Dusk Memo (Happy Hour)

home, 2015@tombubul.info, @tombubul. Created 7/12/15.

November 2014 / May 2015 (for Mothers News)

I'm currently located at 40.7127° N, in the mid-atlantic area of the USA's east coast, where the day's length varies over the year's course from 15h5m (6/16-6/25) to 9h15m (12/17-12/25). It's 11/2014 and people are talking about how "it's getting dark early now."

My computer's "Dictionary" (v.2.2.1) calls "evening" "the period […] usually from about 6pm to bedtime." That's a loose interval if you don't have a bedtime, but taking "about 6pm" to mean "the end of the day," and "bedtime" to be "night's beginning," you can think of "evening" as a field bounded by "day" on one end and "night" on the other. During the summer, this field is pretty well-lit by e.g. surf, a milk moon, potions and bare arms reflecting, but in November at 40.7127° N it's a shadows-valley getting wider.

Dict calls "dusk" "the darker stage of twilight." It calls "twilight" "a period or state of obscurity [or] ambiguity." If you've got an oracle, wizard, seer, or older friend they'll tell you it gets heavy to walk through a widening valley of dark ambiguous obscurity by yourself when heading toward a long night. So they'll advise flipping it and having "happy hour," which is locally, sharply defined. You can know with certainty whether or not it's currently happy hour in a given place, and you can invite or share it with others. My clock's happy hour encompasses the period between leaving my work computer and sitting in my studio chair - so I never think about evening. When happy hour's over I can always confidently say that it's night, and can proceed with my work.

A happy hour for me is like:

On the way to our apartments a double-decker tour bus crawling the service road with top-deck riders in fleece headbands photographing buildings where people are working or doing private things across the East River eases by while I watch JS's bike while he buys wine.

At home I put on slippers. From my back window I look down into the pizza restaurant at the pizza man, mopping.

A good dinner is a whole trout. Get this at the fish counter "cleaned," it'll be about $9 and will feed two (sometimes three, definitely one). Oven to 425, fish on a foil sheet wiped with olive oil (butter for winter override), pepper it, put chopped garlic inside, cover it with lemon slices. Crunch the tinfoil around it completely and put that in a pan or on a baking sheet, which goes in the heated oven for 20 minutes. Make rice and steam broccoli while it's in there, or fry corn tortillas and chop cherry tomatoes, cilantro and green onions with salt and lime if you're doing it taco. This is a good dinner because it's very low on abstraction - it's a fish - so you'll have room for thinking about other things while you eat.

If anyone leaves dishes that's an ego demonstration equal in measure to resenting the dishes left by others. There is no righteous refusal during happy hour; dishes were either left or done and that's it. At happy hour the soapy dishwater flows from the city to the sea, and a giant iridescent bubble on dark waves shimmers with the total compassion of all roommates who stood at the sink to wash more than they made.

Does a hot bath's water running sound like black metal or isn't the steam hitting the bathroom night air at least like a faraway egg sizzling? Is it the highway or the wind I hear through open windows, or the bone whispers from the millions who've passed through these coordinates on winters before? It's a long time to go without stepping on grass sometimes. You could heat Providence with the heat leaving open windows above unadjustable cranking radiators.

Low static WKCR plays in a dim room, and someone's gotta get up to turn off Arts & Answers or the sports show soon, and it's only me and Mighty Crone in here, unless the cat's gonna do it, but so far he just pushes his face into my armpit while I do pushups or headstands. I read that Tezuka did these exercises in his studio too, which is just to say that the master also experienced a body which he pressed against walls and a floor.

Hearing the orchestra-tuning sound I'll feel myself thinking something in a semi-serious tone like "I know nothing about cities, but might know a little about rooms" or something in a jokey tone like "I might be getting better at painting… or I might be getting way, way worse," and I'll carry fresh paint water over to my studio chair and sit down.

What's a happy hour like for you?