Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spring, Twenty-Fifteen, Portland, Oregon

She walked out into the backyard where he had the night lit up some kind of unnatural blue, if just inside their own little privacy fenced postage stamp sized haven. As she picked her way over the shadowed stepping stones towards him he stood up from his petunias and turned towards her. The tinnitus ring hit him in the ears, in his head, at some tone way up there in the thousands of hertz, and he turned again, into something somehow Other. “Oh hi Hun! Remember those nice, special safety glasses I gave you for when we're outside together? Yeah, you might want to get those and put them on now.” 

She reached inside the sliding door to the end table and picked them up then, putting them on and turning back towards him, she was briefly startled to see it was a bright sunny morning out. Yup, morning, all the usual signs - finches splashing in the birdbath, a lawnmower starting up a house or two down the way, kid hollering something to his mom next door... “Would you like some more coffee?” she said spying the cup in his hand and thinking that must be what she meant to ask him. “No, I'm fine thanks, but remember you have that thing at eight this morning.” and suddenly she did. Remember. a thing. This morning. 

My ears ring constantly, loudly, at about eight thousand hertz in one ear, about four to six thousand in the other. Sometimes, something clicks in my head, and the taste of the thought or the moment on my brain will change, goes salty, and slightly woody, and I seem to be wrapped in a bright yellow outer shell. The shell is very thin, but very bright. It is the color and the frequency of The Ring. 

Twilight Zone, boys. It's like living' in the freaking Twilight Zone everywhere I go, just walking' around being' me. Sometimes I wonder if other people, on the Max line, or walking down the street, or standing at the checkout line, can hear the ring, or see the yellow shell, or feel the waves of Otherness wafting off of me. It's always threatening to expose me to discovery by the humans. If that happens I have no doubt they will turn on me like something ferocious on something helpless and I will never get home.

Tomorrow I will be fifty-seven years old. Now how the hell did I get here, and what was I looking for when I came in?


  1. Astonishing how well you capture the sense of "Otherness," John Ross. I have mismatched tinnitus and bring special things to the party, too. While our experiences are no doubt very different, your writing often leaves me feeling both understood and vulnerable. Both are valuable. Please keep writing.

    And happy belated birthday! I think you came in for more coffee. Here, I'll pour.

    Take care,

  2. Thanks much for that Jess! That Otherness thing, works in tandom with The Ring very effectively. Blink and look up, someone is saying something to you, right there, in front of you, but you didn't catch that whole first sentence, couldn't grasp it and decode it fast enough in the middle of all the other sound, the mixes of ambient sound, and The Ring. Someone described it as sometimes morphing into "a radio in the next room, you can hear music, someone talking, but can't quite make out the words.." "Um, No!" *Looks around, furtively* Louder - "Because, if I did, then that might be what we call Crazy! And we've Certainly None of That going on around here! No-siree! No carzy hear! I mean No Crazy Here!" Turns out it meshes up So well with anxiety and depression to make kind of a trinity of Boggle. That's ok, it's spring here, and everything growing all a - riot, so I will turn off everything except the ticking of the old three-dollar Ikea clock, and The Ring. And I will look out the double-paned windows onto our postage-stamp yard, and I will make up my own scenes, moments, free even, of the restraints of being part of a whole story/plot. They're just moments. Phantoms, people known or unknown, come to sit transparently upon a patio chair for a moment, bits of songs, often from thirty years ago, come through, something in the background makes a note, creates a file folder of the moment and sticks it into a much fatter folder, with many other small folders, where that something is sure that this folder will be "somewhere safe". The moment will be recovered to mind, by random association, in twenty-five years, hopefully at the moment when it may be incorporated into a creative project another mind might hopefully follow or connect meaning to. Oh,, I defintely need more coffee or something.

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