Friday, May 14, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 117: takin differnt paths

mayhap the mane reason me n virgil wuz bes friends wuz how we could share our big dreams with each other. purty much this cunsisted of talk n more talk, me bout the thangs i wuz plannin to rite, virg bout the inventchuns he wonted to patent sos he could change the worl n git rich in the process. in my case, the dream wood flip back n forth twixt musick n prose, but twuz always sumthin to do with creatin stories n wurds n such.

but virgil had the dreams of a real vishunairy. whenever we wuznt havin our arguement over whuther pi could be a priori or not, twuz a matter of his deescribin them thangs he wonted to invent.

twood be rong to pertend i could foller everthang he deescribed, but i could unnerstan how they wood cum out, jes not whut kinda wurks wood be inside makin em go, so to speak. his mane inventchun wuz a infinit gear ratio transmisshun, witch the idee here wuz sumthin lack the analog version of the digital gears. in sted of furst, secunt n thurd gears, ye wood have a slope of torque ye could ride, witch ye woodnt have deescreet gears but differnt gear ratios accordin to how fast ye wuz a'goin or how minny pounds ye wuz towin with yer injun. he wood make pitchers n rite lil pomes on em n fack is, they wuz beeyootiful to look at, even ifn twuz hard to figger how ye could git frum the pitcher to the transmisshun a'wurkin in a car.

sum of his other idees turnt out to be real thangs later on: he bleevd he could make a flat tv that a bidy could hang on the wall n watch, witch i always tole him thatn seemed lack a better inventchun to go after, but he sed twood require him a gittin lecktronick parts that wuz eggspensive n thay wood be a slew of false starts n all. so thay wuznt no way he could ever afford to try sumthin lack that.

he also had idees bout a saddelite radio netwurk that wood wurk everwhar in the worl a'usin communicayshuns saddelites. he figgerd twood change the worl n mayhap frum the radio netwurk thar could be a tv netwurk. n he figgerd them same saddelites could hep figger out whar thangs wuz. fer instunts, he had this noshun bout installin a lil chip in yer hed to keep up with whar ye wuz n give ye better math skills n such -- sorta lack a built in calculater that could do uther thangs lack make fone calls n store lil idees ye could record. he magined everbidy havin one n havin em all lanked up to whar innybidy could talk to innybidy else that wuz on thar list of folks they had dun give thar lecktronick signatchur, witch that wuz kindly lack a fone number.

he claimd thay wood cum a day when cumputers wuz shrunk down to mosly nuthin sos they could be everwhar in sted of jes in big ole cold rooms. he figgerd folks wood git em down to lil more than that chip they wood be installin in thar heds. long story short, he had im lodes of good idees n histry has dun showd whut a vishunairy he wuz.

so twuz only natcherul whenever we gut dun with our undergraduwait degrees he wood git im a job as a injuneer over in oak ridge in one of them lil places that heps out the nukular industry thar. twuz a differnt path than whut i tuck on a counta how i deecided to go to graduwait skool. thay wuz minny a time i envied him on a counta how it seemd lack he wuz out livin life n at the age of 29 i wuz still jes fixin to live it sumday.

but thay wuz a nuther way we tuck differnt paths n mayhap that partin of the ways wuz even more importunt to how thangs wood cum out in the long run. lease twuz sumthin that wood git me wurried bout my frien. whut im talkin bout now is how he turnt into a juicer n i turnt into a doper, ifn ye acksept the broad definishuns. twernt lack i woodnt drank nor lack he woodnt smoke theevil weed or drop acid or nuthin, but whenever it cum rite down toot, ifn he could have jes one thang to git hi on, twood be beer or wine or whisky, sumthin with alkyhol in it. ifn i had jes one thang, twood be theevil weed.

