Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lucky 11-7

After a long skateboard roll back from the mall, I was sitting in my computer chair, shirtless, sweating, stanky, stenched, slime-wet, motionless in thought, and I was thinking, apropos of my shirtlessness motionless, and maybe also my mother's birthday (happy birthday, Mom!: lucky 7-11--er, 11-7), about this strange habit I had as a kid:

This won't surprise those of you who know well; and those of you who REALLY know me well (I'd put that number around 2 non-family, maybe) have probably seen me do it, an odd remnant of my younger, toothless, cow-licked self::

So I used to just lie down anywhere and think. Regardless of my own cleanliness or comfort or the ground's cleanliness or fitness for lying upon. Of course sweat was never a barrier--who knows how many cotton sheets, leather recliners, suede-back chairs, etc. I ruined around my home by collapsing onto them after a run or baseball practice under the sun or swim practice in a chlorine-water soaked towel.

Now this might be pretty normal, a disregard for hygiene--but I suppose it only gets stranger. I would lie around in my room, sorting baseball cards or playing some kind of sports or professional wrestling simulacrum with the action figures and marbles in my closet; and it wasn't at all uncommon for me to wear out my imagination and myself and, with my bed an arm's length away, to lie down on the floor and stare up at the ceiling, or maybe stare down at the carpet: not sleeping, just lying there, thinking about God knows what. Not the ceiling or the carpet or the strangeness of present horizontalness, that's for sure--

--one day a machine will be invented that can record all of your thoughts from infancy to death bed and the collegiate/post-collegiate soul searchers would-be memoirists autodetectives and the bored and the curious and the pretentious and the self-absorbed can all absorb themselves within themselves and become truly and literally self-absorbed and these mysteries of youth and these reimaginations of the past will become common like nose-picking or mowing the lawn--

Anyway I suppose I have one very specific memory that makes this truly apropos of my mother's birthday. I wonder if she remembers this (I know she will tell me if she does). I used to play Wall Ball (hours and hours and hours and hours and hours) in the garage against the stonewall or else in the driveway against the stucco with only a tennis ball and sometimes a glove but more often only a tennis ball and a wandering mind. And I can remember that when I was maybe 10 I was playing Wall Ball in the driveway because Mom's car was parked in the garage so I could not play inside. And I had gotten myself sweaty in the sun from running and imagining great leaping game-saving catches at the outfield wall (which was just behind the basketball pole and under the high prickly bushes--and so I began to wander toward the garage to get a drink inside maybe; but instead, tennis ball in hand, I laid down in the garage, my head underneath my mom's car's tailpipe, my feet sticking out in the air there and so from the kitchen door that led out to the garage all that you would have been able to see were my shins and shoes like the Wicked Witch of the East crushed by Dorothy's house.

And I must have laid there, only thinking, not sleeping only thinking oblivious to the oil splotches and gasoline haze around me (cynic among you will tally this in the "Reasons Your Mind Is the Way It Is" column) for upwards of thirty minutes and I did not even hear the kitchen door open into the garage and then I did hear from within that self-tunnel my mom called out my name "Jason?" and I replied "Yes" and she said something about how it looked like I was dead because I was lying underneath a car not moving my head under the exhaust pipe and my slack feet angled outward and I can't imagine what it must have been like for my mom to enter her garage on a hot summer day with her pocketbook and her keys in hand, to go to the bank or the post office maybe, and to see her ten-year-old son's body belly-up under her car, maybe lifeless, maybe comatose, maybe altered or damaged or mutated permanently, and horror-struck thinking--well, God knows what--and me thinking, God knows what, oblivious, only to have her son casually respond to her from underneath the twists of steel, to nonchalantly ask her what question it was he had for her, and why she would interrupt him from the solitude and innocence of a brilliant late afternoon reverie which happened to be upon further inspection underneath her minivan.

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