Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Eye

I have always been a very strong swimmer. I felt comfortable in water well over my head from the time I first found myself afloat, and the story goes that my parents, upon taking me to the beach and having turned their attention to set down a blanket, witnessed me sprinting at full gate towards the waves.

By contrast, I’ve only been confident as a writer since I grasped how to spell, many years after learning to speak and then read. I did always feel comfortable writing though, despite the fact that I was discouraged to do so by many around me. I am the product of a turbulent family life, my time having been spent battening hatches and waiting out torrents.

Once, while in my teens and surfing a pretty large storm, I got myself into a bit of a predicament which required me to take an enormous leap of faith contrary to instinct. I was looking backwards towards the incoming sets while straddling a large board that held me high in the water, and as I realized that I was behind the break I turned to discover that the wind was blowing me off-shore. Quickly. As the gale intensified I saw my familiar landmarks diminish, and knew surfing had ceased for the day and the work of survival was in order.

From where I sat in the water I knew and felt two divergent paths before me: One was to remain with the board and perceived safety and drift far out to sea. The other was to unstrap the leash and swim. The moment I stripped the Velcro from my ankle the decision was iron: the wind took the board and flipped it into the horizon. I turned and faced a strong perpendicular undercurrent for about 45 minutes, side stroking for bearing then crawling hard-fought sets at a time. When I reached the break I body surfed one in, and lay frozen onshore whittling the experience into a manageable form.

So I found myself on protected terrain yet far from home, awash in a storm though gathered against it. As once again I am there today, having cut all ties to my former employ, and commencing a career solely as a writer. From this day forward all roofs and morsels allotted by exchange to this being will be earned by craft.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Spider Attack

Yesterday I was ecstatic to learn that I had an unexpected day to myself. Immediately I rose, showered and gathered my things in order to enjoy a splendid day out and about. Before leaving the house I stepped into the kitchen to wrap and store a bunt cake I had nibbled on the previous evening, when I noticed a small spider web on the ceiling in the corner of the room. I took a chair from the kitchen table and, stepping from it to the counter made my way past the sink towards the web. Unfortunately my dish rack was in the way, so I had to hold on to the windowsill over the sink with my left hand as I stretched with my right towards the web. Just about when I had reached the corner I felt my balance askew, and taking a quick step I found the weight of my body forcing my large and second toe deep into the toaster. With a shout I whipped the device around, feebly trying to use the edge of the counter to dislodge my digits from the device. In this process the switch somehow became activated.

Now, in a fit of urgency, I attempted to stand precariously on one foot while leaning over to fling the toaster from the other, but as I did so the windowpane I was leaning on gave way and I had to twist in mid air to avoid thumping my jugular on the shattered edge. That jerking motion, of course, jarred the sinks faucet lever which sent water directly into the toaster’s other toast-slice receptacle. The toaster’s 500 amps jerked my body in a backwards-arching motion, sending me clear through the window and hurtling through the crisp fall air.

As I landed on the down-stairs neighbor’s patio furniture the sound frightened her cat, who became entangled in the toaster cord which had snapped off at the socket as I plummeted. The more it struggled to free itself the more it became entwined, and soon I found myself being clawed and bitten by the poor confused animal. While simultaneously extracting my mangled extremities from the patio furniture and attempting to pry Snickers from my face I noticed the neighbor stepping outside her door with a broom in one hand and the phone in the other.

The officer she summoned had very little trouble shackling me, as I had already turned face down to ward off the broom-handle blows to my midsection, and to tell you the truth I felt a rush of relief as he tossed me headfirst into the back of his squadcar. Snickers though, quite to my dismay, was hot on my heels, and the 185 pound German Police dog in the seat with me was fleet in allowing instinct to take precedence.

Handcuffed, I found my lap to be the venue for a life and death struggle between three species. Snouts, claws and teeth raged as the officer frantically attempted to open the door while the scene became invisible behind steamed windows. Before I passed into unconsciousness the car door was opened, and I noticed five other emergency vehicles attending the incident.

At the insistence of my neighbors I will be moving from my apartment shortly, but before I do so I will tell you this: As I tossed my head back to ingest my pain medication in the kitchen this morning I noticed that there are now two spider webs.