The Poet boards the rocket ship called LOVE. The Navigator's name is FREEDOM. The Destination is ETERNITY.
03 July 2017
Today, I'm 70, the Biblical age, as the Psalmist
says, "The days of our years are three-score and ten..." I recall Miss
Marple's remark in 'A Murder Is Announced': "We are allocated
three-score years and ten, and I shall soon be overdrawn!" (7.XI.16)
21.V.11 Saturday. As I was sipping soda water at Marlena's this evening, 4 costumed creatures passed by: three Santas and a chicken. They passed by in the opposite direction some time later. I discovered that they were partying at Suppenkueche, a block away, celebrating the 18th year of the restaurant.
20.V.11 Friday. After a veggie burger and iced tea at The Cove, the waiter brought me my change and said, "Have a great day! And don't get arrested!"
16.V.11 Monday. As I was looking at an induction cooker in Sur la Table, in the Ferry Building, a cheery, accented voice behind me said, "This too can be yours!" The voice belonged to a charming, handsome young Frenchman, who could have sold me the Brooklyn Bridge at that moment. As it was, he showed me a few pots and pans which would do well on the cooker. I promised to return at some indefinite time.
13.V.11 Friday. I was repacking my shoulder bag, which I carry almost every day. Someone said, "It looks like you're running away from home!" "I wish I could!" I replied.
12.V.11 Thursday. An acquaintance was reading another travel book of Paul Theroux. "Where are you now?" I asked. "Panama!" he replied.
6.V.11 Friday. Sun. Wind. Cool. Some cloud. One kitesurfer off Ocean Beach.
2.V.11 Monday. A sign in a bookshop: Ology.
29,IV.11 Friday. Stenciled on a sidewalk, at Baker and McAllister: We don't speak No. Near it were paintings of three koi.
28.IV.11 Thursday. A sunny, clear day. At least a dozen kitesurfers along Ocean Beach.
24.IV.11 Sunday. Stenciled on a sidewalk outside Advent church rectory: Des Perles aux Pourceaux.
23.IV.11 Saturday. I bought some books at A Different Light in the Castro. The shop will soon close.
22.IV.11 Friday. The new owners of the Bagdad Cafe are painting the chairs black. Signs appeared in the windows seeking resumes from "qualified BOH and FOH staff."
15.IV.11 Friday. In The Castro, a young man rode down a sidewalk on a bicycle whose frame was covered in fur that resembled a tiger, complete with stripes. The tiger had a head and tail as well.
11.IV.11 Monday. At a streetcar stop, a young man asked me, "How do you spell lumbar? I'm emailing my brother about his operation!" "L-u-m-b-a-r," I replied. Then to the dentist, who photographed the four crowns he installed the other day. "You'll be on a big screen soon," he said.
6.IV.11 Wednesday. From a nearby table at Max's, where I had Russian cabbage soup for supper, I heard a man say, "I threw out the hamster. It was dead!"
21.II.11 Monday.This morning, two young people came to my door, looking for deaf people to interview. I almost believed them. Their conversation with me was brief. They even tried sign language.
20.II.11 Sunday. This morning, as I was waiting for a taxi (I was late getting up, so the bus wouldn't get me to church on time) I watched three military helicopters, low in a triangle formation, flying south along Ocean Beach. To my untrained eye, they appeared to be CH-47D cargo and troop transports. Where they were coming from, and where they were going, and why, at 9 on a Sunday morning, I have no idea.
24.I.11 Monday. I observed two young men, not in drag, wearing tall women's wigs in 18th century style, the one pink, the other green.
23.I.11 Sunday. This morning I observed a young couple walking their dog, who, in place of his hind legs, had a pair of wheels strapped to him, where his legs would have been. The dog was trotting along happily, evidently relaxed and accustomed to his situation.
16.IX.09 Wednesday. Awakened by a nightmare. K said that I was shouting and waving my arms.
14.IX.09 Monday. Finished reading Adrian House's Francis ofAssisi, a Revolutionary Life.
10.IX.09 Thursday. A visit to Stockholm Mosque, a new experience. Men sleeping here and there, others reading, a few praying.
5.I.09 Monday. I visited a bookshop, soon to close permanently, where I bought Edward Rosen's translation of Copernicus's On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres ($12.25), some titles by Anne Lamott, a book by Pope Benedict about Jesus (I decided to overlook the Pope's queerfear), and Orthodoxy by Chesterton. All titles were offered at very low prices. The shopgirls did not appear to be happy about their prospects.
22.XII.Tuesday. My manager pointed out an office in a building opposite, in which office there was a baby grand piano, in addition to all the usual office furnishings.
