rain not apricots

Because procrastination should never feel fruitless

Castles Made of Sand

The drip castle we made before lunch.

The hermit crabs we didn’t buy… or touch.

The rack of Walk-a-Pets ® no one cared about.

A Longport Bathing Beauty

Please don’t TOUCH the hermit crabs!

Over my dad’s couch. Literally.

Perfectly arranged pairs waiting to board.

Vacant shells for sale. Ocean City Boardwalk.

The Atlantic ocean was as dreamy as it’s ever been.
For once that can be said without a drop of hyperbole.
The ride down sucked bumper-to-bumper ass,
but the ride home was almost a pleasure
(as rides home on the GS Parkway go)
courtesy of the lightning storm and
blinding downpour from Central Casting.
Everything in between the driving was a delight.
Except for the things that weren’t, and no one’s talking
about those things now so they don’t count. Sometimes
you can’t help but enjoy the rain-soaked shimmer
of brake lights winding ahead
for as far
as the
eye
can
s
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Jersey Shore


We’re going down to spend the weekend with my family.
It better not rain. That’s all I’ll say.
clamshell drawings

Godlike Harmony

There’s an unopened packet of brushes that’s been hanging on my wall for nearly a decade. It’s hung on different walls in different apartments, and as the cellophane clouds and sags and the bristles begin to slouch under the weight of their own slipshod creation the whole thing grows ever sadder. And more dear. It was a gift from my wife. One of those crappy little nothings couples give each other early on which helps define the language of their profoundest and most lasting connections. For me to recount our dissertation-worthy musings on Godlike Harmony would feel cheap to all parties involved. As tawdry as it would feel to open the packet and daub those wan hairs into some fresh watercolors and drag them adulterously across a piece of expectant paper. Nothing but deflation that way lies. The genius of the gift is in its inviolate whole. The promise it can never fulfill. It has never once occurred to me to open them. Truly. This is not meant to be a diatribe against marital infidelity. I know life isn’t lived in a cellophane bag.

Godlike Harmony lives about 15 feet behind my left shoulder. Hanging at the top of the stairs over a small writing desk where we keep all our tape and picture frames that have yet to make it onto the Family Wall.  You have to walk by Godlike Harmony to get anywhere in our apartment. The bedrooms. The bathroom. The kitchen. It drives my daughter insane.

Why can’t we paint with these?

Because we can’t. They were a gift from your mom.
Who ever heard of brushes you can’t paint with?
Well you can’t. They’re Godlike Harmony.
Who ever heard of such a dumb thing. I’m opening the brushes. 
No you’re not.
Yes I am.
No you’re not. They’re not good brushes anyway.
How do you know?
Because I do.
No you don’t.
We already have lots of opened brushes.
I want to paint with these brushes.
Sorry.
Why would mom give you not-good brushes?
Because she did.
I hate those stupid brushes!

They’ve been hurled down the stairs or huffily crammed into the drawer with the tape and picture frames, but they’ve yet to be opened. And in fairness to my daughter, I totally understand why she hates these brushes. What six year old wouldn’t want to use them?  They’re brushes. She doesn’t see or care if the bristles look wan. What she sees is potential. She doesn’t see the seeds of regret. She doesn’t care if she never wants to paint with the brushes again. It’s the thrill of opening and trying them. That’s all that matters.

My wife and I have tried to explain what is funny about a sealed packet of artist brushes called Godlike Harmony, but all she thinks we’re doing is keeping a secret from her that isn’t even remotely funny. And it makes her all the madder that she doesn’t get the joke. She wants to be in on it and she doesn’t get it and that makes her mad. I get it. One day she will totally understand what’s funny about Godlike Harmony, but I hope the packet’s crumbled and the bristles have long since wilted away before she does.

Inadvertent Faces

My wife likes to make pancakes. Swedish. Buttermilk. Blueberry. Lumpy. Minimally whisked. Thin. Whatever. Always lovingly served with a small ramekin of heated Grade B maple syrup. She would never willingly serve cold syrup… not even to her worst enemies.

She also likes not having to worry about making drips while she cooks. Or crumbs while she eats. Fresh batter dashes on the counter. Nibbled toast crumbs in silverware drawers. Rorschachs of honey and syrup and jelly on anything flat or vertical. Blobs of something on oven knobs. Floury handprints on the cabinets and refrigerator door. She is tirelessly working to prove that life is being lived by real people in our home. And the truth is, in spite of my lifelong fear of crumbs (and the sinking feeling that comes with turning a mysteriously sticky oven knob) part of me celebrates her ability to find new places to make them. Crumbs. But that drawer is so low? And never opened. Good lord…there weren’t even that many crumbs in the whole loaf. How do you even make dried  fruit crumbs?

I was raised by people who fanatically believe no such evidence of human existence should exist for  paleoanthropologists to unearth. Painting on cave walls might have been okay if it were construed as sprucing up the joint, but none of those messy hand prints and no piles of bones or sooty remains in the corner. We’re not barbarians. It’s like living a life of crime every minute of your life. Leave no traces. Ever. You’ll never be caught that way.

