Thursday, March 22, 2007


My name is maht. I am a "blogger" residing in the city of Chicago, which sits beside an enormous lake. It is a humble city, but I am permitted to tell you that it is perhaps the largest Chicago in the world. It is certainly the largest on the surface of the planet.

I am returning to "blogging" after an absence of nearly 40 years. I have been informed that I spent the first 20 years in a catatonic state, rising occasionally to dance when a good song played on the radio, but otherwise unengaged. They tell me that I then heaved (or possibly hove) a long, weighty sigh and fell asleep for another 20 years.

They tell me these things over and over again, at ear-splitting volume, because they seem to think—these doctors and nurses who come around every thirty minutes or so—that I am either deaf or stupid. I do my best to be both, as I hate to disappoint people.

When I get tetchy, I point out that although I have been living in seclusion within their walls for nearly 40 years, I am still only 33 years old. This makes one of the nurses cry. Every time. I don't want to have that kind of power over her.

In my day, I kept what would probably be called an "analog blog." Although this is already short for "analog weblog," it can be further reduced to "anablog." We kept these "anablogs" by moving an ink-filled tube across a pulverized mass of tree flesh known as paper. When we finished a thought or a page, we either ate the paper or burned it as fuel.

It was essential that no one ever know what we had written. Something about Communism, I think.

Before that, "blogs" were kept by carving symbols into clay tablets, which were then baked in a kiln for six hours, ground up, and used to make sidewalks. Some of these sidewalks still exist, and if you lower your head right down next to them you can almost feel the amateur poetry and the stories about children, pets, work, entertainment, and a host of other things from these long-gone days.

A nurse has just been in the room. She told me that it is not necessary to put quotation marks around all of the terms relating to blogs. In the stunned silence that followed (How did she know what I was writing? Do I write the same thing each day? Or are they merely watching me?), she stabbed me in the leg with a needle filled with a clear fluid. I do not mind being drowsy, even though it does not mean I will fall asleep.

I told her I am 33 years old, and she did not cry, because she is not the nurse who cries when I tell her this. Instead, she looked at me for a long moment and then spoke:

"At night, I hear two women fighting noisily in the street outside of my apartment," she said. "If I hear the sound of breaking glass, then I will also hear a police siren after an interval of seven to thirteen minutes. The darkened living room of my apartment will flash blue and red for a little while, and then it will be both quiet and dark again."


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I love your writing, it works on so many levels.

Chris said...

Love it, especially the surrealism of the last paragraph.

Debi said...

This has some wonderful touches! I especially loved the words lurking in the pavements. (Sorry - sidewalks.)

Anonymous said...

Oddly beautiful, Mr T.

Not sure I understand it all (I'm a moron, remember?) but I plan on reading it again in a bit. I too loved that last paragraph - the words were as solemn and dark as the scene she described. Quite lovely.

Unknown said...

Oh this was brilliant Maht. I loved it from the opening quirkiness of the largest Chicago in the world, when I didn't realise I was reading a fictional post to the weirdness, but beautiful imagery of the last. Great work.

basest said...


Liz Dwyer said...

Love it. And good thing that nurse doesn't live in LA...she might hear breaking glass but never the a police siren.

Unknown said...

I don't think anyone's ever felt my amateaur poetry - ah well.

Unknown said...

I don't think I've ever been able to spell 'amateur' either!

Caroline said...

I'm with GT on this. Oddly beautiful.

The Moon Topples said...

Zinnia: That's awfully flattering. Thanks.

Chris: The surrealism of the last paragraph? Glad you liked it, though.

Debi: Yeah, I try to use location-neutral nouns when I can. I don't blog much about elevators, or the trunk of my car. I needed sidewalk here, though.

GT: Thanks for the comment. It's OK that it didn't make total sense to you. It was a window into my restless mind last night, and I'm sure there are elements which are somewhat nonsensical to anyone who isn't me.

Verilion: Thanks, and I'm sorry if I tricked you.

Basest: Thanks. I really should get over and comment on your blog today. I promise I will.

Liz: Location, location, location. Although even in LA, it really depends on what part you live in.

Minx: There's two reasons for that. First, you're not actually an amateur, and second, you weren't blogging in the days of tablets. No shame in that.

Caroline: Nice to see you again, and thanks for the compliment.

Pants said...

You clever sod. Why didn't I think of this ploy?

Ms Baroque said...

Aw, Maht. And your nurse is an oral blogger!

Do you still look 33?

The Moon Topples said...

TSP: I'm not sure I understand your use of the word "ploy" in that statement. If you come back, please explain. Also "clever" and "sod."

Ms. B: I do indeed look 33. How could I not?