Saturday, January 28, 2006

A free plug

A while ago, a nice guy from friendster contacted me about "art" and now he is posting one of my photo images here. Please write him and tell him you think he has brilliant taste.

Something about Currer
My daily over-the-hill-and-back rhythm was rudely (mostly serendipitously) interrupted by a mid-morning call from Currer yesterday. He was playing hookey from Law School in order to move books from Oakland to Lodi for his godfather. At least that was the short version.

And it would be "oh so very kind" if I could lend a hand.

I hadn't seen Currer since the Fall, and it had been a good many years since I had the pleasure of his company. I cancelled my afternoon and evening appointments (argh! I am sorry!).

It wasn't until he was safely buckled into the passenger seat of my car before he spilled the particulars. He had arrived at the airport sans phone charger and drivers license, which made renting a car impossible (I walked 20 miles in the City in my Michigan Shoes! You're not supposed to walk in Michigan Shoes!). By the time I picked him up, he had, fortunately been reunited with both. His GF was in the midst of a crisis. A catastrophe of biblical proportions. The details aren't important, but suffice to say, the Fire Marshall gave him 'til Feb 1 to "clean the living room."

The fine line between bibliophilia and bibliomania

I used to think I had a problem with clutter. I have a few boxes under my window. A couple rolls of film in my closet. Some scattered teaching supplies. After seeing the GF's apartment, I realize that I am fine.

At first they weren't going to let me in. I was assigned the job of "box folder" after we took the 64 Ford Falcon to the Uhaul place to get a truck. (nothing like tooling through the 'hood in the coolest car in town). So I stood outside and dutifully folded boxes. His landlord even gave me a hand. I think he was just as anxious to give the Fire Marshall a reason to find something else to do. Eventually, Currer realized that he needed another person to help fill boxes. The modest exterior gave no indication of what lay inside. The first thing I noticed was the kitchen table, or the lack thereof. Rather, not a lack so much, as an Everest of paper bags reaching nearly to the hanging lamp. On closer inspection, I saw a tiny corner cleared off where, judging by the level of food-grime, was the eating area. Then I saw the books. Lovingly stacked from floor to ceiling in every conceivable corner. Bookcases two deep. A warren. A hobbit hole of books.

books here, books there
books and magazines everywhere,
hundreds of books, thousands of books,
millions and billions and trillions of books

(paraphrased from Wanda G'ag)

Currer arbitrarily chose a corner in the living room. We dug through hundreds of vintage paperbacks. I put them in grocery bags. The bigger, hardbound books went into boxes. It was clear that the 25 boxes we bought would not suffice. We discovered that besides never meeting a book he didn't like, GF also never met a kleenex box, or a plastic bag, or a juice carton, or a newspaper, or a catalog he didn't like either. Soon we were swimming in garbage. I started to bag it up. I nearly got caught throwing out bags (oh, I am taking these to the truck!). I lied. There was no effing way I'd let that stay in the apartment. It took us four hours to hack a path 12 inches wide from the front door to the far wall. I found a newspaper announcing the election of the elder Bush. In the process we uncovered three chairs, a stereo and a turn table. (lots of Goethe, Schiller, things with the word "kunst" in the title, German language harlequin romances, vintage Seventeens, every JCPenney catalog between 1981 and 1990, cheesy self-help books from the 80's and much much more)

I had met GF at Currer's infamous Epiphany party of 02. Attired in a frayed Regency coat and knickers, he told me he was a time traveller. He regaled me with anecdotes about Napoleon and the Sun King. I thought he was charming.

While we packed, he played DJ. We listened to a vintage recording of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing holiday favorites. It was lovely, and while they sang he told us about Pergolesi (plate of shrimp, anyone?) and how he did an arrangement of a provencal carol and how it was "so beautiful, like angels singing."

Around ten at night, I took my leave. I would have stayed for the midnight run to Lodi if I hadn't had a full day of teaching ahead of me. When I left, Currer was still loading boxes.

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