by tobias crabtree
A line of reasoning. This usually amounts to a bunch of your own opinions all crammed together in order to make sense of something. I’ve used it and had mixed results. Usually my line of reasoning has some kind of something in it that betrays me, sometimes it sends me flailing off like a fool with my arms waving over my head, whatever cool I might have collected scattered to the winds. So I’m careful with my line of reasoning. Often, it stays in one of the half empty cupboards in my head. I might share it with ya now and then, but I try to put it out there with a disclaimer — same as if I’m cooking a dish for the first time and I think it might suck.
Of course, a line of reasoning might be referring to something a tad more literal, maybe it’s what you call them wrinkles on your face from reasoning too much. Wrinkles. Lines of reasoning. If that’s the case, I got a solid collection going, although I’ll admit they ain’t all from reasoning. I’ve managed to put a few up from any assortment of my emotions. I could name them off, but why waste your time with that shit? You know. Well, if you’re human you know, and if you’re not human, I’m actually quite surprised you’re reading this. Hell, I’m surprised if anyone’s reading this. If you’re a whale and you’re reading this, I have something to say, I’m sorry for messing with your ocean. also: Thank you for being so amazing. Tell your babies to be careful and that I hope I meet them. I mean I doubt a whale would be reading this, but I like to be sure about that kind of thing. But if you’re an extra-terrestrial and you’re reading this, I have something for you too, I’m sorry that we don’t believe in you, well, not all of us, I do. I just don’t say so all that often because people stop listening whenever I say I believe in bigger things. Things way out beyond what we see and have listed in our science books and our religious books, like the mysterious stuff. Like you. But don’t judge us too harshly, we have our moments. We really can love things we’ve never seen; like people we’ve never met or forests that need to be protected or stars who’s light hasn’t reached earth yet or the tiny butterflies on some little chain of islands or even beings from far away who maybe travel at the speed of thought! We can do a lot of things with love, it’s just that we’re easy to distract. But if you want a human to study, I’m your huckleberry. I’m relatively healthy and I’ve been wanting to practice traveling by thought…sooo, just come get me I guess. And be gentle with the probes, although that might be something I just picked up from the movies, maybe you don’t need to do that at all. Chances are that this writing won’t be read by that broad of an audience, it’s not like I’m giving Melville a run for his money here.
Supposedly there’s a kind of coherence to good writing, which is where I bounce off the proverbial road and into the literary ditch. The only thing cohesive about my stories and essays is that they all do come from between my ears, after that I have trouble explaining how any of this is gonna line up. It’s a bit like controlling a spill — sometimes it looks like something, (you know, like you’ll see Abe Lincoln’s face in the spilt milk) and sometimes it’s just a mess.
A few days ago I stumbled across my birthday. I neither love nor hate my birthday, I guess that means I’m ambivalent towards it. ( That’s my $4.00 word of the day, and I use a word like that to show that I’m getting a little smarter each year. not a lot smarter, just a little ). So I had my little birthday, just like you did not that long ago, right? Because the last birthday is never more than a year ago. Yeah, I had it and it went like i like them to: I stayed alive. I tried something new by jumping into a river at the exact moment I was born, 7:44 a.m. I played a guitar poorly, but with a lot of passion…but by myself so I felt like it sounded cooler than it probably was. I road my bike and ate a chocolate croissant. I laughed with Jason Arbetter about imaginary scenarios in which we did the things that we sometimes want to do but we don’t because we’re not that mean (especially Jason, who’s not only not mean, but may be the nicest person alive). I drew a couple drawings in my picture book. I had a drink at a bar, and then another drink, and then wished I hadn’t had the second. I rode my bike to Safeway on the way home and stopped for coffee supplies. It was 11:30 p.m. and I was closing out my day. I saw some old timer in a wheel chair out by the entrance to the parking lot. I’ve seen him before, the ground around him always has remnants of smokes and drinks and food. He’s hard put, my guess is that he won’t last much longer but who knows? It was the last few minutes of the day that I was born. The day I got to start being here on this planet, in this world of feeling and color and smells and coffee and songs and babies and pretty girls. The day that my Mama supported my head and held me tight while my Dad looked at me like I was the coolest thing ever. The day that somehow has become a day when we might expect things but really should be a day of unrelenting gratitude for having breaths and heartbeats and loves and dreams and, yes, even losses. So I walked over to Mark, his name is Mark because he told me so, and I asked him if he wanted something to eat. Mark was slouched heavily and his beard was piled on his chest. I heard him say, Yeah. What do you want?
Whatever they got.
It’s a grocery store, Mark.
So I bought him a roasted chicken, nice and hot. And a can of Modelo against my better judgement. And a bottle of water to offset the beer. And a Milkyway candy bar for desert.
Mark barely moved as I put his meal in front of him on the curb. God bless, he said. And I rode back to my Toyota Dolphin. This was my day on that day in the long line of days since my very first day and it was a good one. When I look at it in the past, it makes less sense. It’s just a bunch of things crammed together that only belonged to me as I lived in them, then they were gone. This is life, at least as far as I know.
I follow a fairly swervy line.