n Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, there is an eerie description of an abandoned house, one in a city that has been destroyed by war. The house is fully automated for the convenience of human living, but there is no one there to take advantage of it.
In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock! as if it were afraid nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
In the kitchen, the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk…. Eight-one, tick tock, off to school, run, run, eight-one! But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels…
When I first read it as a sophmore in high school, I immediately recalled my first impressions of a motel in Salt Lakes City.
On the second night of our trip, all five of us again stayed in a dingy two-bed motel room. The motel itself wasn’t much of a motel. It was the middle of August, but there was no water in the swimming pool. come to think of it, there was no pool, period. The motel was open, but there were few cars in the parking lot. It didn’t seem like a seedy place, where prositutes and drug dealers come to engage in business. But it had a rundown, desolate feel to it. In our room, I discovered an extra door, an oddity in most motel rooms in that most only have an entrance door and a bathroom door. Curious, I tried the knob and it turned, but the door was jammed. My mom said it probably led to the neighboring room, but the angle seemed wrong to me–there shouldn’t be another room next door–so I pushed into it with my shoulder. The door cracked open and I was greeted by the musty smell of a room that had been shut away for years. It was dark and I could see the fading light of setting sun silhouetting the city through the windows.
What are you doing! Mom asked excitedly in mock anger. I felt for a light switch near the door, and flicked it on. Within the glow of a pale low-wattage bulb, I found myself standing next to a small kitchen table set by the window. My eyes moved to the right and I noticed that this kitchen seemed like any other kitchen, with all the appliances found in any home: toaster, can opener, stove, and…
“Refridgerator!” I exclaimed, as I skipped to it. Food has always been an integral element of my version of paradise, so the site of an unknown refridgerator was akin to a large unopened Christmas present. But when I opened it, it was completely empty. The light was on, so it was obviously plugged in, but it was refridgerating nothing. Not much of a Christmas present.
That’s when I got a creepy feeling. Although fully equipped, the kitchen had been unused for years. A light film of dust covered everything and it reminded me of an exhibition at a museum. I had all the things you would expect in a living space, without the most important element–a living person. Spooked, I backed out of the room. I think Mom felt the same thing, as she quitely let me close the door.
An eerie sensation enveloped me for the rest of the evening, and I went to bed early, secretly hoping for the first time that my father would wake us up before dawn so we could leave this place as soon as possible.
Of course, when 4AM actually came, I had changed my mind. Again being dragged into the Rambler, we kids were back on the road driving toward my father’s birthplace, Idaho. The plan was to visit relatives who even I knew since they occasionally visited LA, and then go on to Yellowstone Park, the real name of Jellystone, home of Yogi the Bear. The drive was again lengthy, but the further north he trekked, the cooler it got. The road was long and straight and we were surround by nothing but open fields and farmland. After a few hours, we were hungry, bored and getting antsy.
Are we there yet?
Is there anymore cereal?
Isn’t it almost time for lunch?
I have to go to the bathroom!
Our father was silent, leaving mom to take care of us whiny kids. But a few beads of sweat did begin form on his forehead, the telltale signs of intestinal stress…
More important than lunch,
This poem was composed in 1989, and makes me laugh everytime I think of it, because it reflects my father to a tee. He was a man who was always busy and did not waste time. He used the facilities only when he absolutely had to. As a result, he would sometimes have emergency bathroom runs when he was driving. I remember a few times he would dart into a gas station on the way to work. Only eight more minutes to our destination, but when he had to go, he had to go. His waited for no one.
The Vixen has called me out again. Yes, I turned on the e-props again. I know that I previously stated that it was the comments and not the e-props that count. And I still stand by that position. But recent events have compelled me to record my recollections and as you have seen, I have set them to poetry, in a way, referring to the senryu composed by my father. I have always wanted put together a compilation of his poetry for him but I was always “too busy”, always putting it off until later. Well, now I regret my procrastination. So now, I have decided to record his poetry here on Xanga with comments and memories to personlize it. Anyway, I want as many people as possible to read his poetry, and I remember something that Sekura81 once said. I sometimes receive enough e-props to warrant an place on Xanga’s “Featured Content”, and it was through this link that she found me. Well, if more people come that way, then I will use it to “publicize” my father’s work, as it is now more of a collaborative effort and I know that he would definitely have liked e-props… When I work through all my demons, resolve my internal issues and revert to the solitary, normally insipid Onigiriman, I will also revert to no e-props…