Sunday, October 9, 2016

i’ve got a new spot with prickly pickle pods, unsettlement, cubs in october

I’ve got a new spot by the river tucked up on a little sandy slope in among the vines and ferns. If I look to my right, this is what I see.

See the fat little pickles with bristles? I didn’t until the day after I took the picture and I wished I had my camera so I could take a picture of the bristly pickle pods. I’d never seen such things. I still have no idea what they are. There are three of them hanging from a long, winding, yellow vine. I searched around a bit for more prickly pickles, but saw none. Later, back home, I looked at the pictures I’d taken the day before, and there they were, two of them, anyway, and I wondered how I could take a picture of prickly pickle pods without seeing them.

But mostly I have been feeling a little nuts because the Cubs are in the playoffs again. I wrote a poem about it. It’s long, nonsensical, but, so what? Maybe that’s poetry.

Unsettlement: The Cubs in October
a poem for the masses

I try to take it in stride, cannot.
October and the Cubs do not mix.
I don’t care what anyone says—
it’s unnatural, rare, and never,
never, in my experience or that
of any Cub fan younger than 108,
a thing that ends well.

Hey now, wait a minute.
Aren’t we supposed to enjoy this?
The drama.
The best team in baseball.

The regular season is over, that’s all I know.
A wonderful season of 103 wins.
(58 losses.)
I miss it.
It’s done.
Now this.


On the phone
I chuckle and laugh
with the local internet
help guy, and then I haggle
and laugh with a woman in Ohio
(she works for SlingTV) because I’m
trying to get the tiny SlingTV picture on
my TV screen to grow large, to fill the screen;
you see, I need to stream TV, several channels, to
watch October baseball because the Cubs are playing
October baseball and this thing called SlingTV has the
necessary channels (I think) so here I am, modern life once
again (I did this last year, canceled in November) but there’s this
problem with this tiny picture and how to fix it—is it the settings in
the Sling app (and when did “app” become a word?) or is it the settings
in the Roku box or the settings in the TV?

I take a break from
  • vacuuming flies off windows
  • a mega marathon of candlemaking
  • tranquil moments in a new spot along the river
in order to explore these modern settings.

The local internet help guy is on my side,
as always, which is why I call there first.
And turns out we have the same view of
a certain presidential candidate—oh,
the places we go.
He thinks we better call Sling and
he is the first to find a phone number so
he calls, and then, back on the phone with me,
I go to my Sling settings and who knew that
under “Closed Captions” there were all these
strange things like “Window Opacity” and
“Edge Color” and if there are default
settings for these things, and there
are, why don’t the settings start
there, at the default? Why
must I go now into the
depths of Sling
to click

We do the verbal hokey-pokey,
the internet help guy and I,
and you just try it:
Say “opacity” aloud.

Still the tiny picture
on the big TV screen.

So I call Ohio, where Sling is,
and I don’t remember her name,
I was just glad to be talking to someone
who seemed not too far away.
She was in Columbus, actually.
Originally from Michigan, she said, had
been to the U.P. maybe once. But
at first I got a little cranky because the
problem, she said, could be anywhere.
Anywhere? How does that help?
Anywhere but in the Sling app
—oh, yeah
so either the problem is in the Roku,
or the problem is in the TV,
so the problem is not

We get down to it.

Following her instructions, I go to my Roku settings.
Go to “Display type.” Choose “720p HD TV.”
It had been “4:3 standard.”
A default setting?
Who knows.

She fixed it!
A soccer game from Ireland (or somewhere) fills the screen from
yin to yang
from fore to aft.

(And I don’t care who that woman in Columbus is voting for, I like her.)

Later I will really really want whiskey and cigarettes
(we are waiting forever for this game to start!)
and to cut my hair and then
I get this vague feeling
that last year I went through this same
whole thing with SlingTV,
this tiny picture,
get on the phone,
720p … and maybe even
the local internet help guy
knew this
and was kind of
humoring me …
laughing at me … (as
we did the hokey pokey)
this Cub fan! lost,
so lost

in October.

We are all so vulnerable.
When it comes right down to it,
Vulnerability is Our Name.
Though some we call Gullible.
As in Gullible’s Travels.

Which is when I must admit:
This is October and the Cubs
are here in October and that is
a rare thing not known by anyone
to end well
forgive me for
not taking it in stride
but for
weaving side to side
like a drunken
bald-headed baseball
flicking ash
dancing the hokey pokey
while maybe just maybe
a few stitches

Game One NLDS: Cubs 1, Giants 0
Game Two NLDS: Cubs 5, Giants 2