Wednesday, 5 September 2012
A rare visit from Sir Dick’s country cousins from Chatham. They’re in town to see Sir Dick perform in an auspicious, public-speaking kind of a gig. It’s happening during his house move, and the visit is sprung on me. The clan reconnoiters at my west end apartment.
I have an unusual apartment. It has two front rooms facing a busy residential boulevard, and I have, in each of these rooms, Dutch-inspired windows: floor to ceiling, wall to wall. It’s like living in a department store display, and over the years I’ve tried various forms of veiling, often opting for the Dutch way: leave ’em open, let ’em look. This is particularly fun when I throw (or used to throw) dinner parties, or hoedowns (my friends are very musical) — it’s sweet to see people gather on the sidewalk and enjoy a late-night whisky-soaked chorus of “Four Strong Winds.”
On this occasion, the country cousins pile in and immediately begin unpacking bags and bags of marijuana. There appears a miniature digital scale. Why it is miniature doesn’t make much sense to me, because is takes them two-plus hours to measure tiny amounts of dope into bags. There seems to be a marked unawareness of the public nature of this drug measuring. I draw the curtains. I break out the cheese and crackers. Offer some wine, (“No thanks, I have a headache.”) Sir Dick arrives, holds court, doesn’t phase him; the proceedings appear very social, very normal. It feels like a family gathering (with the exception that no-one is drinking alcohol but me), but for the constant measuring and bagging — okay, let’s just say it, trafficking — of an illegal substance.
No one asks me; no one seems to think it’s important.
I make a crack in the kitchen to Sir Dick:
“It’s like having the family drug cartel over for holiday cocktails.”
Sir Dick’s son doesn’t like the sound of that, and lets Sir Dick know on the drive home. In his opinion the country cousins are just sharing their country wares, performing a familial ritual.
No one explains any of it to me, of course.
Sir Dick and his cousins were raised Jehovah’s Witness. I finally one day looked up “Jehovah’s Witness” on Wikipedia because Sir Dick was annoying me. What I read informed me: cult-minded, exclusive-club style, better-than-the-rest mentality, studious, fervently committed to doctrine, proselytizing, EXILING, et cetera and so on… I ran downstairs, pointed at him, and said, “You’re a Jehovah’s Witness! I mean you, you aren’t, not now, but you, like, ARE.”
The subject had never come up before between us and I doubt it will again. It’s a private and large pain, the business of exile. Very complicated.
So that is how the new season begins: drugs, a rift with the son, the completion of the re-moving of debris from Sir Dick’s Hoarders house, home sweet small-town home.
It is around that Sir Dick goes insane. I manage to work around it for about a week. I pretend he isn’t insane. I ignore the outbursts. Then finally I called a spade a spade:
“WHERE ARE HER PANTS??”
“TOPS HERE, BOTTOMS HERE, CRAZY MAN!!”