Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Introducing the Best of Blogstar Man

Hello-I'm still trying to get the basic mechanics of blogging down. I admit that I'm from another era. For much of my life, there was no internet. In fact, for much of my life, I'd written on an old mechanical typewriter. I'd just written this long introduction that somehow disappeared when I pushed the wrong button. I could be connected with this pot that I'd picked up yesterday from the neighborhood dealer, R.,who has a little ganja shop set up in on the ground floor of his duplex. It's a family business. I lucked out yesterday, since R.s wife was at the scales, and she is not quite as vigilant when it comes to measuring out a gram, and always errs on the side of the customer… particularly when the customer is trying to lay on the charm, and keep up with the local gossip and chit chat...Since, I'd sworn off the stuff while I was stuck in a cast for six weeks, knowing that the pot habit was a contributing factor to my sorry physical state to begin with...and, that I needed a lot of concentration while hopping around on one foot....so, as anyone whose stopped drinking or smoking for a while knows...well, particularly smoking, since I find the brain speeding up, but that part of the brain, the automatic pilot part, (that has learned to push buttons, and type, and press a gas pedal when the light turns green and a hundred other automaton movements concerned with machines)..anyhow, this post-industrial Pavlovian part of the mind malfunctions. I'd gotten out of practice,(vis a vis functioning stoned) So, I push the wrong button. I delete instead of save. Goodbye thoughts.
I would like to confess that when I called it the Best of Blogstar Man was being facetious...I have tendencies toward hyperbole. I blame it on the week I spent in an ad agency back when I was twenty. I was being offered a chance to be paid handsomely for facetiousness anchored to the bedrock of hyperbole, while adrift in the fog of obfuscation. Unfortunately, or fortunately I can't tell in hindsight, I couldn't really handle being in a windowless office in a Back Bay Boston highrise...having grown up in a small village on the coast, and having never really been beyond the second floor, and then only to sleep and brush my teeth, bathe, and caca. I spent most of my days outdoors, when I wasn't locked into the local school.

Back again, after two or three weeks of semi-frantic damage control, mostly relating to all my bad habits catching up...the broken leg is getting better, according to Ms. Cacciatore, the physiotherapist at the local hospital. However I had another medical emergency, after I'd gone shopping at Bala’s, the greengrocer, over on Park Avenue. I'd been ravenously hungry while shopping, after losing track of the time. It had been one of those balmy days that Montrealers have to enjoy to the max, what with the prospect of seven months of winter a mere icy blast from Hudson's Bay away. I'd sat down at this place nearby, Navarhino's, a local Greek pastry and coffee joint. You can get an espresso for a buck fifty, and there are decent chairs on the sidewalk, and what with the bum leg, I thought I'd take a breather.
I'd bought these sesame crackers out of one of the bins at Bala's store. I'd known Bala since the days when he used to work for Harji, after landing in Montreal from Sri Lanka. He'd had bought the place when Harji decided to retire. Now, it seemed that those sesame crackers had been there when Harji owned the place. And he retired about five years ago, and was last heard to be bicycling around Africa with his wife.
Anyhow, I was sitting there at on the terrasse, as it's called here, and had pulled out this old dog-eared copy of “The Idiot” by Dostoyevsky, from my backpack. I'd started reading it when I was chair-bound with a hard cast back in July. And it's quite a melodrama. High melodrama. If I'd thought that some of my more histrionic marginal friends would have fit easily into “the Possessed”...well, those Russians are something else. Moreover, I happen to be an epileptic, like Prince Myshkin. And of course, there is this play on the word "idiot", since up until recently epilepsy was considered a form of idiocy. In fact, back in the twenties, in times much like ours today, what with the plutocrats running the show, Eugenics was quite the rage among the progressive elements. About ten years before the Third Reich was to give Social Darwinism a black eye, so to speak, sterilization laws were passed in both the U.S. and Canada. And, at the head of the list were, “idiots, epileptics, and morons.”
Dostoyevsky can be quite intense. And, for me, well, I know that one thing that helps bring on seizures are all these intense, emotionally draining scenes...and I'd almost break into a sweat wondering when the poor Prince was going to go fall into a grand mal and start frothing at the mouth and mashing his teeth. Ironically, I was sitting exactly across the street from the place where I had my first seizure, about five years ago. Up until then, I was just a petit mal sort of guy. I'd have these brief blackouts from time to time, dizzy spells on occasion, mostly occasioned by having spent the first few years of my life in a cottage by a bay, which was at the end of a long, tree-lined dirt road. I'd see maybe one or two cars a week.
Now Park Avenue is one of those four-lane inner city expressways built over a trolley line that had been ripped out in the fifties when GM started buying and junking urban trolleys to make room for their buses. As I was saying, I'm sitting at the cafe on Park Avenue and am absorbed in this scene with Rozoghin and the Prince which is going to culminate in the former, after exchanging crosses and becoming a "blood brother" with the Prince, trying to stab the poor bloke with a dagger in a darkened hallway of a building. Of course, I'm grossly simplifying thirty odd pages of description-detail, the weather, buildings and people, and this almost gothic sense of impending doom...fevered thoughts, the allegory of the children in the Swiss village where he'd stayed, long discourses on the interpretation of the Apocalypse, Soloviev's History...(we're not talking the Sopranos here)...And there are all these other elements involved-possession-desire, hate mixed with love-everything to an extreme(jusqu'au bout, as they'd say in Quebec)late nineteenth century soap opera characters, since they never have to work much, and are waiting for rich uncles to die, or trying to marry a general's daughter for a good dowry-this constant tension between greed and honor-nihilsts, aristocrats, old believers...the theme of the "idiot" being pure of heart...and being loved, hated, derided and praised because of it...and that is one of the reasons Rozoghin wants to kill him. And Dostoyevsky, being a bit of a ham himself, sets up Prince Myshkin to be saved by his epileptic fit. Meanwhile, I realize suddenly, that I've been chewing on these rock hard sesame crackers that had been sitting in the bin at Bala's grocery store since Harji sold him that place and took off for a round Africa bike trip. I checked out the harder objects in my mouth and to my chagrin discovered that some crowns that had fallen out. Three to be precise. Bottom row, front right.
So, I've been involved with the considerable hassle of trying to get this gaping hole in my mouth filled in. But that saga will have to wait for later, since this little introduction threatens to become longer than the few little vignettes that I had posted in the original Blogstar Man...which happened to have been around the time that I'd had my first seizure across the street from where I’ve just lost three crowns while reading “The Idiot.”

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