Saturday, August 13, 2005

A couple weeks ago, we were sent notice that at 10pm on the night of Friday, August 12th, electricity would be out for the entire neighbourhood for up to ten hours. It was in anticipation of this that I finished the new Boschen and Nesuko chapter on Thursday night--or, Friday morning at around 5am or so, to be precise-ish (this detail shall be important later in the story, friends).

I honestly didn't think I was gonna make it. Thursday was, after all, Thursday, meaning for most of the day I had to be out of the house and therefore couldn't use said daylight hours to get going on the final two pages of twenty-six. It also meant that I got only three and a half hours of sleep for Wednesday night.

I tried to sleep a couple hours after returning here in the afternoon, but, despite two cats hanging about, demonstrating how it's done, I couldn't pull the sleep trick. The invested sum of fatigue therefore transferred itself into the Headache Deposit, which became active at around midnight Thursday, with sluggish interest. I was ready to give up and somehow cram it all into the few electricitied hours of Friday, but . . . somehow . . . slowly . . . putting one line . . . at a time . . . the gradual process seemed to continue itself without my bidding. And a cup of tea helped me along--the first time I'd ever put milk in tea, and it was pretty good.

So I woke at 5pm on Friday, feeling outrageously groggy. I replied to some e-mails and a post on Caitlin's LJ before heading off to the mall for coffee, to try to start feeling like I didn't need to do anything in particular. I knew I was going to need to be in a serious time-killing mindset.

My plan was this--Do what I'd normally do, on days where I'm not working on Boschen and Nesuko or something else; go to Tim's and hang out until 1am or so. After that, if the power wasn't back on, I vaguely planned on reading at Denny's or going on one of my unwisely long night walks. Trouble is, I only do the latter when I have a lot of hard thinking to do and my life seems generally bleak. But I've been feeling pretty good for a long time, now, so I was likely just to be bored by such a venture.

Anyway, I called Tim from the mall parking garage . . . to discover this one night, of all nights, he couldn't have me over.

So what the fuck was I supposed to do from 10pm to 8am on a Friday night? And if you are, as you probably are, more of a people-person than me, you're probably not qualified to give me a valid answer.

Well, first I thought I'd see a movie. On Thursday, when I was forced out and about, I went to see Jim Jarmusch's new movie, Broken Flowers. And it is, by the way, the best movie I've seen so far this year. There's deserved praise for Bill Murray's ability to convey impressive volumes of emotion with little facial twitches. The story of a man searching for a son he may or may not have sounds mundane enough, but what made me absolutely in love with this movie was just the absolute brilliant pacing--which, well, wasn't necessarily brilliant, except it made me think of how I've been inundated with typical-movie, dumbed down narrative. It was nice to see a movie that didn't feel like it needed to hit obligatory plot points, didn't need to tell me something once, then yell it through a bullhorn. There's a quality about this movie where you feel information is being got as naturally as you get it interacting with the waking world, and yet, you know these are all elements of a story the filmmakers are deliberately threading together.

So the story ends up being a man whose life of pleasure and romance has come to a sort of grinding halt as he has a sort of epiphany of knowledge-absence. The film is a sort of rumination on the absence of easy-plot points, actually. It's funny and sweet and sad, but always canny, always fluffless, if you will.

Anyway. So on Friday, I felt I was in a good movie-place, and thought I could pick another as satisfying . . . turned out nothing sounded particularly interesting. There were movies, like The Great Raid which sounded like they might be decent, but I just wasn't in the mood for. Finally, I noticed that Revenge of the Sith was still playing at Horton Plaza, and having been meaning to see it at least once more before it left theatres, I went to the 10:10pm showing.

Horton Plaza is something like in the dead centre of downtown and I drove all the way up to the top of the parking structure. I went up a little ramp that terminated in a short wall, and there was no ceiling. So when I got out of the car, I felt sort of like Batman, surrounded by night amongst the twinkling upper portions of skyscrapers.

The cinema is at the top level, and the theatre Star Wars was playing in was on the second floor of the cinema. Which was huge--an enormous stairway, as tall as this two story house I'm sitting in now, and almost as wide, lit by purple neon, flanked by escalators. At the top, a little plaza of closed concession stands with park benches and potted trees. I was a half hour early for the movie so I sat there reading Gulliver's Travels.

I purchased, in the downstairs concession area, for four dollars, the most obnoxious small Coke I'd ever had in my life. I guess, sensitive to criticism of overpriced food, the cinema had decided to make the "small" so only in height, but its width now need rival that height. It was like drinking from a baseball mitt.

The Soda Jerk (is he yet so named?) tried to mumble out a commercial whilst filling the beverage, but I abruptly interrupted to request that my Coke have no ice. He numbly dumped it out to refill it again.

It was not that I felt I could actually drink so much Coke as I find lately I'm driven murderously mad by the sound of ice clinkling around in a paper cup.

Revenge of the Sith was still a wonderful movie, and nice for the almost empty theatre which meant people couldn't make impatient sounds during the film's lesser moments. And so I discovered I actually don't mind those lesser moments as much now. I even sort of like them.

After the movie, I decided to go to a Denny's I'd never been to before, and so went to Point Loma, an area I often found myself in late at night when I lived in Ocean Beach. But I'd never been inside the Denny's.

The people there were strangely nice to me and even asked if I wanted my own seat, away from the other customers. Sometimes I wonder if my black fedora makes me seem like I might be one of those anonymous restaurant critics.

By the time I got out of the Denny's, it was around 2am, and I decided to see if the power had come back in my neighbourhood. I drove back to Santee, and drove around . . . And the power wasn't back. Everything was eerily pitch dark, and there was a crane in one intersection lit by blinding floodlights.

So I drove to a Longs Drugs I knew was open 24 hours. I wandered about there until the noise of the floor cleaner started to annoy me. I then went to Save-On and found they had a DVD section--all DVDs for 1.99. Most of them were crap you'd expect, but I carefully perused them, trying to take as much time as possible, and found Buster Keaton's College, and a collection of old Superman cartoons. When I left, it was around 3:30am. So I decided to simply drive awhile.

I drove north on the 15, then took 78 west, and came back down 5 south. It took about two hours. I listened to Tom Waits' Real Gone and Ani DiFranco's Little Plastic Castle.

It seemed it took forever for 5am to finally happen, but when it did, I was immediately in a Starbucks, and I stayed reading Gulliver's Travels until sunrise.

When I returned home, the power was still out.

I went to sleep, and awoke at around 9am to discover it was rather hot and the strange silence in the air was making the littlest noises like the vicious stabs of toy soldier bayonets at my temple.

The power came back on briefly at 10am, but in about an hour, there was, as I discovered later, a fire somewhere and power went out again. I didn't get any proper sleep until it finally came on for good at around 1pm.

I feel like having fun to-night.

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