14.XII.08 Sunday. Advent 3/Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. While I was dressing, I looked out a window at the storm, to see a funnel cloud snaking its way across the sea, about a half-mile offshore. For a moment the funnel hovered above the water, and then retreated into the clouds. The whole event lasted a minute or so.
5.XI.08 Wednesday. After work, I passed two young people outside the office, who were wearing Guy Fawkes masks. The young woman also wore very long purple hair. I learned subsequently that people intent on harassing and disrupting the "church" of Scientology, wear these masks during their actions. The pair were a short distance away from a Scientology building at the time.
To the bookshop. P gave me gifts of 4 cd's: music of John Cage, Samuel Barber, Virgil Thomson, and a sampler disk of Harmonia Mundi releases.
4.XI.08 Tuesday. The Big Day in the USA. Millions have projected happy fantasies of a great future onto Barack Obama. I await developments with interest.
3.XI.08 Monday. All Souls. High Mass of Requiem. I last went to an All Souls requiem 25 years ago, probably. I contributed my RIP list, which had some 30 names on it. I added two, and it occurred to me after Mass that I could have added a few more. Next year.
Dinner with Fr R and MS. Discussion of Anglican writers whom I have not read since I was young. I resolved to reread Gregory Dix and Charles Williams, among others.
2.XI.08 Sunday. Liturgy at my Orthodox parish. JB has finally received an episcopal blessing to teach at a seminary in Africa. Now he can set about fundraising.
To a used cd shop with PK. He bought a number of classical disks. I bought a few as well: music of Taverner and the like.
22.X.08 Wednesday. According to a note from his landlord posted on the shop door, Dimitri, the clarinet-playing barber, has suffered a stroke. It is unknown when, or whether, Dimitri will return to his shop.
15.X.08 Wednesday. A tall young man walked briskly along the street, blowing a conch shell. A strong, penetrating sound, not unpleasant. I had never heard a conch before, other than in fantasy video of Pacific island life. The young man walked up and down the sidewalks, and crossed the street a few times.
20.VII.08 Sunday. Holy Prophet Elijah, at my Orthodox parish. Young I has returned from his European travels and his pilgrimage across "deep Spain" (his phrase) to Santiago da Compostela. He has many stories and observations, and interesting remarks on the varieties of Spanish (actually different languages). I was disappointed to hear that the shrine does not hand out silver clamshells any more to pilgrims who have completed the walk. Rather, the shrine issues certificates. Evidently, there are so many pilgrims that the clamshells have become impractical, and, I surmise, too costly.
16.VII.08 Friday. On the bus this afternoon, on my way to meet MM for lunch, I listened to an older lady, plainly a tourist, chatting with the driver. As she and her (grand?)son were alighting, she said, "Nice to talk to you! See you in Heaven!"
7.VII.08 Monday. A visit to the bookstore. P gave me an article to read: Verlyn Flieger's Naming the Unnameable: The Neoplatonic "One" in Tolkien's Silmarillion. A quick read: 5 1/2 pages. "Clearly, this is a Sign," I said. "I must read Silmarillion again. I need a new creation myth!" P pointed to a a pile of books at our feet, atop which there happened to be a copy of the book! Definitely a Sign! And only $3!
5.VII.08 Saturday. Latin mass. Dinner with Fr R et al.. We talked mostly about death and funerals. I have no idea why.
4.VII.08 Friday. At my parish, a lunch for street people. We served hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, beans, watermelon. About 150 showed up. A small crowd, I was told, because it is the beginning of the month, not the end, when street people are out of money.
10.VI.08 Tuesday. A visit to the bookstore. A Finnish girl interviewed P and S, and listened to a few of my remarks, about the bookstore and its habitues. S described us as "lumpenproletariat," a word I have read many times but never actually heard anyone say. The Finn, who is writing for a travel magazine, took photographs.
P gave me a book from V's library: Eric Christiansen's TheNorthern Crusades.
9.VI.08 Monday. Dinner with JB. He continues to look for teaching positions, mostly in Africa.
8.VI.08 Sunday of the Holy Fathers at my Orthodox parish. Young Fr J spoke to me after Liturgy rather firmly in support of same-sex marriage ("the decent thing to do," he said). I was surprised to hear this, since I imagine Orthodox clergy always having to repeat the official teaching. But young people are progressive in their thinking about this subject.
18.V.08 Sunday of the Paralytic at the Orthodox Cathedral. Bishop B, whom I was not expecting to see, was there, and Fr J, whom I was expecting to see, was not there. Fr D preached incoherently but vigorously. It was good to see full pontifical liturgy at the cathedral, including Deacon B, since Bishop T was rarely in his cathedral, and there was rarely a deacon there either in his time.
17.V.08 Saturday. A lanky young man, long-haired with a moustache and thin beard, walked toward the beach, carrying a quiver of arrows fletched in very bright colors. I did not see a bow.
