WHO’S AFRAID OF JOYCE CAROL OATES?

Anyone who reads or knows me knows that my life has been a bit off as late. Things have been quite difficult and confusing, actually. But, as always, I keep pushing forward. I figure there must be a point to this journey I call my life. So, one must simply carry on. I love that old Debbie Harry song, “Forced to Live” — the chorus of which is “Keep moving!” …I just keep moving forward, but it ain’t easy.

A few months ago I made the mistake of attempting to re-read an old Joyce Carol Oates novel. I couldn’t seem to concentrate or focus enough to follow what I was reading. It happens lately. Anyway, I got enough of it to remember how quietly powerful her writing is — and creepy. Creepy in a way that sneaks into your psyche and within your blood. So, I shook the words of Ms. Oates off myself and pushed them out of my mind as best I could.

Interestingly, about a week later I was sitting at the beach washing the waves. Smoking a cigarette and sipping my coffee I could sense that someone was watching me. I turned and noticed a big guy with long heavy metal-like hair sitting in a rusty carpenter’s truck. I didn’t look at him long, but it struck me that his eyebrows were particularly dark and bushy. It only took a second to notice that his eyes were trying to lock into mine.

Creepy.

So, I slipped off the sea wall and jumped into the car and drove away. I cranked up the iPod and calmed to the melodies of Joni Mitchell. As I approached a yellow light I slowed down and the rusty carpenter’s truck pulled up beside me — then revved up past me and took the place in front of me at the red light. I couldn’t help but watch. He was looking at me in his rear view mirror. The creepy dude’s cell phone must have rang because he quickly started chatting away on phone. As he talked, he began to an odd thing. It wasn’t done in a discreet or ashamed way. He did it as if it was not strange at all. He did it as if it was the most normal and natural thing any guy might do in his truck.

The creepy dude pulled off his hair. …A wig. He then rubbed his bald head vigorously. And, then, he pulled off a pair of fake eyebrows and mustache — and, then, he wiped his lips with his arm — revealing pale pink lips instead of deep red ones. He glanced at me in his rear view mirror, smiled and peeled off when the light turned red.


Now, there is something rather comical about all of this. But, to me, it is just a few slips beyond creepy.

…where am I going and where have I been?

February 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 7 comments.