Since Self is So Happy That the World Still Exists

Self is so happy:  She opened her eyes and she saw the garden.  Nothing had changed.  The Rapture, which was supposed to wipe out all, has no doubt been postponed.

For an inkling of what would happen if the world had entered the Apocalypse (version according to MV) check out Philippine Genre Stories, “The Departure”. (Self must confess, every time she glimpses the neighbor across the street, she can’t help feeling twinges of guilt for having used this kindly lady as the basis for a fictional character)

In the meantime, here’s self reading poetry:

Poem for Constructing a River

by Margarito Cuéllar (trans. by Steven J. Stewart, in Nimrod Spring/Summer 2009)

With the saliva spent by my enemies
to wound me
I built a river
in which I sail at night
with their fiancées or sisters.

With the stones they threw at me
I built a house
in which I live like a king.
If they keep stoning me
I’ll make a condominium, I’ll sell it and be rich
while they exercise their right
to stomp about in envy.

With the bullets they shot at me
I built a tree of gunpowder:
when lit it turns into the Milky Way.

With the words they hurled at me
I wrote several books.
When they realized
that instead of enemies
they were my best publicists
they demanded royalties.

When they finally ran out
of words, bullets, stones
they declared me poet laureate.

I keep on
writing poems on napkins,
like a pimp on the streets
in a city that’s not even mine.

Now that they’re dead
I feel like I’m missing something.

Country Kitchen, Vierra Canyon Road, Salinas, California

Today was the day self had been dreading for weeks and weeks:  Gracie’s cremation and the interment of her bones.

Hubby really really wanted to have a ceremony, and self was Oh all right whatever.

Self was afraid she’d be crying all the way to the place (Monterey Bay Loved Pet in Royal Oaks), but the sun was shining, it was a gorgeous day, and that reverend in Oakland said today was the last day for All Mankind (Is his name really “Camping”?  And what happens if we are all still alive tomorrow?).  In addition, self was very distracted by hubby’s constant assertions that his car had “engine knock” and we’d be stranded on 101 and have to catch a bus back home.  Self had asked him for weeks and weeks whether we shouldn’t just rent a car, and he said No, he’d much prefer taking his car and seeing if it really broke down on the freeway.  And self wondered why she had to put up with all the stress of wondering if we would make it to Gracie’s cremation, when the event itself was already so stressful, but apparently hubby enjoys the drama and excitement of not knowing whether we will get to our destination in one piece.  So self decided to go along and see whether we would:  a) die in the Rapture today, like the Oakland minister said we are all supposed to; or b) get stranded on 101.  And NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS HAPPENED.  So self considers herself lucky to be:  a) alive, and b) home safe, with Gracie’s ashes.  (Now self knows why son decided to major in Social Psychology.  But that is a long story which self must reserve for another post.)

When we got to the pet cemetery, Gracie was all laid out in a viewing parlor, but self could not bring herself to look at her dearly beloved.  She stayed outside the viewing parlor, and hubby and son (who had driven up from San Luis Obispo) discussed Gracie’s remarkable preservation, in spite  of having been in the freezer for so many weeks.  Self stood just outside the door and heard every word.  Then she heard much movement and “Oh!” this and “Oh!” that, and surmised hubby was posing son next to Gracie’s body, for pictures.

The actual cremation was going to take 1 1/2 hours, so hubby asked the pet cemetery guy if there was a restaurant in the area he could recommend.  And without any hesitation whatsoever, he said “Country Kitchen.”  So we trooped there, and —  self knows this is gross, posting about food on the day of Beloved Gracie’s interment, not to mention while self was worrying whether she would be stranded on the 101, or killed by the Rapture —  but this place


This is a rather nondescript-looking restaurant, right across the street from a shopping center, but heck, with that kind of recommendation from Monterey Bay Loved Pet, it was full steam ahead.  The first thing self saw upon entering was a cartoon moose stuffed toy-thingie affixed to a wall of the dining room.  In another room, further in, self could see a rooster on some hay affixed to a wall.

All the patrons were a) white (with the exception, that is, of self, hubby, and son —  we are quite easily identifiable as Asian, not only because of the black hair but also because of —  Self!  Will you stop with the digressions already?!) and b) local, but no one glanced up when we entered, thank goodness.

The hash browns came on a foot-wide plate.  Self is not exaggerating:  the plate was actually A FOOT WIDE.  And it came with two eggs over easy, and a smaller plate containing white toast slathered with butter.  And even though self hates the fact that as soon as she returns to California, she instantly gains 10 lbs., she could not desist from eating.  And eating.  And eating.  Until there was nothing left on her plate.  Not even a scrap of egg.


And then we returned to the Pet Cemetery, and by this time self could hardly walk, her pants were so tight.  And the Monterey Bay Loved Pet man handed self a small wooden box that had Gracie’s name engraved on it, and the dates 2000 – 2011, and self hugged the box and thought Oh Gracie, oh Gracie, oh Gracie.  But she did not cry.

And then we headed back home.  And even though hubby kept reminding self that we would probably break down any minute, we made it home in one piece.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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