One thing I like about Chaucer is that I’ll be reading along, minding my own business, and something will leap out and grab me by the mind, fierce fingers with long jagged nails digging deeply in, and say “WtF iS tHAt?
For example the line, “Selde is the Friday al the wowke alyk,” also known as “Seldom is Friday like other days in the week.”
I mean, why Friday? I swear, that one has bothered me for a long time now. Why Friday?
I’ll be in my monthly shower and bam. “Why Friday?”
I’ll be eating some diet cornbread made with bacon, butter, and eggs, and bam. “Why Friday?”
I’ll be cleaning my chain and bam. “Why Friday?”
Each time I wonder “Why Friday?” it sets off a chain reaction. What was it people used to do on Friday? What about Tuesday? Tuesday’s pretty damned special. I once knew a lady whose kid was named Tuesday. But I never knew any kid named Friday. Monday is the name of an awesome song, so awesome they repeated it twice in the title.
All that wondering stopped this morning as I lay on floor, eyes gazing at the asbestos stucco on the ceiling when I realized that Friday was unlike any other day of the week because it ushered in Saturday. Friday was the day of excitement, of anticipation, or as my East Texas lawyer buddy used to say, “It ain’t the flop on the bed, it’s the walk up the stairs.” [*Note: An East Texas girlfriend, upon hearing this aphorism, said “Sounds like that boy needs to get him some new flop.”]
Saturday, the day of the Donut, the day you open your eyes and the gore rolls through your veins like a thousand railroad trains, the day of battle, the day of grown men prancing around in form-fitting garish underwear, the day that friendship dies and is replaced by spitting, traitorous alliances of grim necessity, Saturday, the day whose unfolding will stay with you all the rest of the wowke, the day of the wild, the day that calls you.
For a couple months now the covids have put a full stop to the real Donut. Don’t get me wrong, a certain concatenation of creatures has continued to do their own Saturday “Donut” ride, thumbing their nose at the potential infliction of needless suffering and covid death, so strong is the call of Saturday.
But for me the call has ebbed with each wowke. Every Saturday it calls me, but it calls me less. Now that we’re on the edge of being permitted to go about the business of spreading covids in earnest, “reopening” as it’s euphemistically called, the call has become roar.
It’s tried to, anyway.
This morning I lay there and listened as hard as I could. There was a faint murmuring off in the distance, the clink of chains, the buzz of e-derailleurs, the wheeen of brakes on carbon wheels, the desperate pant of the drop.
I listened as hard as I could but all I heard was the call of the tame.
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