A thousand pardons, for I’ve been a lousy blogger.
I hope to adjust that in the coming weeks. Graduation is May 12. After that everything will change.
More to come on that later. But first,
So, the other night I’m at this party in Boulder for a friend of mine’s twenty-third birthday. Inside, he’s playing the drums behind his band in his basement and there is standing room only, backing up into the stairs. It’s the first time I’ve seen his band play and they’re into their second set now. Upstairs are college kids playing beer pong and digging at the ice in the sink for cans of PBR, and out back kids are smoking pot and talking about 420 from the day before and I wonder about the truth of stereotypes.
I don’t know anyone at this party aside from my friend, now wiping sweat from his brow, backlit by blacklights, before starting the next song. Another friend of mine texts me to see if I am still in town, of which I say yes and he says good, because he has something for me and can I text him the address.
I finish my beer (a can of Fat Tire, a beer that’s generally nice, but from a can tastes like, well, a beer from a can, and I take the last few swallows quickly because I’m tired of it already). I set the can on the porch and walk to my car, where I pull out a jacket and lean on the hood and wait for my friend to show up.
Outside it’s nearing eleven (inside, it could be any time. inside, time is not marked by clocks and phones but by tiredness and sensitivity to noise and level of drunkenness and for them it’s still early, for me it’s been creeping into the early morning hours for the last few years now).
Outside, there is a cat under a car across the street and I psst at it and am surprised when the cat trots toward me before hesitating after a few feet. I am not an animal person nor a cat person and I make no effort to sit and stroke the animal, but we watch each other for some time and I enjoy our connection, we two strangers in the night, and then the cat hustles off down the sidewalk before returning and doing the same on the other side, ignoring me but keeping me near.
I’d speak but don’t know what I’d say.
I think of David McKean’s book, Cages, which I’d started to read one quiet morning at my friend’s house after working on a film project the night before. The book was checked out from the library by his roommate and plays a subtle but moving role in the background of a number of shots, should anyone care to look. The book begins with a series of creationist stories and a connection between cats and gods and then, in the first chapter, we follow a cat as he visits lonely strangers in an apartment complex, first a man playing a pipe. With the cat follows the suggestion of godlike knowledge or visitation and I remember this as I watch the cat sit down on the sidewalk and disappear into shadow.
My friend drives past, finds a place to park, then jogs to the door of the house where inside the party burbles and I shout his name twice before he wanders toward me.
What are you doing out here? He asks and I tell him I’m waiting for him and he says, Oh.
Then he hands me Cages and thanks me for my help on a project he’s been working tirelessly upon
and I say, for me? You didn’t need to do this man, flipping the book back and forth in my hands first, trying to understand that this isn’t the same library copy that he’s taken it upon himself to loan me.
Sure I did. Thank you for you help, he says.
And I study the cover and flip through the first pages and see the black and blue sketches of the black cat and beside me the cat runs under the car and I say thanks.