seem to be incapable of getting out of bed before three in the afternoon.
  • I am ashamed that I am not capitalising on this charming European city by going to musical, social and cultural events and befriending wacky yet trustworthy and inherently good foreign characters.
  • I am ashamed that even though I want to, I am too afraid to buy a raisin bun for the middle aged lady who sits in the park and talks to herself.
  • I am ashamed that every time I feel even vaguely bad, I panic and try to burn my life down.
  • I am ashamed of my self-hate. (Oooh, tricky.)
  • I am ashamed that I don’t do enough spiritual practice to be in a constant dizzy haze of well being.

That did not so much help with my short term recall, but it did make me feel better. LIST OF PRIDE!

  • I am proud
  • shit
  • I got nothing
  • Come on Elizabeth
  • Come ooooooon, you can do this
  • I AM PROUD THAT THE BLIND TURKISH USED-TO-BE-AN-ALLEY-CAT APPEARS TO BE FLOURISHING UNDER MY CARE! AW YEAH! Insha’allah.
  • That’s it.
  • I’ll figure this out, just give me some time.
Lists

A Work In Progress

I’m learning the tenor banjo. This is partly because my partner managed to con me into bringing it to Europe instead of the guitar. I agreed to be conned. I knew I was being conned so he could have both instruments. And I feel surprisingly little resentment. He has, I must admit, been excellent for reducing my resentment quotient. The last little hold out of resentment in a corner of my soul is against him generally making me a better, gentler, and less resentful person. Once that one fades away I may just pop like a soap bubble or turn into a sunbeam or a daisy.

This whole thing has an upside though, in that I can now PLAY THE DAG DIDDLY TENOR BANJO LIKE SOMEONE WHO ONLY SUFFERS MILDLY FROM A HEAD INJURY.

We are developing a croony and adorable setlist. I am the crooner. We played in the park on Thursday, when the sun was out. It’s called Reformaty Park and a good bit of it looks like confused and tiny Aztecs were instrumental in its building. You can perch the very edge of one buttock on one step and sort of clench so that you can hang on like a lizard. Or I suppose if you were blessed in the buttock department you could have each one on a different step and attain a kind of balance. It’s hard to play there, is my point.

But there we were, in our all our vulgar American splendour, singing I Wanna Be Like You for clarinet and banjo. Georgia on My Mind. (Heh. The gay German version of that would be Georg on My Mind.) Other things from the distant past that escape me right this instant. I want you to picture this, okay? Because we do not look good. He’s in a holey wife beater and jeans with a three day beard. I’m in enormous leather boots and short shorts and, you know, my hair. Which just exudes disreputable. Cheap cigarettes hanging off our lips. Spit dribbling out of the clarinet. And the people walking by, while they’re next to us, the sun is coming out behind their eyes. They smile like they’re happy, and this is not a land of fake smiling. Beardy men give us thumbs up. Babies stare at us in that baby way of bafflement while their moms smile and nod. A very old and tiny woman, in nice clothes and lipstick, with a leather handbag, stopped in the walkway in front of us. She didn’t look at us, really. Just a little, just out of the side of her eye. We kept on playing. She set her handbag down. She closed her eyes. I looked at her, grateful that she could not see me so I could watch her and think about her, and I sang to her. She went over and sat on the steps a ways down from us and for a long time she was our audience. She gave us honour, because she let us play the music from when she was young for her and she accepted it.

He’s off playing right now, with a local band called The Swing Cats. I begged off because there was a chance that afterwards there might be a jam and in spite of generalised hearty encouragement, I am afraid that I’m not good enough. What is this thing? What is this part of ourselves that wants to keep us down in the dark? I have a good idea of my own capabilities. I know what I can and can’t do. I know that if I work I will improve. But there’s a voice that says I will never be other than I am now, unless I become worse, and all it wants is for me to lie back down and give up. What is that? What useful purpose does it serve? It must have a purpose, but it gets too much power and goes crazy. I think that’s why Minnesotans roll in snow after going in the hot tub. I think that’s why people do extreme sports. I think that is why we fast. I think that is why I seek discomfort. Make it so that I am so full of other things, so full of sensation, that there is no room for a small dragging voice.

We are so full of beautiful things. The things we create, but also the things that we are. The systems that make us up, mental, physical, spiritual. Fall in love with your systems. Admire their shape and utility. Their grace.

A Work In Progress

My Hair

I have been notable only for my absence. I’m going to backtrack my timeline, so bear with me.

Gypsy jazz. Whiskey. A tattoo back room with a Sailor Jerry Royal Navy Thursday night special. (I still lack tattoos. My hand shook signing a lease, the commitment of a tattoo may be more than I can bear.) Old women selling flowers on the streets, who waggle their heads kindly when I show my fistful of change. Not enough, love, but I don’t mind the time it took to tell you that. Sweating. The floor length skirt and fake leather jacket I got from a thrift store. They like my hair here, did you know that?

Events involving my hair: Tonight, outside the bar. Man stops, possibly homeless, definitely drunk, plastic litre of beer in hand, flip phone in the other. Eyebrow wiggle time. Wiggle. Wiggle wiggle. “Pa ruski?” “Ne, ne.” “Hmmmmm, Ruski?” “Ne, sorry, angliski, francais, ne ruski, nyet ruski.” He laughs like the tarry bubbles in his lungs are merrily popping. Merrily Popping! She’s the off brand Mary Poppins. She’s got a canvas hold all and an umbrella with a flamingo head and she gives the kids medicine that tastes like Walgreens strawberry freezee.

Ahem. Anyway. He holds up his phone and make a clicky sound and points at my hair. “Picture?” “Ahhhh…” “Yes, picture, picture.” And he took a picture. Of my hair.

EARLIER THAT SAME MORNING: It was evening. But we get up late here in the Baltics, and when I say we I mean me, so roll with it, kid, okay? Cool it, clam it, clip your lip, Slim.

See, I was in this little bar. This cafe, like. And this fella rolls up to me on legs like pipe cleaners, with a moustache from out of a dream, a head like the finest billiard ball, hands that would make Carl (my pretend hairdresser) weep. And he says a lot of stuff in foreign. And I say a lot of stuff back to him in English that he doesn’t understand. And we beam at each other like idiots. Point is, after he helped me out by shrieking for the maitre d’ and pounding like King Kong on the call bell, I did not feel that I could in good conscience repel him with cries and curses when he buried his face in my hair. He stayed there for a minute. And then he looked very seriously into my eyes and said more things. And then his elderly friend came over and massaged my hand with an amethyst. And then I drank my coffee and went home.

YESTERDAY, OR POSSIBLY THE DAY BEFORE, I LOSE TRACK: Had a nice evening with a guitarist who was polite and gentlemanly. Around two o clock and many drinks in he started laughing and saying, “Your hair, ghahgh, your hair!” And then he took a picture of my hair.

A pattern is beginning to develop, gentle reader.

My Hair