fer me the problem mite coulda been how i wuz so skinny. i still weighd only 125 pounds on a good day back then, so thay wuznt hardly no way fer me to hold my likker. twuz easy to bleev i wuz a lergick. part of that cum frum how i gut hi on theevil weed befor i dun much drankin so that whenever i tuck a drank, i did it lack i wuz smokin a joint, trine to git off on it. i dint care much bout the taste nor nuthin else, so whenever i wood drank, lack as not i wood later have a lil date with the toilet n whut folks joked wuz the teknicolor burp. i dint lack bein drunk, dint lack havin no hangover the nex day, dint lack makin a fool out of myself, dint lack how i couldnt play no piano much whenever i wuz drunk.

fer virgil thangs wuz differnt. fer one thang, his folks luved a drank bettern innythang. minnys the nite we wood stay up talkin till the sun cum up with his folks jes gittin drunkern drunker without ackshly fallin asleep. i never figgerd out how they could hold so much n twuznt lack they wuz trine to git me to drank since i wuz too yung n always tole em bout bein a lergick. but virgil gut to whar he could drank jes as good as his mama n daddy could n lil by lil it seemd lack he lacked bein a lil soused bettern innythang else.

i member one thursdy evenin in particklar, tho i could probly find plenty more lack em. twuz a misty day whar the weather wuz 'spittin rain' as daddy lacked to say. ye dint need no bumbershoot to walk roun, but ye wood git rite moist by the time ye had walked innywhar. i member how that day i wuz feelin good on a counta i wuz doin my two weeks of solo teachin n i had students ritin in class. i member thankin how teachin wuz the bes thang i had found fer wurk. durin that time of my life it seemd lack the biggest problem i had wuz findin wurk i lacked that wood pay the bills. it seemd lack one of lifes biggest puzzles.

innywho, i cum out of the class feelin grate n the furst thang i see is emily -- mein liebes mädchen -- a'waitin fer me. she wuz wearin the corderoy coat that cum with one of them soots mama bought me to take to west germany. her hair wuz pulld back into a pony tail, but the mist wuz a'makin it curl to whar lil tendrils wuz cummin a'loose. she wuz happy n ye could see that glow in her eye witch meant we wood be havin sum kinda add ventchur in the bed, ifn we made it that far. my hart wuz meltin by the warmth of her beeyooty n luv n happiness. as i walked along a'holdin her hand, i couldnt hep but thank bout how lucky i wuz. all my self-centerd cumplainin bout emily seemd so self-indulgent n rong. i figgerd at that moment, i had a better life than innybidy.

corse a magickull moment lack that caint last ferever n twuz ended all of a sudden as we begun climin the hill to the laurel marrd students apartments when we purt near run rite into virgil, who had dun been up to knock on our door. he sed he really needed to talk bout sum much fer inny sexshul add ventchurs that evenin. emily dint fite it much on a counta thays always plenty a grad student kin do with a lil free time.

so we went up n i dropped my thangs off n out we went to git the mail n talk. turnt out he wuz upset bout how thangs wuz a'goin at wurk. turnt out he had innerduced a cuple of idees n gut em laffed at by near everbidy at his job n then a cuple they hadnt laffed at turnt out not to wurk. it dint matter that a cuple of his idees turnt out to wurk. he jes felt lack he wuz a miserbull failure.

'i need to grow thicker calluses,' he sed. i laffed. then he sed, 'i need to learn my job better. i hope im able to do it.'

we gut the mail n went back upstairs. we all talked a lil n smoked a lil, theevil weed fer virgil n me, marlboros fer emily. but purt soon, twernt a nuff fer virgil, so he ast could we go down to revco to git a quart of beer. we dun it n cum back up. i cunvints him to stay fer dinner n then fer the nite. we et n then gut a lil visit frum brew n liza, witch whenever virgil wuz splainin his wurk trubles to em it gut us all laffin n acktin silly. they hung round till bout 8, witch they knew twuz my bedtime, but virgil needed to talk sum more. me n emily tride to git him to read sumthin out loud with us -- twuz amung our favert pursoots -- but he wonted to take a walk. i dint wonta go on a counta how twuz my bedtime, but ifn yer inny kinda friend to sumbidy, ye gut to be thar when they need ye.

