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Through the train window near Martinez.
July 24th, 1999

Not In Print
The mouth is waking up. Waking up in that sections are burning and letting me know they exist. Still numb, but less so I think, and Upstairs neighbor, moving tomorrow the swelling seems to be less. When I was in Seattle my family mentioned the swelling when I arrived and then said they thought it had receded quite a bit over the next couple of days. This was puzzling since although the swelling has been receding, it's been happening over periods measured in weeks and any noticeable difference in a few days seems unusual. It occurred to me they were saying it to stroke my ego, sorry perhaps they'd brought it up in the first place. Which may be true, may not be true. I usually take things said to me at face value. If it's swollen, well it's swollen and I can check it in the mirror. It is swollen. Been that way for months. Even I can tell. If they say it's receding, well that's good too, a change in just a few days, except I'm not sure I can tell the difference. Curious.

It's not all that gross. I don't see anything untold in stranger's eyes when I'm introduced. Small children don't run away and hug their mother's leg or hide under the couch. Well, there was the little guy at the party, but I slapped him around good when they weren't looking and he straightened right up. They say you shouldn't punch them out when they're only one or two as it warps their little worlds and makes them nervous around adults, but that's an old wives tale. Get's there attention, it does. Makes them focus on what's really important in the scheme of life, which around here is my piece and quiet, go play in the traffic kid with the nice trucks.

I thought of dropping the "smack around the little kid" routine above, but then thought better of it. Lots of little kids getting smacked around by their parents in our world, we live in a culture that doesn't seem to like kids very much, but there's also this political correctness business that gives me the creeps. I'm old and I'm tired and I'm probably too politically correct, but I don't like to admit it out loud and certainly not in print.

The banner photograph was taken in the early morning just before reaching the Martinez bridge over the Sacramento river. The young lady was stretching at the family party last Sunday in Seattle.