Monday, April 18, 2016

北京麻雀 - New York - 1

New York

On the trail of Katrina

He had just purchased a program which would make music, as well as writing for what would be known as a “blog”. He had tried to make something like this, and start a community, along time ago. But the time was not the right one, though he did not know what circumstances would be correct. He was also in chinos, rather than the blue business suit of yester year. He had, shall we say, adapted to his new circumstance. From making a pile of money in telecommunications – and working for the government – to doing what he liked. And right now that was politics and music – intertwined between the two. It would not be what he would imagine it to be – and frankly, there was a very marginal chance that it would work. But there was the blog, working with people who he would not have imagined even if a few weeks ago.

Of course, by this time, the election for President of the United States had happened, and it turned out that the people who wanted to go to war were still – just barely – in charge. Though it had been very tight affair, it was still done. Even though people knew that he was not going to be a consoler or conciliator president. Those things were but dreams. Dreams that the people in charge were telling themselves, even though they were not true. Which is why a community of discourse had risen up – both for the war and against it – on the space known as the Internet.

He drummed his fingers on the light brown table as he managed to add a view more notes, and thought about the person he had left behind in Shanghai. He also thought about the people he had met since he decided to go in to this space – especially one who was talking about the Internet as the new space of discourse. All of these things were in his head as he tapped away at the notes. Each one of them was vying for attention, from the very large picture down to the small.

In his mind, he imagined, a purely focused vision, of the time when she was bidding him adieu. It was of course in the great white all of Pudong airport, that place in Shanghai which is very different from the city it is attached to. One thinks of Pudong, and the clearing color of white consumes one. But in the city of Shanghai, there are colors from outside of the rainbow. Colors that even physicists cannot describe them. In Pudong, everything is neatly wrapped except for the occasional peasants who are there to pick up people from beyond the sea. The sea, which turns in to an ocean. Which many people have stood and stared at, before resuming their chores – or other misbegotten tales of woe. For a long time, people did not look at the sea and form a retrospective look into a future, but instead saw it as the ending of the world. A place where everything stopped. As he now did with the face of the one who had gotten away. Or at least, that was his perspective. Most of the time.

In this vision, he caught several glances which were snapshotted. As if his vision were more a picture then a video. He saw the crest of her neck. He saw her bending over, to take away her things – that she had put beside her so that she could kiss him. And he did not know what to make of that object that was a kiss. Osculation is such an ungainly phrase, yet it was the only word which came to him. Every other word was a euphemism, or meant something very specific – and quite wrong. And it was not the look, but rather the feel of the thing which stock in his memory.

Then from out of the chimera, and into the existent – he was stopped by a man, older then he. He looked over the man, who was of ordinary high – but extremely wiry, too the point of excess. He was a man who wore dungarees and a blue striped shirt as his ordinary attire – he had at least a half dozen of the same Oxford light blue and white – and he did not seem to mind it at all. Their were thin and light frames on his glasses, but it almost looked like he did not have glasses at all. One might well have noticed that even though he wore the common uniform of a worker – it was all to need and crisp to be just an average worker, instead it was obvious that he was to supervise, and at a very high level. He was man who worked with his hands, but powered them with a keen intelligence. That meant that the wrinkles along his eyelids took on a merry glint – and almost mirthless grin. As the master was starved urchin in his appetite for games.

The gentleman – for their was a difference between man and gentlemen – began: “To have a moment? I would like to talk about something, but I do not want to interrupt you if you are doing something important.” He had the look that called to mind the aggressive black 69, which has been described as a diabolical stroke.

“I am always doing something important, so now is as good a time as any to interrupt me.” He replied nonchalantly, as if a lot of people – perhaps most – would simply have interrupted him with out this intellectual clearing of the throat , or the metaphor of slamming down a piece. They have come to far, with to much at stake, and that moment does not even need a 14 year old boy, to think “This time, maybe this time.” With all this much to lose, and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the Golden Dome of Washington itself.

“As you know – or perhaps you do not – my involvement in this little venture was not for either you, or any of the people who attend you. I was doing this strictly for the radio host, who I have consider respect for.” This was even more clearing of the throat – he already knew this from the beginning. Or other he knew that what he was doing had to pay for itself, while the radio host would not be under that constriction. Thus he would have to make money – because he wanted many of the writers to take lift and fly. In his bank account, there was a good deal of money to sustain himself – and this was a crucial moment in doing things differently, but other people would not have this luxury. It would not come again any time soon. Possibly he was tired, it was that a customer was watching in the next room, . Not like his arms or stretch his back, though he moved in that odd way. Perhaps he was thinking of a grilled cheese – cheddar not American – which he would consume for his naked lunch.

