spirits, stories and a scarf

So you know something's wrong when you wake up feelin' good. You chalk it up to a happy dream you don't recall and get on with things.

T'was a fine, fine day yester. One of those rare days when everything flows good and right. That's the quota for 2008. Now none to do but wait for the same in 2009.

I walk the half mile through gritty weary streets in a descending chill to the library in my new old coat with the wide paisley blue scarf, streets shared only with riffraff since the government buildings and businesses except McDonald's are closed.

I return the Brancusi book and load up on CDs of Dylan and Mahler and Vivaldi. All told, Mahler's likely my favorite classical composer.

On the way out I scan the new releases, though I'm not searching for a book, and this catches my eye: "501 Minutes to Christ."

Read the sleeve bio and first paragraph:

The place where you gave plasma looked like it had recently been a small grocery store. I had never given  blood or plasma before and had no appreciation for the difference. All I knew was that you got eight bucks, which was also the going rate for a full day's labor through Manpower.

and am hooked. 501 is a collection of (nonreligious) personal essays by the excellent and witty writer/traveler Poe Ballantine. Who's also my twin flame and I must write to tell him so.

Over to Point Defiance Park for ghost tales around the campfire.

A couple hundred I reckon show up, all surprisingly well behaved. Even the mom with the crying kid — there's always one — had the decency and courtesy to step away from the hushed crowd.

Half a dozen storytellers in costumes from bygone eras regale us with stories of ghosts and spirits. Free hot apple cider and oatmeal raisin cookies warm us at intermission. Even Mother Nature was cooperative in this notoriously rainy gray climes, providing views of stars and shadows of the pines visible against the clear black backdrop.

Refreshed, over to Malarkey's I go, the dive down the street from my studio with a jukebox and serious billiards and tallboys, 2 bucks all the time.

Plant myself at the bar — nowhere but — with my book and beer and special treat, a plate of steaming hot fries, the only way to enjoy stringed potatoes.

Read for hours a book I can't put down, those are the best.

Once a patron's curiosity gets his best so he inquires what I'm reading. Turns out he himself is a writer and national cause celebre. Alan Michael Collinge, author of the soon-to-be-released Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History — How We Can Fight Back. An articulate and intelligent fellow, a rebel and an airer of others' dirty laundry. It's impossible not to like him.

After that nice interruption, I return to the book … all the way down to the final chapter, then we're kicked out, closing time. So I finish it in my nice warm bed with a steaming nightcap of Lipton tea splashed with lemon and sweetener and shot of rye whiskey.

Close the book with a contented glow and sleep better than I reckon I have in months. Yes, a fine day it 'twas.

Today's Positivities:

1. The library. Music music music. Books books books. And all free.

2. My blue paisley scarf. It's large and can be wrapped in a myriad of ways for warmth. Some clothes are just so right, they become part of you. Luann at Ross was right, advising the blue over the yellow. Also the library clerk volunteers: "I like your scarf. It brings out your eyes." Luann had said the same. "Thank you. Actually thank Luann at Ross, she's the reason I got it."

3. Malarkey's, a dive in best of ways — cool, laid back, affordable, real. And bartenders Mandy and Score know how to take care of their regulars, and without being intrusive. She's usually poppin' the tab on a Pabst before I've un-backpacked my laptop. She's lucking out but she'll be on her toes when I'm employed and drawing off the microbrews menu again. I like this little ritual of ours now. It's comforting in a time that is raw and scary.

Just because:

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