Rendered Fat Content


Lucian and Mary Brown: Untitled
[baby standing next to bath tub] (c. 1950)

" … little wiser for my absence."

Much of the work I engage in around The Villa either induces a trance in me or requires that I induce a trance in myself as a precondition for participating. I cannot seem to retain my wits about myself when I'm attempting to complete some mindless task, but must first become adequately mindless myself. Different tasks require different trances and varying degrees of that magic mindlessness, and it can be a real challenge to shift and then switch back after completion. I can attest that I am not always successful, and frequently find myself stumbling only partly present into whatever comes next.

I will occasionally even embarrass myself like I did last night when I was juggling between starting supper and switching out of my paint scraping overalls.
The paint can opener fell out of the bib pocket onto the floor, as it always does, as I struggled out of that octopus suit. This sufficiently distracted me, that and the fact that when I upended the cuffs, a cascade of scraped paint quickly covered the floor. (The stove timer started going off just about then, and I slipped into my jeans, threw on a fresh shirt, then ran those overalls down to the washer in the basement, pleading with The Muse to please find a vacuum to suck up all that paint dust I'd left all over the bedroom floor. I threw the overalls into the washer and quickly started a cycle, then rushed up to the kitchen to stop that infernal stovetop alarm.

A few minutes later, I slipped my hand down to my pocket and noticed that I must have left my phone somewhere. I quickly ran upstairs as The Muse was coming down with a vacuum filled with paint scrapings, only to find my phone missing from its usual left behind places. I reversed direction and headed for the basement where I tore open the washer and started removing its now sloppy saturated contents. There, beneath the load, was my phone sitting in about four inches of soapy water. I grabbed it, thinking the phone would be spending the next week suspended in a pot of uncooked rice, wiping it on my shirttail. It still worked!

No apparent damage! I'm still not certain where my ear buds got off to. They were not in that laundry load, The Muse confirmed. I suspect that my hypnotized self probably left them in a shirt pocket out in the garage. They'll turn up.

The transitions can be troublesome, when, after an entire afternoon suspended within one well-focused realm, I'm expected to move into another. I might behave as if I've lost my mind, and, truth told, it's often the case that I've mislaid it, just misplaced it and it almost always eventually turns up. I sometimes hesitate before beginning some task, knowing for certain that I'm very likely to lose myself for the next few hours. The anticipation seems like I'm facing a little death, one which I'll most likely be reincarnated from, but that I'll still have to experience. I will exit then reappear later, little wiser for my absence. Mindless tasks seem to require at least this much absence.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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