A sort of life

You had me at EHLO

RICHMOND, Va. — The first time I fell in love with Wanda Sykes was in a basement exposed to the sniper’s nest of a city called Perth. I sat, laid really, in front of a rerun of Premium Blend. Below me the lights of Perth and the wind howling through the patio pergola. I was lonely, alone, and overlooking a city that kept me captive for three years. It was a city that I grew to appreciate, but in those early months–before Perth and I were formally introduced–Wanda was there for me.

Six plus years later I sit on my leather couch listening to Mark Turner’s self-titled Warner Bros. debut and seeking the reason I bought it in the first place. There was something stand up about it, I remember, but now it escapes me. While I investigate, how about I tell you about my week.

All week–in stops and starts, I don’t want to oversell my contribution here–I’ve been cleaning the flat in celebration of the new year. Yes, it is true that the new year began a month ago. It is so. But I am an epic procrastinator. The new year began a month ago and I’ve been feeling a fair bit of enthusiasm about life these days. Enthusiasm does not square with action on a one to one level. It seems the fire, the enthusiasm, that desire burning inside does little other than to drive me to pop antacids like candy corn. At first, anyway. It takes a while to wind the choke, to get things going so to speak. And finally, finally, I’ve begun.

So this week I’ve been cleaning the flat. I’ve been in Richmond for about a year and a half or so, and to be completely honest with you, I’ve never really unpacked. Never really got things situated. Sure, there are no boxes. There are piles of things that used to be in the boxes. Those piles were moved from place to place to place, never finding a home. On top of that, there’s the accumulations of the last year and a half. Think dirty dishes. I found wine glasses left unwashed from when I had a lady house guest stay the weekend back in October. October 2006, that is. I know, I know. Sick. Yes, there is no defense. Then there’s the bottle of unfinished wine in the refrigerator from the time I had a lady house guest stay the weekend in October 2007. That sits next to the carton of milk left unfinished from my Christmas cookie eating spree. You get the idea.

And so all this week I’ve been cleaning. And yet the carton of milk, the wine and the wine glasses remain unattended. Here is a list of what I have done:

  • Move the dishes piled in the sink to neat stacks on my single counter top.

And that’s it.

No, no I kid. I’ve actually done more than that. Here’s the unabridged list:

  • Move the dishes piled in the sink to neat stacks on my single counter top. I know what you’re thinking, but at least they’re in neat piles.
  • Moved the assorted baseball equipment piled in the middle of my kitchen floor to a pseudo-crawl space. Here or there, I haven’t used the stuff in years.
  • Stowed and restocked the cat box.
  • Swept, vacuumed and mopped the kitchen floor. When was the last time you mopped something?
  • Decided to throw away all the empty jars I was saving for painting containers. The more I do in preparation of painting, the less painting I actually do. So out they went.
  • Removed four bags of trash.

And that’s it. For real this time. My kitchen is probably 40 percent done. I still need to wash my dishes and clean out my stove and refrigerator. I still need to tidy the three other rooms of my house. The office, bedroom and library respectively. They all need tending to. They all will come in good time.

I’m no odds maker, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this house making project wasn’t completed until late February. It’s a leap year, this year, isn’t it?

And having now finished the Mark Turner album, I can’t remember why I bought it. It might have been a mistake, as in, I might have had another album in mind at the time. It’s not bad. It’s the kind of thing I like. I just can’t remember why I bought it. Can’t knock this solid tenor sax man.

And, as an aside, after recently waxing nostalgic about my guitar days, I’ve had a strong desire to pick up a trumpet. I don’t know what you want to do with that tid bit, but there it is.

Wanda Sykes. What a voice. What a voice. She’s one of those women I could fall in love with having never seen first. The whine of Wanda Sykes is music to my ears. “Why can’t I find a woman like that?” I don’t know why I brought her up, and I question the validity of using her as a segue to talking about by pigged out bachelor flat. But it is what it is.

“You had me at EHLO” is from Volume One: Frank’s Wild Years (1983–2009). Written between 2003 and 2009, Volume One was this author’s attempt to find meaning from life as a young twenty-something. While this endeavor would ultimately fail, what remains is a comical tale of loneliness and debauchery.

When I let go of what I am I become what I might be

When I let go of what I am I become what I might be

A mess of hand written pages and bulk mail scattered on the floor of the Floyd Avenue apartment in Richmond, Va. on Sept. 22, 2006.

I was lonely, alone, and overlooking a city that kept me captive for three years.