So I was sitting here just minding my own beeswax yesterday when the strangest feeling came over me. A thought-voice, not my own, was whispering in my head, as if there was someone else in there besides me.
Unlike our former President, I’m not given to hearing voices in my head, so this seemed rather unusual.
The voice was distant, yet close. Right there. I couldn’t quite make out what it was saying. I closed my eyes, thinking that maybe if I wasn’t perusing Facebook and trying to think of witty things to say, I might hear it better.
It was a male voice. “Bagged,” he whispered.
Bagged? What in the world? What was bagged? Some groceries? A rabbit? A thief? None of these things had any immediate relevance in my life at the moment, though the word did remind me that I needed to run to the store. I didn’t, but today I have to. I’m out of soy creamer for my coffee. That’s serious.
I put my hands over my ears to block out the birdsong coming in the window. Little feathery suckers are really loud right now, it being Spring and all. Especially that little wren. I listened harder to the Voice.
“Not bagged,” he said. I think I heard a little chuckle, but I’m not sure. “I said wagged.”
Right. Wagged. “Wagged what?” I asked out loud, also whispering because I wouldn’t want my future son-in-law to hear me talking to people who aren’t there. Might make him nervous.
“No! Not wagged!” There was a disembodied sigh. “Tagged! I said tagged!“
“Like, tag, you’re it?” I inquired, remembering long, warm, giggly summer evenings playing tag with the neighbor kids on the front lawn, dodging mosquitoes and turning my feet and ankles green with grass stains. I smiled. This could be fun, but I wasn’t quite sure how one played tag with a voice in one’s head.
“Well, sorta like that,” the voice said, going all velvety and persuasive. “I know – go visit the Sprawling Ramshackle Compound. Everything will be clear.”
He was gone. I was alone in my mind again and oddly relieved. It’s a strange feeling to have someone else talking in there after a lifetime of total mental alone-ness. I took my hands off my ears, opened my eyes and, oddly compelled, clicked on Sprawling Ramshackle Compound in my blogroll.
He was right. It was all clear by the time I’d read the post he’d left at the top of the page. What a relief that the “voice” was that of Bubs, one of the Chicago area’s finest, a handsome, friendly family man with a penchant for cocktails, mannequin heads and the weird crime juxtaposition between Germany and Florida. He also has an irrational fear of clowns and alligators, but I won’t hold that against him. While I’ve never heard of alligators stalking the streets of suburban Chicago, I’d be afraid of both if they showed up unexpectedly around here, too. Live and learn! As Bubs says, you can never be too careful!
Now, it seems that Bubs, along with having a twisted sense of humor, has been practicing up on his telepathy skills. I’m here to tell you he’s getting pretty good at them, and I’d advise any crooks out there to watch out should they choose the Chicago area in which to commit crimes. Bubs will know. Believe me.
Anyway, what Bubs meant by “tagged” was that he’d tagged six of his blog buddies to complete a meme he’d been tagged with recently himself. He was being dutiful and passing it along, as per The Rules, but decided to test his telepathic powers instead of doing the tagging in the usual way. It’s hard to say if he really meant for me to be one of his six ‘taggees,” but maybe telepathy isn’t all that easy to control, after all. His thoughts could have leaked out and infected people at random, all over the country.
For all I know, there may be some confused old lady in Florida who can’t figure out what all that “tagging” was that she started thinking about, right after her 4:30 p.m. supper at the hofbrau with her fellow retirees.
“Really, Joseph! You want to play what? You’re in a wheelchair!”
Anyway, since I’m still feeling strangely compelled, I’ll complete the meme as Bubs ordered. Here it is – but first
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Well, Bubs certainly followed The Rules, even No. 6, even though he chose to do so in a typical Bubs-sort-of-way. Now I warn you, I’m pretty boring in real life (other than being virtually acquainted with a telepathic, tiki-hut-nut cop), but here goes:
1. I’m a natural blonde, but my hair is falling out, brushload by brushload. It’s because of the wicked arthritis drugs I’m taking. My hair isn’t falling out in patches but in strands all over my head, slowly, so my hair, which was once luxuriously thick is now distressingly thin. Given the choice between gnarled, useless hands before I’m 55 or wearing quirky, interesting hats for the rest of my life, I’ll take the latter. Maybe Bubs will send me one of his old policeman hats. Or maybe I’ll pretend to be Sinead O’Connor before she found religion. After all, bald is beautiful!
2. Speaking of Irish people, I hope to go to Ireland someday and spend a year there, at least. I’d like to see the Republic too, but I really want to go to Belfast in Northern Ireland so I can learn first-hand about the Troubles. See, I’m trying to write a novel about the place and its people but it’s hard to do having never been closer to Ireland than Massachusetts for a summer vacation with my grandparents. Also, I have no money and the world’s economy is falling apart. But I can dream, can’t I?
3. One of my favorite poets is Rainer Maria Rilke. This poem, in particular, stopped me cold one day a long time ago. I first read it in a different, more lyrical and less rhymy translation, but it’s still beautiful, even translated this way:
I live my life in widening gyres
which spread over earth and sky.
I may not ever complete the last one,
but that is what I will try.
I circle around God’s primordial tower,
and I circle ten thousand years long;
And I still don’t know if I’m a falcon,
a storm, or an unfinished song.
Those last two sentences got to me. I burst into tears.
4. I wish I could meet Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in Buckingham Palace like President Obama and the First Lady did yesterday. I was so envious! Of course, I’d have to buy new clothes and I hate shopping, so maybe it’s better that I don’t try for an audience with Her Majesty anytime soon.
5. I’ve nearly kicked a lifelong addiction to coffee. I know, that doesn’t mean much to you, but it does to me. I still love the stuff, but I can’t take the caffeine anymore. I’m down to four cups a day. I savor each one, slowly.
6. I absolutely love maps and I have no trouble at all reading them. When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do on rainy days was peruse the gigantic Atlas that came with the set of Encyclopedia Brittanicas my Dad bought when I was a baby. I’d open it on the floor in the living room and lose myself in it. That Atlas awakened my wanderlust before I even knew what a wanderlust was and made me want to travel all over the world. I’ve traveled some of it, but not all, so I’ve still got work to do.
And that’s it. Like Bubs, I don’t really want to tag anyone and make them feel they have to complete this meme, but I’ll try exercising my telepathic powers to contact those of you I’d like to know more about.
There. You know who you are. Start writing.