Latin Mass. Fr R told me, again, that he doesn't "buy" Margaret Barker's hypothesis that Jesus thought (or, at least, the earliest Christians thought) of himself as the Melchizedek High Priest come to restore the First Temple. Fr S described his work ministering in a County hospital. He has been present at about 600 deaths. And I've arrived at age 61 with almost no personal exposure to death at all, other than hearing or reading about it, and seeing corpses at a few funerals.
15.V.08 Thursday. Unusually hot. I took the day off work.
30.IV.08 Wednesday. A gift from P: a cd titled The Glory ofVenice, containing works by a number of 16th century composers: Willaert, Gabrieli, et al..
27.IV.08 Orthodox Pascha. I joined a celebration at the home of the choir director of my Orthodox parish. I was expected to read aloud Francis Thompson's poem The Hound of Heaven, which I have done at these events before. I read it to applause and admiration. The convoluted syntax and archaic vocabulary are challenging. It will take me years to learn to read the poem properly.
7.IV.08 Monday. A gift from P: a MDCCCCI edition of HomeriOpera et Reliquiae. The Praefatio is dated MDCCCXCVI.
28.III.08 Friday. Today saw a young man riding a Segway, which he had shielded front and sides such that it looked like a chariot. A horseless chariot!
23.III.08 Easter Sunday in the western church. It surprised me that few there knew enough to say "Christ is risen!" or the response "He is risen indeed!" Some barely managed to squeeze out "Happy Easter!"
16.III.08. Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, at my Orthodox parish. The drake chased the duck around the very small church pond, caught up with her, and mated.
Young I is going on pilgrimage this summer, from Paris to Santiago de Compostela. On foot, with a French classmate. I told him that I believe that bicyclists are accepted as legitimate pilgrims as well, so that he will be able to receive the silver (?) clamshell at his destination, if he chooses to ride rather than walk.
15.III.08 Saturday. Latin High Mass. I was surprised to see Q. I never imagined that so esoteric a rite would interest him. I've seen him only a few times since he broke up with VS.
9.III.08 Sunday. Liturgy in a western church, something I haven't done on a Sunday in 15 years at least. I felt at home, altho I have only one slight acquaintance there.
I met P afterwards at a cafe. He startled me by avowing belief in the latest conspiracy delusion: that the American government organized the attacks on the WTC buildings in 2001. I often think that Americans are seriously disturbed, damaged in mind. The current shakiness of the financial system is only aggravating this condition.
1.III.08 Saturday. Into the cafe walked a scraggly man, carrying a cockatoo on his right shoulder. The bird screeched and squawked, and displayed wonderful red and orange feathers beneath a layer of white.
25.II.08 Monday. A walk to the train with young JY. We traded stories of losses and robberies that we've suffered and threatening situations in which we've found ourselves.
Later in the evening, while I was standing at a bus stop, a young man, sitting on a skateboard, rolled down a hill, passed the stop, and continued along the road at considerable speed. In darkness, with no lights. I was horrified, admiring, and envious.
21.II.08 Thursday. As I went on my lunchtime walk, a man older than I, pushing himself along on a scooter (a shiny, expensive one), passed me on the sidewalk. His expression: remote, aloof, indifferent. A defense, I suppose, against the stares he likely receives. One of the few times I've seen anyone not a child or a teenager on a scooter. I've been telling myself for years to get one.
7.II.08 Thursday. Chinese New Year. Weaving among the office towers, groups of Asians banging drums and cymbals and igniting bunches of firecrackers. Perhaps they succeeded, this time, in driving out the demons.
6.II.08 Ash Wednesday. There was one young woman on a bus, with a smudge of ash on her forehead.
3.II.08 Sunday. After Liturgy (at my Orthodox parish church), young DS, whom I haven't seen in church for years, threw his arms around me and said, ¨Good to see you again, brother!¨ This splendid young man has found a career and a wife, and was happy and healthy. He knew where he belonged. He knew that he was home.
1.II.08 Friday. A temp joined the company payroll today. An upper manager welcomed her, saying "You've come over to the Dark Side! Congratulations!"
31.I.08 Thursday. I bought a few things at a hardware store. A cinema in the neighborhood has been repainted, to appear as it did in the 1970s. Someone was filming a movie. There were period artifacts in shop windows, period shop signs, even period posters and handbills and period autos along one side of the street.
16.I.08. Wednesday. I'm at home with a nasty chest cold and/or bronchitis. On television I watched a scene from DieZauberflöte, performed (if that is the word) by marionettes, followed by another scene from a Puccini opera, in animation.
9.I.08. Wednesday. Another action-packed day at the office: two long, dull classes, morning and late afternoon. During the first class, someone passed out and left the office in an ambulance.