There was can in the gutter of the alley behind my house and I sympathized with it deeply. Sarah Mclachlan howling mournfully while weatherworn dogs drift across the screen in slow motion type of sympathy. I get you, boo. I feel you. You were empty and you were crumpled and it’s cold and it’s only getting colder and goddammit you’re still worth something to somebody if they would just pick you up and do something with you. It’s that time of the year, though.
The sun’s on that off kilter rotation, throwing light only so briefly over the Pacific Northwest and it is a dark cold world into which we run full tilt, swinging. Last week, Krishan and I woke up in the dark, drove under cloudy skies to a rainy street and threw a nasty hip tackle on a guy with an inadequate number of teeth in front of headlights and horns honking. When we drove home, it was dark again.
This last month my wife and I have boarded 6 different airplanes, up and back and up and back and up and back. Step forward, hold up your hands- this flight is %100 full so please stow your-the fasten seat belt sign has been illuminated-flight attendants please cross check for arrival- your shits on baggage carousel- 6-fucking-times. Streaking across a burnt grey sky with rain smeared across our little porthole window like teardrops and a fight that we snapped off cleanly at the car stuck in our throats like a cough.
The sink won’t drain. The car is falling apart. The world is unraveling.
And if you’re stretched out and heaving, you can always count on the army to drop a problem on your gut, as is evidenced by my old National Guard unit calling me a couple of weeks ago and telling me that they had royally fucked up my paperwork and accidentally extended my contract for 6 years. They needed me to make a 3 hour drive down to Portland on a work day so they could square everything away and keep me off their AWOL roster.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks is what I’m saying.
But even a crumpled can has had some lips mushed up against it. It’s top popped and guzzled from. There were some highlights to all the holiday madness. You don’t turn a dude who’s carrying a bag of stolen vodka and candy into a human pinata, and not go get a killer bowl of soup afterwards.
You don’t go cannon-balling into San Jose, California and refrain from smashing some Taiwanese Hot Pot into your damn face, even if you are jet lagged and bedraggled.
Santa Barbara has some bomb-ass tacos
And Frank’s Noodle House in Portland is just a big bowl of hand made reparations.
In the days following this season, with 2016 drawing to a close (burn you bitch, burn), I feel for you, crumpled can in my alley.
That’s why I scooped you up, and I put you in my recycle bin, to be mooshed down and melted out and, from the pressure and fire, become a piece of something wonderful. A bicycle or a building facade, or maybe just a brand new can. I will feel for you then, too, in my little home office with my fingers poised at the keys, mooshed by the pressure of deadlines and born again in the fires of fresh hot food, rebuilding into something better.