"Where to?" she said eagerly.
The words just leaped up off of the page and made me pay attention. The speaker was French midwife who had just buried her child and was trying her best to drink and dance away the grisly understanding of what that meant.
I was lying in bed at 7:45 in the morning when I reached down a picked up Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer from the piled up library on the carpet by my bed. I don't know why I often like to start and end my days with Henry Miller; I think it has something to do with the fact that I trust him to tell me the truth.
Reading him in the morning is like having breakfast with a friend, but instead of talking with words that have little or no meaning, Miller tells me straight up that many such table conversations are like two asses spewing turds out on the table, turds that hang suspended in the air for the perusal of the listener who must then decide whether to ignore it, secretly seeth at having to take time from his/her own life to examine it, or raise the ante with an even larger, smellier contribution of their own.
Miller tells me that no matter what comes out of our mouths when we talk, the essence of what we are really thinking lies hidden somewhere behind the words we utter, with the movements of our eyes, facial muscles, and the gestures of our hands either offering clues or helping to disguise it.
Miller never indulges in polite conversation, he exposes our dark thoughts better than any other writer, and many people don't like him because of it. If he was still alive, he would be equally hated by the haters on both sides of the street.
People who can detect the fart stench on your breath and describe the thought process that went into its creation, are usually hated like that. I hate to admit it, but most people really don't want to know if their breath mints work or not, preferring to exist in the illusion that they do.
Anyway, the question of the French woman struck a chord as I awoke to another day of hiding from virus that seeks to put and end to my earthly existence. When I think about what it all means, I come up with thoughts like the Angel of Death has been talking to an efficiency expert who advised Death to come up with better ways of recruiting for the cause. "How about we come up with a virus that only kills old people and then convince others that's an acceptable proposition?"
"How do we do that? A lot of the people I deal with cling to their parents and grandparents like newly minted money?" Death asks.
"We make them inconvenient?"
"Oh. You mean like getting them to see the wisdom of bypassing the Old Folks Home experience?"
"Now you're getting it. Really, it's more like speeding up the process a bit. First of all, we'll get some people to argue about if the virus that comes out of China actually comes from China. We'll keep playing that game till some of them old people get so sick of it they start coming out of hiding and start licking door handles and drive-thru speakers."
Death then raises up his hood enough to where the efficiency expert can see two lifeless eyes, "I see where this is going, and I like it. I like it a lot."
I know that sounds crazy, but it shows how strange thoughts get when the organ grinder, the one who calls the tune, starts snorting lots of meth, and begins to frantically twist on the handle in a futile attempt to attune to the vibrations of the universe while knowing well that his organ wasn't made for that and was never capable of doing that from the start, and failing to notice that his monkey's feet are being shredded and bloodied by the effort to keep up the dance.
I am far too old to dance to the tune being played, so I hide out instead. If the virus comes to get me, it will have to first get by the horseshoe over my door, the garlic in the foyer ( I didn't have a bunch, so I poured some garlic salt on the tiled floor), the cross hanging on the wall, and the small palm-sized picture of Jesus that sits on the small table beside the speak no evil statue of Buddha.
If it still wants to rumble after bypassing all those obstacles I've placed in its path, I'm seriously screwed. I mean, I have been taking lots of vitamins C and D3 if that helps. But all I got left besides that, is a memory foam pillow and a warm, fuzzy quilt a friend made for me.
My faux leather couch will be my last refuge. I pull the quilt up so high that only my eyes are visible peeking out and seeking comfort in the last of the binged watched episodes of Loudermilk hoping that the lively banter of the Ron Livingston and Will Sasso characters will mingle with the mumbling of the fragments of the Lord's Prayer that I still know.
So, when, a French woman speaking from a banned 60s era novel about lost souls stumbling through the bar lined streets of Paris asks me, "Where to?", I tend to listen.
And I respond, "Anywhere but here, mon chere. Anywhere but here."