Nov 15, 2005

'Call it pure being'

Somebody’s getting more chairs from the porch and I’m unloading the seven piles of books and the stack of legal pads and the lamp and the notes and they’re all on the floor by the bed, by the wall. We move the table out from under the window and we draw. Low tile. And we draw, seven black-printed square wood tiles on the little stand and we look at the blank board. Saying nothing. Focusing. Concentrating.

I can’t hear anything but the clatter of tiles and the senseless mental recycling of sounds.

Two weeks ago, or so, I started playing scrabble. So far as I can remember I had never played before – for no reason but chance, I suppose, it wasn’t a game we played in my house. Then I saw it sitting on the self of the coffee house and art venue where some of us go to hide and drink coffee and listen to music and do homework. Just saw it there and said what about scrabble? and we played a couple of games.

We’ve got like one month left and we’re saying the house is under crazy watch, watching for the signs, watching for the bugged eyes, the glazed eyes, for erratic behavior and the rage that wells up at the impossibility of it all. We’re watching for the laughing fits and the sentences losing syntax, for the manic rants and soul sinking depressions and the unexplainable fixations.

Anagram scrabble fixation and you get a rabbinic fest lox, or a ban blots if xeric. Anagram Hillsdale and you get all shield.

It’s sort of futile watch but we watch anyway. You can’t do much, but we watch, we watch and we say it’s gonna be okay and go to sleep and mostly we just try to be there. To cover for a friend. To be there when he busts loose and when you need to, to talk him down. To tranq him.

The other q without u words are the Arabic ones: qat, qaid, suq, qanat, qintar, qivuit, and faqir.

I left a party Friday night, bored, distracted, depressed by nothing and going slipping crazy. Went back to my room and played some music and stared and red and white stripes of the flag on my wall and then decided. Then I let go, let myself go over the line and found scrabble online. When I woke up the next morning my first thought was scrabble. All of my friends ended up at the all-night place eating pancakes and normally I would’ve been with them bumming money for a bottomless cup of coffee but I was sitting in a quiet room losing a game by 200 points. Losing by 200 points and wrapped in the consuming concentration, watching the tiles come apart and rearrange, watching them connect and disconnect and reconnect and feeling the cleansing wash of concentration where everything else is gone but the sounds without senses cycling though my head.

Update: A picture of Naomi, Tony, Jack and I playing last night in the middle of the night during a black out.

This afternoon I played someone who said he was from MA and used to be an accountant but is now on permanent disability for brain cancer. He beat me by a dozen points. It's so addicting, he told me.