A patriotic day
Like a pit-bull on a chain I took off
October 29, 2001
The sunlight fell through the window on the dark grey rug in my white
apartment forming the shape of the window. The shadow of leaves moved with
the wind on Alma Ave in Walnut Creek.
The spirit of this brought to the surface the silence of my day yesterday.
Like a pit-bull on a chain I took off to Barnes and Noble. I drove
into the underground parking, a tomb of cement, into an empty space for
a compact car which fit my 1992 LRV Mitsubishi 43,000 miles. I put the car
in parking gear, took out the key, opened the door and locked it.
I walked to the elevator and read a sign that said: The Air In This Parking
Garage Contains Chemicals Known to the State of California to Cause Cancer
and Reproductive Toxicity. Pregnant Women Are Especially Advised to Avoid
or Reduce their Exposure to Automobile Engine Exhaust Which Contains Carbon
Monoxide, A Chemical Known to Cause Birth Defects!"
I went up to the first floor to the music section. I bought a CD of piano
transcriptions from Wagner's Operas, Robert Vaudenschaaf, piano,
$17.95; and Karajan, Wagner, Tristan and Isolde, Berliner Philharmoniken,
It was a sunny, cool day on Main Street. I walked to Il Fornaio
Italian bakery and bought a blueberry scone, $1.60 and rosemary roll, 65
cents. I passed the fountain on Liberty Bell Plaza, crossed Main Street
and went into Nordstrom celebrating 100 years. I found a silver ring
with a red, white and blue American flag in the center for $24.99. On the
scented cosmetic shelf I found Clarins, Paris, shampooing Vita Life Parfume,
usage frequent, "Eau Dynamisante," re-vital shampoo, frequent
I remembered Alice Randell who wrote a book The Wind Done Gone,
a slave's story of Gone With the Wind to reveal the bigotry of Margaret
Mitchell in 1937. I decided to buy it.
I walked past the Italian fountain of a lion surrounded by California
bougainvilla to See's Candies decorated only in black and white and
received my sample of dark chocolate covered white cream and bought four
pieces more; almond, mocca mousse and dark chocolate truffles. I wanted
the lion and the lamb to lay down together. The Hittites, the Babylonians,
the Egyptians, the Persians together under the evening star.
I needed soap and bought it at David M. Brian's. A bar of Pre de Provence,
Product of France, $3.50 and a green cotton napkin for the bread basket
on sale for $1.90.
Back at Barnes and Noble I found a special issue of Rolling
Stone, $3.95. On the cover was 9.11.01 printed in black. A red, white
and blue American flag, 50 stars and 13 stripes. Features were: "The
realities of ground zero"... "Heroes of New York"... "Elegies
for America"... Musicians United"... "Inside the Holy War"...
"Memo to the President"...
The American Spectator, $6.95, was expensive and I only bought
it because of O'Rouke. Hitchens. Stein. Norquist. Tyrrell and one sentence:
"Tragedy purges the mind of trivia," the opening sentence of the
lead article "Luddites Over Broadway".
As a last gesture, yesterday I bought Paris to the Moon, $14.95,
by Adam Gopnik, who opens his book with "Not long after we moved to
When I came home the sunlight was gone from the window and I turned on
the TV. Nostradamus and books about germs were selling fast with the American
flag. Anthrax had infected Tom Browka's assistant at NBC. Afghanistan was
being bombed and given aid. A month ago the Twin Towers had fallen like
I had a day that President Bush, Attorney General Ashcoft and Rudy wanted
me to have. I was patriotic. I was shopping. It was twilight.