MONDAY, MAY 8 Today was the beginning of a de facto Parents' Week for me, starting with what would have been my father's 65th birthday (also the birthday of my grandfather, 25 years earlier, and U.S. President Harry Truman, in 1883). Guy Richard Cogswell (1935-1987) was perhaps the kindest person ever to repair inertial navigation systems for jet planes, as they used to be called. He was a single father at a time when such a thing was almost unheard of, and his major liability was his atrocious taste in women. Cigarette addiction (and probably exposure to a host of chemicals in the most toxic American industry, aerospace) led to his early death from lung cancer at age 52. The second of his wives remains in legal possession of his remains, which she is said to drive around with in the trunk of her car. However, his grave is on a cliff overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca on the Olympic Peninsula. Noticing the date on the morning paper, I barely thought of my father all day, then experienced a night of lucid, bizarre, and amazingly realistic dreams, every one of which featured my father as the star.
TUESDAY, MAY 9 My friend Robert spent the day at his parents' DuPont home worrying about his brother, who is enduring a great deal of personal difficulty. The year has been a shoe-switcher in the suffering department for Rob and his bro: At this time last year, Robert, having spent his early 20s bumbling through a series of drunken escapades and disastrous judgment calls, found an amazing wife who straightened his shit out, bore him two amazing children, and came down with a life-threatening disease. Sixteen anguished months of expensive (and in Rob's opinion, often unnecessary) treatment later, the disease seems to be beaten, and all is well. Meanwhile, his brother, whose rug of settlement and happiness has been pulled out from under him in a particularly fast and unfortunate way, is the source of much concern to his family and friends, who, it should be noted, love him very much.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 10 My supervisor Cal woke up on his day off and "rolled around with a chick," the culmination of their second date. After bringing her to orgasm he tried to sleep, but couldn't drift off because he hadn't come. He smoked his morning cigarette--"the most enjoyable of all cigarettes"--then telephoned his brother about an investment they were making together. After the call he breakfasted quickly with his date at Baker's Beach Cafe, during which Cal wondered if intercourse had been a good idea. (Later he found that his pelvic bone was sore.) After buying a bookshelf at a garage sale, Cal came home to take a nap, which consumed his whole afternoon. Upon waking, he showered and went to meet a couple of friends at a downtown restaurant, where he started the evening with a shot of fancy tequila. Cal and his friends (all media workers) had a pleasant dinner, then headed to the Meridian 16 Cinemas to see Battlefield Earth. ("Appalling," Cal reports. "I'm dumber for having seen that movie.") There was a little stress heading into the theater, as one of his friends was nervous about being recognized--which she was, twice--as she is very famous to the 18-25 age group. Excited by the sight of a gorgeous woman leaving a cab after he dropped off his friends, Cal went home and masturbated. (Finally!)
THURSDAY, MAY 11 Nobody would tell me a damn thing today.
FRIDAY, MAY 12 My friend Dale in L.A. was awakened before work by his pager. It was his friend _____, an aspiring media mogul who asked Dale to meet him at the Russian bagel place on Santa Monica Blvd. Upon his arrival, Dale got into his friend's car, where the two talked about traffic and the beach and their idea for a TV show: "In the next 18 months we're gonna blow this bitch wide open!" They talked about CEOs of big companies and getting their own private jets like those guys have. "Nobody asks you to buckle your fucking seat belt!" The aspiring mogul talked about a friend of his who went around buying big companies--an insurance company, an investment bank, another investment bank (one of the biggest in the world). "What a fucking badass," Dale's friend said, as though the bank-buying guy were fighting a war.
SATURDAY, MAY 13 My co-worker Elaine got up at 6 am to attend her 7 am AA meeting (!)--where it was her turn to serve the coffee. The day's subject was "How Do You Know What Is God's Will for Your Life?" After a couple of hours, it was decided that whatever happens is God's will. After the meeting, she went home and watched a couple of basketball games before cooking some curry for friends. Later she answered a Stranger Personals ad from a single dad living on Alki. "He had a good vibe," she said.
SUNDAY, MAY 14 Today was Mother's Day, a holiday of as little import to me as the day McDonald's starts giving out Shamrock Shakes. I wish my mother well, wherever she may be. I spent half the day at my moderately dull but mercifully easy job before coming home to listen to the amazing new live Jeff Buckley CD three or four times. For dinner I watched some friends eat tacos, having mis-timed my massive late lunch, and finished the day with one of those chicken-sesame salads from QFC, which aren't bad. If my life was a TV show, you'd probably have changed the channel by now.
Grant Cogswell reads his poem Pacific Bell on Monday, May 22 at the Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave E, 7:30 pm, $3.
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