Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Cukoo Cat Lady

The other day I was visiting my grandmother's nursing home eerily named "Happy Heights Nursing Home." I find this a curious name for a nursing home, for it is as if the residents are going on a joyous mountain climbing expedition that they will never return from. That mountain climbing expedition is death.

I love visiting my grandmother because she herself is an adorably classy and sweet woman who by her very nature opposes the rest of her wretched, wailing nursing home peers.

On this particularly wrinkly day, I was ascending the staircase (I always take the stairs because there is nothing more vomit-inducing then getting stuck in an elevator with a flock full of residents digesting their afternoon chili, their bowel smell merging with twelve different prescription ointments for shingles) when I heard what sounded like a bomb eruption.

I rushed upwards towards my grandmother only to find the noise coming from the room of Ms. Shucklemore, my grandmother's peculiar third floor neighbor. I peeked my head in her doorway and what I saw made me GASP!

Ms. Shucklemore had mounted twenty-four plus Cuckoo Clocks on her wall. The wall was gaping with weight. The Cuckoo Clocks all looked very similar, almost identical, except for one slight different quirk on each. That alone, I believed was enough to make anyone go mad. Like trying to pinpoint a killer in a police lineup of Octuplits. These clocks were mounted over this frighting blue and black striped wallpaper. It was more decoratively frightening than actually spooky...but none the less left me terrified.

In front of the clocks stood Ms. Shucklemore in her floral mumu, her cat Cliloris by her side, his eyes bulging with anxiety.

"Ms. Shucklemore! Those clocks are kind of loud. Did you set them all for the same time? I think you may disturb the other residents," I shouted at her, fearing her hearing-aids may not be in.

"You! These cuckoo-clocks would never disturb anyone, we are in a god damn nursing home! Like any of these buffoons hear anything! They couldn't hear their own god damn thoughts in a library," Ms. Shucklemore shouted back at me.

What a delightfully polite woman I thought.

Ms. Shucklemore, composed herself apologetically and got real quite. She scanned the clocks with her eyes as if taking in an incalculable miracle.

"These cuckoo-clocks are not a disturbance, they are a revelation. You see, none of my clocks have never been set to go off at the same time, and I didn't set these clocks. They just started merging, all on there own, as if my petty life was aligning with something greater. Some more perfect time all together."

"Geez-us" I said, "You are very wise and mystical for a crazy old woman in a mu-mu."

"That is just it" she spoke, "Am I crazy because I witness something no one else does? Or am I a genius? Do other people's perceptions ever even matter anyways? Or all we all on our own?"

"Like woah" I said in shock, "You are like some sort of poet."

"That is exactly what I perceive myself to be," Shucklemore spoke.

Suddenly, the cuckoo clocks started doing something very peculiar. They started ticking a rythmic beat, a beat that Ms. Shucklemore started to speak in synch with. She then recited the deepest, most profound poem on Existence I have ever heard, read or witnessed. She articulated it in a dramatic fashion, pausing when necessary, giving life to the words as if they were spontaneously arriving on her lips as a revelation...

Silence. Lets begin.

The Scene I See
by Edna Shucklemore

Is this really it, or me?
Is this really IT, or me?

For I have felt the pangs of joy
Amidst the waves of tragedy

Is this really it, or me?
Do I make or see?

No person I ever knew
Or shook
ever turned out to be me

Do I wear a sweater on my brain
Or is the sweater in my veins

(For fabric clothes
And inevitably molds
But in the thickest wool turtleneck
I have still felt free)

So it has been my fate you see
To travel down roads collapsing with calamity
And laugh and giggle
And roll cigarettes and wiggle
And swear to a jury
That I was on a road brimming with majesty

I have sat in empty rooms
With no doors or windows-
Any other soul would weep
Knowing no company forever
they would keep

Yet with the blink of my mind’s eye
I wake in surprise
To find myself dancing at a ball
Surrounded by the gorgeous millions

So is this It?
Or me?
Is this really IT?
Or me?

For all the psychic abnormalities in the world
Could never convince me
That I wasn’t me

So where is the terror in being different
In seeing worlds where others see dust
Where is the joy in being indifferent
When choirs of robed angels could rejoice
your every huff and puff

So walking down roads all alone
Full of mildew, stains, mold
And dripping birdshit the size of homes
Seems in the end, to me...
Rather like Eternity

Nowhere to suffer,
Nothing to prove
All the joy and beauty
dancing together

The scene itself
Or seen itself
Is always on the move...

With that Ms. Shucklemore ended and smiled at me with her gleaming eyes, to signal that the poetic moment had ended. Even Clilorlis the cat had fallen into a soft, peaceful slumber. So I turned quietly on my heels and left Ms. Shuckemore in peace. From my grandmother's room as we sipped tea in silence, I swore I could hear the quiet tick-tock of twenty-four cuckoo-clocks all in perfect, eternal synch.

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