...or how to be invisible
when the bastard left college, and mind you he left college by the skin of his teeth (there are days whe i look back and think that cynthia carlson left me off the hook in senior project so she didn't have to see me ever again), he left a great karmic debt that he felt the need to pay back after he found work. and in that time i've changed appearrance. put on weight. lose weight. grow your hair out. cut it off. dye it red. start dressing like you have a god dam purpose. buy another pair of dock martens. Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. anyway, the bastard became invisible one day on his way to paying back karma.
QUICK SIDEBAR: i donated time to pay back karma. i have had many discussions with the elf about my beef with the collegiate system. who's the elf? well the elf was my best man. the guy i learned how to play darts from. we were in business together. and now the elf maintains macs at the old alma mater while the bastard makes guns look pretty on paper. anyway, my beef with college was that you went there for 4-5 years and it spit you out with no better clue on how to find work than when you arrived. so because i slagged off my last year of college and a man who knew i was a lazy sack of crap who was one of the principles of a large graphic design firm went to bat for me anyway. i felt guilty for years. i came back and donated time. long story short, i don't know a who helluvalot about karma but, i don't feel guilty anymore.
anyway, i became invisible one day while doing my time. i saw a guy on campus who i was friends with 2 years earlier and he looked right through me. i felt releived because i didn't want to talk to him. college was a time and a place that when you go back to it, you don't necessarilly want to revisit all of the details. what the hell are you going to talk about anyway? back in the days when you used to not shut the hell up about marshall crenshaw and huey lewis? guys probably a god damned millionaire by now. not being seen struck me as a new and wonderful thing to be. i will become invisible.
so i'm at the park with the boy this weekend, dressed in my trench coated finery and i'm thinking about something i said to art school about going to the playground. you see, i own 2 macintosh style trench coats. one black. one tan. that's what i wear. anyway, i remarked to art school that i must look less like the boy's father so much as i look like his bodyguard. i think i'll have to start wearing a sweater or something. i don't look all that cuddly at the park.
so, there are these regulars that i see at the park. i find that the singlemost weirdest thing about single fatherhood is places that other single dad's go to. we all go to the park or to something like it. we all as men are uncomfortable being around one another and we all act in a weird standoffish "how ya doin" kind of vibe. these regulars all put their kids into the playground and then walk 20 yards away to grab a can of beer from whoever is on break and then come back and "parent" or whatever it is we do there. anyway, one of the regulars kids was playing with the boy and stuck out his hand.
"i didn't catch you name last time. i've seen you around, i'm carhart."
"bastard. how ya doin". there you go. the fix is in now.
and we chatted a bit about junk as our kids played on the handball court. i know this man. he was in my second grade class. i didn't tell him that. i didn't want to. i wanted to be invisible. i also thought about my first or second edit meeting at killing stuff monthly and how ms. cin growing weary of some tangent i was going on cut in and told me bring it home now. you know, because i talk too much. i felt bad for a sec not sharing that bit. play a little catch up for the last 30 years but, being invisible is a luxury i get to have. and as quickly as we met, we parted ways and next week, i'll see carhart at the park with his cute daughter an dhis buddy deep booming voice and his 20 kids and we'll chat about junk and i'll become less transparent. oh well, can't be a ghost forever. besides, things are going to change. I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm going to be just like you: the job, the family, the fucking big television, the washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electrical tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisurewear, luggage, three-piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing the gutters, getting by, looking ahead, to the day you die. god, i loved trainspotting.