augury doggerel

Tuesday, January 29, 2002


Last night at the pub, where I like to sit and read and write alone, a friendly guy attached himself to me. The sort who needs to talk. The sort who cannot be alone with his thoughts.

I know about the argument with his wife the previous night, and that he needed to buy a rose for her last night before he went home. I know he teaches swimming, and to prove it he showed me the contents of his gym bag -- towel, trunks, etc. I know that he swims every day but Sunday. I know he loves teaching kids. I know that he is 43 and that he finished trade school in 1979. I have it on good authority that his brother, who once had an audience with the pope, during which the pope told his brother to return to his country because his country needed him, nonetheless continued to play the flute in an orchestra in Boston and then in Philadelphia and now in San Francisco. He asked and forgot my (for him) exotic name so many times that I wrote it in large block letters on a scrap of paper to which he referred at least ten times. When an acquaintance of mine came in, I passed my attachment off to him, but the acquaintance managed to steer him back to me. When I left, the guy was attached to some unknown person at a corner table.

I couldn't sleep last night. The wind is blowing warm weather in from the Low Countries. The walls and windows strained. The wind rattled one latch open and banged a window in on its hinges at four, which is when I got up and began to read. I spoke to the cat, but only briefly, and she knows nothing of my brother.


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