Random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff

Monday, September 01, 2003

Busy Beads
So the kids would have something to do while I hounded them Baskervillainously, we went to BeadArt in Harvard Square to stock up on beads and wire against the coming of nuclear winter. Having anxiously called ahead to certify it was open for business (our proximal bead store in Newton slumbers Sundays), I felt like a thoroughgoing fool when we arrived. Honey, were they ever open for business! We could barely push a path through the mosh pit of beady-eyed shoppers slam-exercising their fine-motor-control skills. An unusually robust 10% or so seemed to be authentic male beaders (we're talking four, maybe). BeadArt's few chairs were, of course, draped with the usual complement of kind, patient, nonparticipating men, soft eyes focused pleasantly off in the middle distance, a few ruminating wistfully over the precise tone and phrasing they'd soon employ to deprecate off-handedly their female companion's fluent gratitude for enduring such boredom; a few others clamping down with hidden sphincterish stoicism on their dolor at realizing neither Fenway's arms nor ESPN's would be caressing them that afternoon; and the remaining breathless majority musing, silent as stout Cortez or Nick's Dutch sailors, on the unique character, the stirring phantasm, the varied texture, and the dark individuating smell of every single one of the dozens of pussies all slipping by within inches, sometimes mere centimeters, of them—and of each other—in such a small space . . . .

All Boston is jammed today, une grande confitûre de traffique; the return of the irrepressible, in full pursuit of the indelible, unleashed upon us for another academic year.

Hearing Problem
Having forged an unfortunate but irrevocable association with the name of this store, BeadArt, I can no longer hear the surname Bidart correctly pronounced in the porches of my mind's ear. If you haven't, btw, picked up Frank Bidart's (you know what I'm hearing) new edition of Lowell, you might keep it in mind. It's totally fabulous.

A Frank Confession
So. Speaking of BeadArt: once upon a time, when a friend and I, both at that time congenially nodding colleagues of Frank Bidart's, along with our respective partners gorged conspicuously past the boundaries of polite crapulence at Rialto in Cambridge, we observed Frank off behind some fronds in the distant velour dining with a slim, very kind-, alert-, wise-appearing woman, intermittantly crinkly in the corners of her eyes, a real grown-up (not like us associate grownups), but maybe slightly younger than he. We all tried to guess who this very cool and mysterious date could be. We assumed it wasn't a romantic partner. And it wasn't like he needed to entertain clients or anything. That they had long been comfortably close was evident in their relaxed postures, their casually tossed-off silences, the way each reached across the table and stroked the other's space to make a point. Waddling unsteadily doorward, we four teletubbies could do little decorous to avoid their vicinity. As soon as he saw us coming, Frank leaped up enthusiastically, as though spontaneously moved to give a standing ovation, and alerted his commensalist emphatically of her good fortune to be here at this very amiable moment. "You must meet my friends!" he gushed. Unfortunately, since but two of us could with semantic stretching be fitted under that rubric, his introducing us all required that Kate and I antecedently introduce our partners to him, which we did not-too-awkardly, so he in turn could relay the introduction on to the warm, indulgent woman, who had heard it just fine. Then beaming back and forth between us he adopted the mien (and I really don't know how to characterize this palpable presence of deeply personal history, pride, intimacy, possession, being possessed, long yesterdays, and illimitable tomorrows that we all can signal and recognize) of someone introducing a storied childhood friend, a sibling, a grown child just visiting for the holidays. "I want you all to meet my friend Louise Glück."

"How do you do."
"Nice to meet you."
"How are you.

Drunk, taken by surprise, unable to think of the right thing to say under the circumstances, indeed of anything at all to say, we all nodded politely and vaguely to her as if to Aunt Mildred. What in god's name were we thinking? Not one of us let slip the slightest indication that the name "Louise Glück" struck even the tiniest bell up in the farthest corner of the highest attic.

Slew to Frank. "So, uh, Frank, how'd you like the meal? Good. What'd you have? Excellent. Great restaurant. What'd we have? What did we have? I know you had the Bratwurst and Chilean Sea Bass Fajitas wrapped in Jody's Squid-Ink Tortillas, because that's what I meant to order but didn't . . . . " This took a while to sort out, but eventually, the group pulled together beautifully and gave—sometimes chorally, sometimes antiphonally, sometimes in the style of Charles Ives—a servicable account of the cocktails, appetizers, salads, entrees, wines, other wines, and after-dinner drinks, along with our evaluations, not necessarily always heavily contested, of each.

And the whole time we on our team acted no differently from the way we would have if the future poet laureate had been just some random distant relative poor Frank was stuck showing around town while she was visiting.

But for crying out loud, what do you say? I like your stuff? That Triumph of Achilles is really something! God, I wish I could write as well as you do? Would you be willing to look at a couple of short poems of mine? I really loved the stuff you were writing ten years ago! Could I possibly get you to sign my copy of The Wild Iris? There's very little you could say that wouldn't sound gushy, insipid, revealingly ignorant, boastful, condescending, or old. BUT NOT SAYING ANYTHING IS INFINITELY WORSE! Because you know very well who she is, she knows you know, she knows you don't know what to say to her, you know she knows these things, she knows you know she knows these things AND STILL EVERYONE IS PRETENDING THAT LOUISE GLUCK IS FRANK BEAD-ART'S AUNT MILDRED!

OK, so here's the perfect coda for this epitome of my loozerhood (my ex always insisted that in my case it be spelled with at least one "z," which seems to me to entail its being spelled with at least two, no make that four, "o"s, else you get "lozerhood," which looks really stupid, though admittedly it does seem kinda the appropriate way for a loozer to spell it). So here I am looking on the web to find the URL for the store BeadArt so I can make a hyperlink to the name. Guess what I discovered? On Earth they in fact call it not BeadArt but BEADWORKS!!!!

So here am I utterly incapable of preventing the sound "BeadArt" from leaping up and leaving copious spittle all over Frank Bidart's hapless name every time it's obliged to come to my door on some errand, AND THERE ISN'T EVEN A STORE OF THAT NAME IN ALL THE OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE.

Is there a chance one of these stores used to be called BeadArt? Please?

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