Posted: June 24, 2006 in The Roper Files

Summer has just started and the temperature has hovered around 95 since Memorial Day. It was 100 degrees the day after Easter; I came home from work and found a dying baby owl behind my house. Texas is in the second year of a record drought; it’s rained once in the last two months. The air conditioner’s been running non-stop; can’t wait for the next electric bill.

Each and every day begins with coffee and more coffee while I stare at the computer and feel like the John Turturro character in BARTON FINK. This is why I haven’t been blogging lately; I just don’t like to blog when I have nothing to say. But I’m OK; thanks for all those concerned e-mails. Summer is only a month old and I’m already deep in my usual summertime malaise. All the usual symptoms are in full bloom. My sleep patterns are getting weird and I have almost no appetite. Sleep only happens when I’m totally exhausted. It’s 5am right now and I’m on my third cup of joe already and INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS is on cable. In between the softcore porn this is the time of day they show non-commercial stuff like this. If I get up pre-dawn, I always turn on the cable; it’s when they show the more oddball movies.Five o’clock is also that magic time of day in Texas when the sun hasn’t been baking everything for almost nine or ten hours and you can turn off the damn air conditioner and open up the house. The Mexicans are asleep and I don’t have to listen to their jungle-rhythm car stereos for another few hours. There’s a dried-up creek in the middle of the next block; I can hear all kinds of birds calling to each other in the trees. Sometimes I go for walks around the neighborhood for exercise and to clear my head. But I always come back depressed; my neighborhood looks like a war zone. Everytime I turn around, another once-familiar building or house has been reduced to rubble. This is always followed by truckloads of Mexican construction workers lining the streets for the next nine months as a new set of condominiums goes up. My landlord used to have a beautiful view of downtown Fort Worth from his kitchen window; now he has a grey wall of condos instead.

Over in Dallas the Arcadia Theater went up in flames this week. Built in 1929, it was the first air-conditioned theater in Dallas and had well-deserved historic status. During the early 80’s it was resurrected as a concert venue. I saw the Ramones there at least four times as well as Black Flag, the Cure, Love and Rockets, the Cramps, the Butthole Surfers, the Circle Jerks, Sonic Youth (who sucked), Public Image Ltd, and Robert Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists. Watching the rooftop sign go up in flames live on the afternoon news was quite depressing. The fire started in a restaurant in the same block.

Maybe this is part of my problem; just like the before-mentioned disappearing neighborhood landmarks, I was watching another landmark of years past burn. Live. On TV.

An image I had no desire to see branded into my consciousness. This makes me feel dirty; unclean. Can’t take enough showers. Can you wash away depression, insomnia, loneliness and boredom? Don’t know, but I’m giving it a good try. So far it’s not working, but at least I smell nice.



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