Thursday, July 6, 2017

9709. RUDIMENTS, pt. 5

Making Cars
You take a phrase like 'in the slowness
of time,' and what does it mean? In
speaking of the trajectory, say, of
someone's career or talent, it would
be used to mean how that 'talent'
developed over the course of years,
whether those were years of
performance or application and
effort. More than likely too, as one
looks back, it appears more as the
swiftness of time than it does any
slowness. Let me tell you a story :
the town I was living in, just before
I took off for New York was 'Avenel'
NJ. 'A venal place,' as I used to put it.
In my little-knowing way, how right I
was. I never really know until years later.
'Venal' is quite a word. But, wait, let
me digress. In religion there's also a
word, 'venial'  - and this is where it
got really confusing  -  having nothing
to do with 'venal', which refers to graft
and bribery.  Biblical, Protestant, Catholic,
all these church people, incredibly, from
very early on, the very formative years
of Christianity, in fact, and then still a big
bone of contention in the 1530's with
Martin Luther and all that. You've hard
of the crazy church people who used to
argue the stupidest of things  - like 'how
many angels could dance on the head of
a pin.' Yeah, go on, really. Well, those
same 'Church fathers' and saints too,
they'd endlessly 'prioritize the pulpit,'
(using a self-made phrase), in deciding
the differences between what were called
mortal; sins (murder, death, unbridgeable
violence), sins of which you pretty much
had no way out from, you were doomed.
However, they came up with a 'lesser' level
of sinning, calling it 'venial'.Which could
be salvaged and from which you had
chances of being whole again  -  theft,
road-rage' ( of that day), corruption,
adultery, etc. Which is where those
'indulgences' came in that so incensed
Luther and became formative parts of
the Protestant movement. When Rome
ran the show, it was possible to bribe or
give money towards Rome, to the Papacy
via the local churches and monasteries
everywhere. It was all as corrupt as brown
toilet rags, but everyone went along.
So, anyway, venal was Avenel. Venial
was just a dumb digression on my part.
Now, where the heck was I? Oh, yeah.
In Avenel, that last Spring I was there,
I spent a lot of time just walking around,
hanging around too. There was a really
grubby train station (still is) which at
this time, oh 1966 I guess, was but a
platform, one for each side, with a small
wooden shed on each, for seating a for
protection. They're all gone now and all
they have are these bus-station type
glassed-in booth where a few people can
sit to wait, out of the bad weather and the
elements. The old station sheds I'm referring
to were in disrepair but still used. In the
1940's I'd bet they were in nice shape,
almost like a real sheltered waiting room,
on the NY bound side anyway. So, as
they say, and as I mentioned in the
opening here, in the slowness of time
a situation developed. I began meeting
my girlfriend up there, clandestine
meetings, because her parents really
disliked me, at first, being around. She
sneak out, claim to be going to the library,
whatever. I'd sit up there, always with some
paper, sketchbook stuff, and just hang
around, maybe reading something or
drawing a train or people, etc. She'd
show up, we'd sit for 20 minutes or
so, and be done. (Both of us lived
quite near to this station, from opposite
side of the tracks, each). I don't remember
how it happened, but the same guy started
seeing me daily or nearly daily, during the
work week. I didn't know what 'gay' was
back then, but I realize now he most
probably was  -  all the attributes of that,
I see now. Natty dresser, white chinos,
loafers or nice leather shoes, an all that
insouciance and brevity with emotion
that some fellows sometimes wield. (By
the way, yes, this does have to do with
the 'slowness ' of time, which I'll sum
up at the close). He came over asked to
see my drawing, and started explaining that
he was a 'professional' advertising artist, in
some ad agency, for magazines and fashion
audiences. And then he began, each time, 
recurring often enough, to tell me about 
'fashion sketching' for ads and style 
magazines, how it was a nice career 
option, and something I maybe should
think about, etc. - last thing on my list 
but I didn't tell him. (He was, perhaps 
28, I'd figure. Old enough, I guess, then,
to make me figure he was a real 'art-pro.'
Along the way, he showed me the stipulations
for fashion figure drawing, for use in graphic
advertising and newspaper ads. How it was
important for the big companies, Lord & Taylor
and all that. How the 'proportions' of the models
being portrayed had to be done to certain ad
standards. I forget exactly now, but the distance
between the eyes had to correspond to 1/3 of the
length of the face, the distance from neck to
forehead had to match ear-line to ear-line. It was
all things like that  -  measurements, proportion,
balance and poise, depicted in sketch lines
to show off dresses or handbags or coats.
Not to overpower or take precedence, but as
a background noise for the fashion or garment
being portrayed. I'd listen, nod, say OK, all that
stuff. Passing time, wondering about him. He
had a nodding acquaintance with my girlfriend,
from seeing her comings and goings.
All was good.
Practicing my craft, as it were, for the slow passage
of time to make it, and me, better, that slowness
of time soon enough brought me to a serious
and problematic impasse with this fellow. (Who
one day just stopped coming around. I never
saw him again). It was probably good, because
I would have had to pop him one. My girlfriend
and I were finding 'romantic' getaways in the
nearby two or three empty boxcars which were
always present at the rail siding by the lumber yard
and cabinet company. They were hidden from the
road (Inman Ave.), and concealed too from the train
station  -  and they were always empty and always
open. (Like my mind? I heard you). So anyway,
this creep one day starts asking me if I'd had 
any 'sexual' progress yet, as he put it, with this 
girlfriend. I said no (none of his business anyway) 
 -  and he then proceeded, blow by blow (ahem) 
to tell me the progress that would be ensuing. What
she'd 'want,' how it would start, what to do, how to
go about it, and the rest. While he didn't, certainly,
'rion the plot' for me, no  -  he was still being a
quite creepy guy. I thought. Fullness of time,
be damned.

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