Saturday, January 28, 2006

Chapter 10 - The Descent of Man

Of ape, of man, of mape I write. The asphalt hot at the Swap Shop today, and glittering, rubbish, plastic, glass, brass, steel and every kind of junk food available for the last 30 or so years. A flea market can be a terrible thing. Or it can be salvation. Or it can be just a day to get some work done and that we did. J got three more necklaces finished. Beautiful things made with hand formed links of chain from copper and aluminum wire, wrapped big stones and lush tiny dangling stones and crystals and pearls. Mouth watering stuff that the shlubs stared at and knew not of it what to make. A few of them picked some stuff up and tossed it back down on the table when they realized it wasn't something that could be haggled over for a buck.

There was a pretty Puerto Rican woman to our right today who looked just like a Native woman I lived with in Northwest Territories Canada 9 years ago. At first when she walked up my mouth dropped open but I quickly realized it wasn't her, hair too light, bigger and taller. She was curious to see what we were doing with our stuff displayed on upright bricks instead of the normal neckshaped black jewelry displays. When she realized we make it ourselves she grew animated and searched for the words to tell us how she used to do the same thing. She picked up a pair of my round nose pliers and demonstrated.

She was very excited and then grew a little sad and wistful when the knowledge did not come right back. "I used to do everything with the wire. But I was so young. I was only 19 and I did everything, earrings, necklace, bracelets...Now I am 40."

"So what. We're 40 too. You should do it again."

She agreed, tentatively and headed back to her van where she and a man had been unloading used power tools. I could not help but look at her and wonder at how much she looked like the woman in Northwest Territories and my heart panged a little at the doomed relationship. I was so desperately broke and could only work under the table jobs for a few weeks at a time since I did not have a work visa. Still it was a memorable time getting to know her family, extended family and further extended family that are the Dene Indians. A comic/romantic image arises of me carrying a hind quarter of caribou over my shoulder, frozen solid in the 30 below, fur and hoof still attached, up the road from her mother and father's little house to our little house in Yellowknife. Food for a week.

The Puerto Rican woman also had the same fiery demeanor as the woman in Yellowknife and I heard her spitgun syllables at a big Haitian man who wanted to haggle. "The price is what I told you! No bargaining! Put it down and quit wasting my time!"

The man's haggling pride seemed a little wounded and he stood there another minute with the hedge trimmer in his hand, unsure what to do, before he put it down and moved on.

Across from us was a blonde, toughpretty redneck woman that J said she admired for her fuck it all attitude, until she kept saying the same thing over and over again with an irritating sing song: "One dollar! Only a dollar!" And her music, tuned loudly to a country station (KISS or something) was repugnant. It was actually intesting to listen to the rancid lyricism coming out of Nashville now and we both agreed that the country music industry only pumps out propaganda music. Or else the dullest, hamfisted, rhymey soppy shit imaginable. Of course that is only one side of the loaded coin and there is fantastic country being written out there (Robbie Fulks comes to mind) that nobody hears.

It is late and we need to line up at the Swap Shop by 4:00 am to get a decent place tomorrow, supposedly the best day of the week. The dogs need running and we need sleep.

Managed to pull about thirty dollars out of today's show. Someone bought a decorated spoon and a black man bought a ring and some earrings for his love. Said he admired people who made things themselves. Talked a little with him. A roofer, now with his own company, hard won, and he showed me the scars on his shoulders from carrying shingles up the ladder.

Last night I stood under the stars, while walking Hank, in a big field next to our Sams and felt an unshakable affinity with eternity, my blood surged and mind quieted so that I could actually feel eternity. I think that's what it was, at any rate it felt good to be alive and I wished I could feel that way all the time. It wasn't manic or anything, it was just a very together feeling of joy, like nothing really mattered, not even death, it felt like I was communicating with a cosmic something that was made of the same stuff as me. But not some lazy persons definition of god. That makes things too easy. Kind of like what happened with the vendor we were next to the day before. A youngish latin guy, south American somewhere. Another middle aged Latin guy came up and they were trading opinions on movies, since they were both selling a few used DVD's. The younger guy was asked what he thought of a certain movie and he said he didn't think much of it that it was just some more shit that hypnotizes people adding, "You know, they make thousands of movies in Hollywood but only a few are any good." I smiled. The other man was taken aback and he probed for a fraternal vein saying, "But the Passion of Christ. Now that was a good movie!" The younger man was silent. "Didn't you think so?" "Maybe", said the other. The older went on, "It was not sugarcoated like other movies about Jesus. They showed him getting lashed. They showed the number of stripes. Just like in the bible. It was true!" The younger: "Maybe." Older: "Don't you believe in what happened to him? He gave up his life for us. For the world. For us sinners man." Younger: "No. He gave up his life for justice." Older: "No no no no, my friend."(Now he was sweating and laughing nervously) He gave up his life so that we could have eternal life. You know what? I'll tell you something my friend. I am a worm before the love of Jesus. I feel just like a worm."

The conversation pretty much dead ended there as if would have with anyone who realized who they were dealing with.

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