There was no question, that his time here was short – but then he had not thought that he would be in such a place at such a time. But oddities are strange creatures – both he and his new partner were in difficulties, and both needed the other. It also helped that they had things in common, such as a predilection for Emerson, and the deep thinking of his mind. There were circles in side circles in that mind that came before anyone knew that they were important. For example, the meaning of electricity in the middle of the 19th century – and the possibilities that that had spun out. It was surprising to both figures, one who was old – and yet not old, being given to a step that could only be described as “spry”, an old expression, which partakes of him completely – and one who is young and vibrant in his vindictive style. But, yes, he was vindictive, tearing apart all manner of things that should be left to older men. Hence the obsession with blogging of a president, in the only time where young at heart people would be allowed to do this. Afterwards, it would be a game of the rich, or famous, or those who stood in for them. So this moment was one to snatch since ever afterwards the poor could play the game while the rich would take time to figure it out. Who had wanted of course to leave their mark which would have abrogated, and made void, the whole sum of what part, which had to be a anonymous, or it would not have value.

That was why his elder companion took a recorder, with a Digital flash memory system, he gave him the types of editing which until recently he would have to have someone else do for him. And now it was completely within his own hands. That is why two weeks ago the older man had called, almost from out of nowhere. And begin a conversation which ended up with him in the living room, dealing with the ephemera of running a web server, which had both audio and text. This was at a time where such things were new, back in the stillness of an age. He knew, of course, that there time together was brief – but that made it glorious in its own way. To the on the cutting edge of the Internet age as it blossomed from the hobby to being the way that people consumed news, and no one thought the wiser of it. This was a step that would pass so quickly, into being one of the passé things that people assumed would be there. Of course there would be flashcards and ways to put your self on to the Internet – people thought it would be absurd to pay for it, since everyone wanted. But there was a brief period where you did pay for it, because only a very few people wanted to have Internet, and it was a boxing affair anyway. People used laptops just to get on the Internet. Strange but true. And only a few people would carry around cell phones which had the capacity in any event. These were the days that people who wanted on to the Internet, actually paid for it, as strange as that may have seemed in only a few years of digital time. This was a time where people did not even know what it would do for them, even shows set in the great beyond of science fiction, would not have concept of being able to talk continuously.

Alone he said, thinking on many subjects: the weather in the Gulf of Mexico, the impending primary race was over and we somehow had to survive a second Bush presidency, the score of his seventh straight quartet – which was related to Katrina, because he saw it coming, and various odd issues with the mis-governing of the nation, and the life of a currency system based on gold – which had a life beyond all reason. It was Turing that had pointed out why: those who had did not want to risk it again. But you had to, because the economy kept going. Which was something that engineers did not like to admit. They wanted it to stay put, and therefore they could hoard. Like a dragon in their games.

The blog had changed some notoriety, but not as much as he would have liked. If this failed – and it seems like it would – he would have to go back what he used to be doing. Only he promised not to get involved with the extreme aspects of it. After all, there were a great many things that one could do with a computer system, without violating law. But violating the law had its attractions – and he would be the first to admit. He often dreamed about the furtive meetings with his superior, trying to land certain defects which would be crucial for their project. But again stared into the face of that quandary – that the little would be aggressively known and used, while the big was not care about. That is why you this business, even though it was not well paid – it might be, an he would have to take a chance on it, because he knew that this was the one chance he was given.

The one and only chance he would be given, unless the music became popular. Which is to say, no chance at all. He dreamed of having it become popular, but that was an illusion; and, what is more, he knew it to be an illusion. Even while he thought this he typed in a few notes, because even though it was an illusion – he wanted to know how this movement came out anyway. If only he had done rock, he tried so in his youth – but he did not come out very well, though some chords and patterns remained in his brain. Still, he was swimming in the mold of classical music – though most of the time, most people would not understand what he was getting it. But then, that is usually the problem – what people can understand is not very good, and what people cannot understand, the instrumentalists cannot play. It usually took at least 10 years or so for the players to get what is being said on the page. At that moment he typed a slur over a few notes, knowing that what it really meant would be a mystery. As the sign of a sign the a good relational database had a key.

He began to type, as if he were remembering the way Shelby Foote did.

On the Train to New York City

Hour upon hour, while he backed his things and said goodbye to his mother, and then on the car right to the train station, and finally when he got on the bus; through all of these times he wondered what he was going to say when he got back to his apartment dwelling. He wondered what he was going to say to – the word even crept up in to his lips – her. And for the first time it was obvious which her he was talking about. Whether it was a ray upon the sunlit face, or a greeting of the back shadow, or one of a number of aspects that he alone knew the curves and folds of her body. All of this was a mélange of his memory, gaining aspect as a breccia of the delight – a flavor of bitter cinnamon.

But even in this quandary, he did not know what to say – because he never thought that this meeting would ever happen. 

There would never again be a breath where he held her in his mind, and looked at her in reality. This would not do, and for a number of years afterwards – there was no chance at all of this meeting happening. But it had gathered force, when 12 days ago, is cell phone greeted Him with a cell phone number which he did not recognize, but from its number was from China. 

The digits suggested it was a mobile line, which meant it could be anywhere, as opposed to a hard line where it is place would be in the next few digits. Either this was some company calling him for a sales pitch – or it would be her, and at that point that possibility was discounted until he opened up the phone and heard her voice. Not clearly because it was an ordinary cell phone, but nonetheless the tone and richness was there. It was like Hemingway, in Farewell, when he was speak with the girl – rather than than taking the elevator, they took the stairs – and as a reader, he heard it as a whisper. Dense with empty, as if angels medieval swirled all around, and then turned out to be her.

 It was her, and only her.