Friday, March 19, 2010

Drugs and Cherry Blossoms

I can’t get over the amount of paperwork piled up here on my desk. Bills, statements, receipts, tax forms, lists, notes, reminders, a census form... and now that I’m out of shelf space, stacks of books. When I type, my left elbow rubs against the nearest stack. And almost all of this has accumulated in the last two weeks.

Granted, of necessity, I’m responsible for two family accounts other than my own. My mother’s has its complications. I should really have a separate desk for hers alone. Come to think of it, this is her desk, and the drawers and typewriter well are already stuffed with documents and memorabilia. (Grr... I just made another note, to correct a misspelling in the original website entry of yesterday’s post. I can’t believe I missed it. And it’s been there for years.)

Am I disorganized? No. Lazy? Well, there’s some evidence, at least, to the contrary. What happens is this: I take care of everything, get it all paid, sorted, filed, and put away, and then I go out to the mailbox and bring in another load. Occasionally, a dump truck arrives with more. Men in hardhats. Women in business attire. Bitter children. Dogs, cats, slugs — all delivering paperwork. Just imagine what would happen if I were disorganized.

Of course, I could simplify. But I’ve simplified so many times over the years that about the only thing left I have to throw overboard is writing. True, an argument can be made that writing is where my trouble really begins. If I didn’t write, I wouldn’t have a website, blog, or Facebook page to maintain. If I didn’t write, I wouldn’t have letters to answer and comments to respond to. If I didn’t write, I would have time to do all the other things I don’t have time to do, but that I do anyway. In short, if I didn’t write, and if I didn’t communicate with others, I would be miserable. I would be consumed by efficiency from the inside out — which reminds me, although I don’t quite see a connection at the moment:

The other day, after I left the hospital emergency room, I saw one of our old neighbors — a boy in his early twenties now, who fell in with the wrong crowd while he was still in junior high school. As I drove away, he was walking slowly toward me on the sidewalk with a vacant stare, obviously fried on drugs. He was going nowhere — indeed, I doubt he knew where he was. When our eyes met, I saw in his a brief glimmer of helpless recognition. As I left him behind, framed in my mirror beside a cherry tree in blossom, I wondered how long I would remember what I was seeing, and what part the image would play, if any, in the days and weeks to come.

Well — I see the connection now. And will you just look at the time.

Recently Linked: My thanks to John Legaspi, for signing on as a follower of Recently Banned Literature.

In the Forum: great endings in a minute or less.


Momo Luna said...

yes dear William, i can relate to this; if i didn't write...... If i didn't draw or paint...
Good luck with the paper work!
So sad about the neighbor boy, i hope he'll get out of it. That's one of my fears for my boys.

About the time: you were up very early ór you were very late. :-)

Sweet greetz!

Conrad DiDiodato said...


if you didn't write you wouldn't have drawn this tragic portrait of drug addiction. A poor lost soul might have gone through the rest of his days thinking no one had cared enough to look.

Noxalio said...

ah William,

entropy and the tenancy of all things to fracture and turn to
dust. paperwork are fragments
of fractured trees, no?

for you, writing is what keeps
it at bay. by doing so you put
pieces back together again. the
boy you write about seems to be
on the verge of loosing the
battle (drugs often allow us to
give up on this endeavor). as
Conrad says, maybe by you
noticing and writing about this
poor soul you have altered his
path. you never know.

thank you, as always, for sharing
your thoughts.


Momo Luna said...

Had to read it again, it's so heartfelt (from experience also)

I always LOOK at the homeless people in my town. It saddens me that most people pass them by as if they aren't human.

About time again: i now see what you mean (also by reading the comments above) That sometimes happens as english isn't your mothertongue. :-s

William Michaelian said...

Momo Luna, no matter what, I love the twists and turns of language. Even in our so-called mother tongue, the simplest things are open to countless interpretations. As for the time, I’m always up early, but I wrote this piece yesterday. After it was done, I attacked the paperwork with a pitchfork, and then a fire hose. At about that time, a native runner arrived. Gasping for breath, he handed me an envelope. Inside was a message: “more mail on the way.”

Conrad and Noxy, I agree: it’s possible. The twists and turns in life are like those in language. And I must say, you are both adept at putting the fragments together — something for which I’m most grateful.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

dear William, what impresed me at all (more) in this post, is at the end and exately this:

""I saw in his a brief glimmer of helpless recognition""

in this word you have sayd so much William about life

I'm realy thank you for this post because I have had a great feeling with this guy; I don't know why but I recognise this "helpless recognition"
there are a lot of ways to scream

RUDHI - Chance said...

If I had stayed as a carpenter instead of painting, I would have no money-lack... You need a secretary help, don't you? Giggling...

vazambam said...

Being a man of few words, I am left speechless by this entry and wondering "How does he get a way with it?" But knowing William, I doubt even he knows!

William Michaelian said...

Laura, I love the way you put that, and it’s so true: there are a lot of ways to scream. And people often scream without knowing it. As Momo Luna said, we have to look and listen.

Rudhi, that’s a good idea! I’ll hire a secretary. And when payday comes, I’ll be “out of the office.”

Vassilis, I think a question even more to the point would be: “Why isn’t he locked up?”

Joseph Hutchison said...

I'm so glad you posted this if only to provide the link to your earlier hospital visit post, which somehow I missed in my own disorderly rush of days. Wonderful!

William Michaelian said...

Ah, the tangled web I weave.... Thanks, Joe!