Rather than worrying about how to ungum a refrigerator handle or how to chisel off desiccated pasta-sauce Pollacks from inside the microwave, don’t leave any clues of having lived (or eaten) in the first place. Lucky for the Leakeys early hominids didn’t evolve from my family.

If you never spill pancake batter on the counter, you never find inadvertent pancake batter faces. Lemonade out of lemons? Guilty as charged. Inadvertent Faces has become an ongoing game for me and my daughter. The rub being, of course, that inadvertence has to happen unintentionally. Sneakily arranging the prune shards in your oatmeal to make a smiley face is a different game. Funny—depending on how the morning is going otherwise—but it’s not the same as Inadvertent Faces.

Here is a Funny On-Purpose Food Face from a cafe in Lucca:

Cappuccino in Lucca, Italy.

Here is an Inadvertent Face on a sidewalk in Brooklyn:

The white face above is different than the face below.

The pink face is an example of Found-Faces-That-Were-Always-Faces-in-the-First-Place. Which is also a great game. But it’s entirely different. Look it up. I don’t make the rules. Or maybe I do. Someone has to. Usually it’s my daughter.

The face below is another example of Found-Faces-That-Were-Always-Faces-in-the-First-Place:

I’m pretty sure my daughter knows the difference. Inadvertent faces are accidents. Fortuitous wrong turns. Funny-On-Purpose-Food-Faces and Found-Faces-That-Were-Always-Faces-in-the-First-Place are both top-notch fun. But they are definitely not Inadvertent Faces. Different rules. Different games.

Why do I care? Because pretending to be lost is different than actually being lost. There’s a different energy and intensity. Pretend lost is great. I much prefer it to real lost. I heartily endorse pretending to be lost. But you never learn as much about yourself when you secretly know where you are. It’s the truly not knowing which forces you to open your lowest, most impractical drawers and peer inside them to see what horrible crumbs have crept  inside.

Animal Parade

My daughter drew this the other month. It was one of two versions she made—the other my wife gave to a friend who loves music. Anemal Prade has been marching above my computer screen since June. On the blackboard. It’s a reminder to have fun. Don’t overdraw. Don’t overthink. Doodling is supposed to feel liberating. Sounds easy… I forget it daily… if not hourly.

My daughter forgets it too and collapses into pencil-blunting fits of rage or despair whenever she makes a mistake. My wife and I keep trying to explain there’s no such thing as mistakes in drawing. Only unexpected turns which can be navigated if you just keep drawing. I totally believe this when I say it to my daughter, but I know how false it sounds because it usually does when I say it to myself.

Keep going, silly.
So what… you missed the exit?
You can turn around later.
We’ve been toodling around here for ages.
Let’s see where this road actually goes.

I was not born into a family with a spirit for adventure. When in doubt…blame your parents. Whatever endless wandering through deserts my ancient forebears had to endure, I’m totally sure my ancestors were the ones at the back of the group complaining about being lost.

However grating  “We’re LOST!” sounds blurted in English one quick turn from the Piazza Navona staring frantically at an upside-down tourist map, or squawked in disbelief from the passenger seat while looking at a fading exit for the Garden State Parkway in a sideview mirror, I can only imagine how much more insufferable these words sound in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic. Without water or food or pillows or clean towels. My begatters  must have been really good at something to not have been left in the dunes to fend for themselves millennia ago.

I think part of why I like Anemal Prade so much is it seems to sum up the totality of everything. We’re all just toodling around on an otherwise blank page lamely playing some dinky tune no one’s really listening to anyway—not to mention nobody knows the score. So…what’s the point of worrying? Any fool can wave a pair of  pompoms or blow the kazoo, but nothing’s sadder than being the guy who’s conspicuously waving unenthusiastic pompoms in the middle of a parade. Seriously. It’s too embarrassing to think about. So if you’re going to do it, have fun. Or don’t march in the parade.

I hope my daughter grows up to be one of those people who secretly likes to miss life’s exit signs. If she does, she’ll have inherited it from her mom. Along with any love of pompoms or the kazoo. But for the fools gamely waving and blowing away, all anyone would hear is the rest of us whining “We’re lost…we’re LOST!”

Toot toot!

The one we gave away–three cheers for scanners!!! I’d be lost without em!

Rain Not Apricots

Pronto Raisin Act
Cartoon Saint RIP
Panic Root Trains
Antic Rain Troops
Niacin Root Parts
Capri Air Not Snot
Proto Rain Antics
Raincoat Or Pints
Traincar Options
Car Point Rations
I Paint Rotor Cans
I Roar Pi Constant
Apt Coins Roar Tin
Airport Sanction
Print Soar Action
No Sprint Croatia
Pain Into Carrots
Onion Strip Carat
Art Carts Opinion
Coin Stain Parrot
Tantric Iron Soap
Aspirin To Carton
Captain Rons Trio
Strict Roan Piano
Tropicana Intros
Rot in Capistrano
Portis Carnation

Once you start, it’s almost impossible to stop imagining the possibilities.

Image

How many folks fit in a bottle? 

A lot’ll.