i wuz still trine to git virg to real eyes twernt no nite fer walkin, but rite then a fire alarm went off n we all went down. once we wuz down thar, twernt hardly possibull to say no bout goin futher. emily dint wont to be out on such a nite, so she went back up.

we lef n started walkin. we wood generly walk down to the expo site so he could talk bout how he wonted to have a display proovin his infinite gear ratio transmisshun. twuz deeserted then n a purty good place to walk, but he wonted to walk down to the srtip, witch thats also called cumberland avenue. so thats jes whut we dun. he wonted to go into a place to git a beer, so we stoppd at a fone booth n called emily to tell her whut we wuz a'doin. she sed thar had been a nuther false alarm, but she dint even go down fer it.

we went into a place name of 'the last lap,' witch twuz a typicull place whar students lacked to hangout n git drunk: thay wuz beer n loud musick n pin ball machines n four men fer ever woman. we found a lil back room whar the musick wuznt near so loud n gut to talkin bout whut botherd him mos, witch twuznt his job atall but lust. twuz the real reason -- long with the beer -- we wuz in that thar bar. corse thay wuznt no woman in thar lookin fer a marrd man n virgil dint have the skill of makin small talk that a woman wonts to here, so purty quick we wuz out n walkin home.

bout halfway thar, he sed he dint wonta go in yet. i tole him i had to sos i could be rested fer my fridy classes.

'friday?' he ast.

'tomorry.' i anserd.

'but i thought today wuz . . . on no. i told everyone at wurk that i expected to have finished my project by the end of the week. i could have sworn today wuz wendsdy.'

'taint. tiz thursdy. ifn ye really wonta git up a five, we orta go upnow.'

'you go ahead. i'll be in later.'

so i give him my key n went up n went to bed.

whenever i gut up nex mornin, i found the couch empty. i made sum coffee n started readin as i did mos ever mornin of my life. i kindly wunderd whut had happend to virgil, but i figgerd mayhap he had deecided to go on home.

long bout 5:30 i heard sumbidy trine to git in so i went to the door n looked outta the lil pin hole to see who twuz n thar wuz virgil stotes a trine to git that key into the lock. he nearly fell to the floor when i pulld the door open.

'you still awake,' he sed, his voice thick, his wurds slurrd.

i splained how i had dun slept the nite.

'what? what time is it?'

he checked the time.

'oh my god,' he sed, holdin his hed, 'the police are after me.'


he splained how theyd dun found him asleep on the ground outside of the laurel marrd students apartments with his coat inside out. they wonted to take him to jail fer publick drunkenness, but after he showd em the key and sed 'fourteenth floor,' the let him cum up.

'whut did ye do las nite,' i ast him.

he wudnt ritely shore whut he had dun. twuz a cumplete blank. he stunk of alkyhol n couldnt hardly walk nor talk neethur one. fack is, he wuz a'fallin asleep on his feet.

so he lay down on the couch n wuz snorin by the time i had my shakespeare back open. i let im sleep till a lil after 7 n then gut him to wake up. made im take a shower n drank sum coffee n eat a lil brakefuss. he still stank of alkyhol, so i put a lil aftershave in his beerd. then he left.

i fretted over im fer a while. seemed lack thangs wuz takin a bad turn fer im.

then emily gut up n purty quick we wuz in a fuss n fite on a counta she sed twuz time fer virgil to face the fack he had a drankin problem. i dint wonta here it so i tride to deefend him by sayin twuz a aberayshun, a one time thang. she sed how twuz always a one time thang. twuz true of her daddy n i needed to acksept how twuz true of virgil.

we sorta made up by time we had to leeve n as i walked to class we gut to whar she went one way n i went a nuther. later on, we wood meet back up n take the same path home whar i wood fix dinner n we wood make luv at long last.

but in the divergents in the paths me n virgil wuz follerin, twuz a twain that woodnt never meet agin.

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