There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Transitarian mental health

I finished Richard Brautigan's "In Watermelon Sugar" Saturday while drinking a coffee at the Starbucks on Watt Avenue near the wasteland created by the death of Tower Books and Records.

This is a fun, if odd, book:

The night was cool and the stars were red. I walked down by the Watermelon Works. That's where we process the watermelons into sugar. We take the juice from the watermelons and cook it down until there's nothing left but sugar, and then we work it into the shape of this thing that we have: our lives.
As part of a transitarian mental health exercise, I had gathered up my book of three Brautigan works and a bus schedule and started walking. Since the 82 bus only runs every hour, I made it from my house to Watt Avenue on foot. Three bus routes cover the part of Watt I needed to traverse and so it was just a matter of waiting. I was headed for Emigh Hardware on El Camino with a planned stop at Starbucks. It was a nice way to kill a couple of hours.

Richard Brautigan's writing has a wonderful way of evoking emotions and memories in simple, almost childlike images:

We walked back to iDEATH, holding hands. Hands are very nice things, especially after they have travelled back from making love.
At the end of the book is a brief biography of Richard Brautigan. Sitting in Starbucks, I wrote the last sentence as a poem and then I added my interpretation. The result looked something like this:

DRIVEN TO DRINK in a small silver car, he rode in the back seat
AND DESPAIR rode in the front. He couldn't see the sun through Despair.
HE COMMITTED SUICIDE in the dark with a gun. Outside
IN BOLINAS the sun shone brightly.
CALIFORNIA was a state of mind
AT THE AGE of Aquarius, but not in September 1984. Nothing
OF FORTY-NINE years of his life made him imagine more.

Eventually I made my purchase at Emigh and made my way by bus and by foot back home, my mental state much improved.

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