Cloister Commentary, Day 336: Restlessness

Early in the morning, I learned that a former student of mine had been killed, and another former student of mine was allegedly involved. Not a happy start. Teaching the former when she was 12 and the latter when he was 15, I had excellent experiences with both. I last saw the victim early last year when our paths crossed at Gerbes; as usual, she was full of enthusiasm and kindness. My heart is with her family and friends. The loss is a shocking one.

I was so restless for a project and a distraction that I engaged in something really pointless: I emptied my 16g iPod Nano (we have three MP3 players, and they are each meticulously programmed with a completely different set of folders of music–madness, I know), then refilled it with all the “miscellaneous” folders of single tracks I’ve created in each genre folder on my external drive. On top of those, I dragged in some of my favorite various artist comps. I did not create any folders; my intention was to create a random jukebox of favorite but not necessarily famous songs. As soon as I was finished, I was immediately unsatisfied. Back to tinkering today. I didn’t even try it out.

When Nicole got home from school, we made up for our postponed Valentine’s Day with a Shakespeare’s pizza, some homemade vanilla ice milk, and both a new and an old movie: Nomadland and Thelma and Louise. Two terrific road movies–we didn’t plan that–that are seemingly quite different but with strong similarities at their hearts.

Streaming for Survivors:

Why hadn’t I heard of this until this morning?

GEORGE & PHIL’S BREAKFAST MEDITATION, STOP #9: Heuer’s Country Store (“postponed”) / JJ’s Diner (back-up)

I should have been prepared for the unusual when my supposedly laid-back old hippie friend changed our embarkation time from 6:30 to 6:15 to 6:00 over the course of four days (what’s the adverb form of “persnickety”?), which resulted in our near-replication of two classic horror scenes.

Since our trip required the traversing of over one mile, I insisted on driving out to wherever Heuer’s is. Ill-advisedly, I also insisted on immediately initiating a meticulous conversation while traveling 63 North in the pitch-dark and looking for Pinnacles Road. Remember Christopher Walken’s scene in ANNIE HALL? If George had been driving, I wouldn’t be alive to be writing this; since I was driving, we only narrowly escaped a Boone Country Traffic Incident text. Then, at 6:15, we arrived at Heuer’s, advertised as opening at 6, but emanating not a dim, mildly pulsating speck of light. We parked and decided to wait, and, for a few seconds, surveyed in silence the scene, which was dominated by an intensely lifeless cottage set just a ways back from the restaurant–intensely lifeless, that is, but for a single burning, lamplit window. George turned to me and stated, simply, “The Bates Motel.”

In record time, we were ensconced at JJ’s, our old stand-by, a place we claim to have once “internationally integrated” when we met our wonderful former students, Michele Sun and Maya Ramachandran, there for lunch. Apparently still rattled from the wee-ooo-WEEE eerieness of…is it Sturgeon out there?…Frissell 1) THOUGHT he was ordering from the senior menu (he’s not THAT old!), and 2) ACTUALLY ordered from the children’s menu! No, I am not kidding! Look at the pancake pic below! (I don’t ever have to think at JJ’s and thus avoid such eccentric displays: #7, over medium, no toast.) Our regular and wonderful former Kewpie server Sean did not even bat an eye. Of course, George was one of his teachers at Hickman, so why would he have?

Topics of banter: Love vs. Doors (those are bands, not emotional states); murder; NOMADLAND (it’s a great book!) and our own good fortune; Attica Locke (she’s a great writer–with a new book!); connubial splitting (in the dining sense); “cancel culture”; “Can human beings change?” (we have taught for a combined 3/4ths a century so they had better damn well be able to); political shenanigans; and the song “Hey Joe” and its misogynistic plot. Oh yes: and the Providence Bowl–George was sporting a vintage PB tee from the year Hickman won state.