Scooter Memories Part III

by Jeremy-Joseph Rosen
jeremy rosen
Jeremy-Joseph Rosen is an author, ingenue,
rabble-rouser and roust-a-bout.

Scooter was asleep on a train. He was in that half somnambulant state, the one caused by any type of close-quarter travel. The largest portion of the previous evening had been spent nursing one beer bottle, one cigarette after another and attempting to trace chains of facts through his mind. This was not an exercise he participated in often, but thinking of the East somehow brought this conscious-subconscious game out into the open.

He began staring at the cracks in his ceiling, laying there on the bed. The shoes on his feet dangled just on the edge of the mattress, a mannerism he adopted when he was young after his father taught him that shoes did not belong on the bed. Boots troubled him. With any other kind of shoe it was quite easy to keep the shoe off of the bed, but Scooter always saw all of the boot as the shoe. And because of this, whenever the extra material of a boot touched mattress, he felt a little guilty.

Mind viewed reality and began its process. Shoes come in many styles and serve many uses. They are sold in shoe stores, department stores and on that internet. People who made shoes were called cobblers. Scooter did not know why some pies were also called cobblers.

It was a suspicion of his that these were somehow related, but he’d never looked it up. Some shoes were made with nails at one point in time, but were no longer as far as Scooter knew. Medieval cobblers must have had a very deep relationship with blacksmiths. Maybe there had been a lot of households made up from the children of cobblers and blacksmiths.

The soles of shoes were often glued on these days. They had treads of all sorts and these mentioned in crime dramas as a way of identifying the killer. Sadly, no comedy had ever effectively used the possibility of humour in place between the sole of a shoe and the fish of the same name. Oh, it had been tried, but Scooter could not name one such instance he actually found funny.

Shoe laces were usually measured in inches or centimeters, but the size of shoes themselves was based on some arithmetic progression the basis of which was never quite evident. Here Scooter noted another fact he’d never bothered to check.

Another hour was spent on the measurement systems that Scooter knew, but the fog at three in the morning began to close in. When he arrived at the train station, burning eyes and weakened body, Scooter had forgotten all about it.

He was on his way.

Something in the way train manufacturers tinted windows had always bothered him. It produced a light unnaturally imbued with blue. That blue, it seemed, was never conducive to total relaxation, always teasing the mind to look out the window. There were nice things to look at out of the window, garbage, decay, polluted canals and lonely stretches of brush, but the people on the train were always a problem for Scooter.

scooter image

Communal property like the seats on a train was a puzzle. No one really owned it. They may pay for it with their taxes, but it really wasn’t theirs. Yet most people who got on a train were so very territorial, spreading the detritus of their travels on surrounding seats, glaring at other passengers who sat near them, somehow violating a nationalistic sphere of influence.

Sometimes Scooter noticed people who mucked about with such conventions, taking the seat which would interfere with later passengers the most, keeping the seat when someone sat next to them (rather than move over and leave a space between), people who stood too close or breathed too hard. More than normal travelers, he wondered what the problem was with these people.

What psychopathology led these deviants to irritate and aggravate the tensions already in place on public transportation? Which neurons were wired another direction, leaving something lacking in these malformed cretins? There must be some unholy compulsion about them.

Neither camp of train warrior bothered him. Scooter just found these people curious. All other travelers were of either of these two groups. When a person sat down next to Scooter, he would try to guess which group the new person belonged in and see how he felt about it.

A beautiful girl sat down next to him.

“Hello,” he sighed.

She glanced at him, discomfort showing, then calm.

“Hello,” she said.

She pulled out a bright yellow book from her knapsack. The cover read “Poetry for Dummies.”

He thought, “oh, one of them” and dozed off for a while.

Those dummy books had bothered him recently. He read somewhere in the last couple of years that it was doubly dumb to learn from something whose basic assumption was that you were stupid. It said it tongue-in-cheek, but everyone accepted the moniker in their own way and no doubt the publishers and writers had a dull time creating it, except when they thought of the drooling plebeians who would disburse income on the things.

Scooter was coming close to declaring that people who bought the books probably were dummies. He saw one on philosophy the other week and wondered why? Philosophy was about thinking. No matter its length or subject matter, it was thinking and it was intended to make you think. Dummies books didn’t involve thinking, so it appeared to be wasted pages. Readers likely could have learned more picking up one philosophy book and really getting to know it.

It was the same way with music. The fans went out and bought tons of plastic and vinyl and spent virtual eternities shuffling it as bits through device after device. Did you ever get to actually know anything about someone’s music like that? They picked up facts, lots of them: who produced this record, what style of music these people belonged to, where that record label was based.

All this knowledge was really used for was to look down one’s nose at someone else. It wasn’t passion, not in any true way. It was fetish. They got off on it, but not in the way that music first touched them. It was childishly adult. Boorish.

He roused for a bit and looked out the window.


Scooter looked out the window. Now that was interesting.

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