9 - Chic with Cane at the Plum Street Pub, New Brunswick

My bandmate leaned in and whispered, “You know, they are calling you ‘the hot chic with the cane’”. He was referring to the members of a Midwestern noise band on the bill we were also playing. My mouth twisted. “Oh,” I said. I thought, “Ugh!” and “Great!” simultaneously.

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One morning ten years or more ago

Meadow, May 7
Calamus and golden ragwort (beginning to bloom) are strong presences. Wild geranium is blooming also. Turtleheads and Joe Pye are up.


One morning ten years or more ago, I could have gotten a call at 8:30 AM:

"Went to the Melody Bar for Monday Pabst Blue Ribbon 50¢ night. I'm not feeling so great...I've been up all night."

or, another call:

"Hey, my car's been impounded by Lew Blum...Yeah, parked it near Tritone. Didn't see the sign, didn't see the driveway...OK, yeah, I think it's prolly in South Philly...dunno, maybe you're right, could be North...thanks, yeah, I'll wait for ya. Appreciate it."


***

I was a single fine arts major - photography, which by many standards is not a fine art, and that's wholly fine by me, possibly preferable. I was an early bird. And I was an older student returning to complete a Bachelor's degree. Because my transcript looked something like a partially finished crossword puzzle, I was looking forward to earning that piece of paper.

My roommate would roll into our dorm room at 8AM, and collapse onto her bed just as I was leaving for class or the studio. We greeted each other and her eyes closed. In a way, our schedules lined up well.

***

At closing time, I walked home from the Melody Bar's eighties dance night, passing the tall walls of the hospital buildings, underneath the enclosed walkways that connect one building to another. I shivered, cold and sweaty, nervous. I wondered each time if I should have spent some of my wages, $12.50 an hour temp work at Dow Jones, for a cab. I never met anyone on the way.

Now the Melody Bar is long gone.

***

Last weekend, we received a call at 8:30AM, "Hey, want to go for a bird walk?"

***

This weekend, 8:30AM, the phone rang, "Hi, got your message. The powerline company cut some ironwood that I can pick up?"