I'm told I have a symphony from hell in my chest.

This great Friday night: fly-blown and beer redolent, resounding with the subsonic backbeat booming from the trunks and rear seats with words of racial hatred, fantasies of bullet-riddled cops echoing up Texas Street, the odor of charred American cattle wafting in blood smoke along Madison Avenue, the fresh-cracked nut-sack-grabbin' beauty of newly opened 40s or Fortays! Muthfucks! Know I'm sane? It's an August summer Friday night and anything can happen, homeys, except the real beautay, the mojo-carazaay-makin' bootay in the night possibilitay is that you ain't got to do shit tomorrow, man. Know I'm sane? Nothin' has to happen tomorrow. That happens to be what I'm hearing: painting what one sees, that sort of thing. And that is as close to an apology as you will get for any lapse of political correctness. It is also by way of celebrating an aspect of Friday that I don't recall having done to date -- though who knows? And that is the theoretical lack of obligation to do much of anything on Saturday. I say theoretical because so many of us, in fact, have much to do every day of the week, and I suppose some must clean out the garage, mow lawns, etc. on Saturdays for the missus. Still, the Maytag repairman receding further and more entrenched into myth may in fact be reemerging as Everyman eventually.

I let that opening paragraph stand, having written it just before falling asleep on my futon mattress and waking up to cartoons and the intimations of oppressive heat yet again gathering during the daylight hours. The first and most imperative directive that occurred to me was that I must vacuum, but that required that I first set out on a quest for a replacement filter for the device, the once popular Dirt Devil now gone the way of spats and breadmakers, by all evidence. The ambition involved in this shopping prospect kicked in a kind of lethargy and sense of pointlessness that I suppose only accompanies/accents a long absence from the expensive antidepressants I have become convinced are necessary. My lapse in taking them involves another issue for which I've come under fire in a recent piece about medical insurance, a subject to which I am not in the mood to return at the moment. "Why don't you just take them? Well, get insurance. Don't you have Medi-Cal?" After a year of forms, I have discovered that I am too wealthy for Medi-Cal.

I am still asleep. This is clear. The above is semiconscious dream babble.

I digress, I know. All will be explained. It has to do with anaesthetic administered recently (by professionals, not me).

So, with what I will only describe as inspiration found in the inherent vacuity of Saturdays (my experience since childhood, really. Mom's fault with her mindless, demented busywork for its own sake? Jeez, probably.) I decided I had found my theme for today's text, and I will take today as it is: no theoretical Saturday but the very one in hand.

Fully awake, well, more or less, now.

I am at UCSD in Hillcrest to have my bypass device replaced. It is Saturday, and I have been here since Wednesday afternoon.

Boredom is seldom a problem for me, probably because I instinctively create chaos around me if I feel things are dull, but, Lord, I am bored. Daytime TV is one thing, Saturday television another order of torturous idiocy. After multiple tests, I have to remain in bed doing nothing for days until the electrocardiology team is available, after tennis or golf, presumably.

One break in the boredom (aside from my escapes to smoke; yes, I am a fool, but human) is the arrival of a Dr. Burns, who looks like an actor who plays paternal types. He stands at the foot of my bed and says to me, "You have serious kidney problems, you know this? Have they explained to you the dialysis schedule?"

"What? No one has mentioned anything about my kidneys. Not a word. I am, uh, urinating like a champ. I'm here for a pacemaker, defibrillator, and bronchitis. I'm told I have a symphony from hell in my chest (a direct quote from an examining doctor) but nothing about my freaking kidneys!"

"You'll eventually have to accept the reality, Mr. -- may I see your wrist band?" Gladly. "Oh, I'm sorry. Never mind." Doctor Burns leaves with a smile.

My heart is now doing a new kind of rumba. I am sweating with both fear and relief. Eventually I think of it as a humorous anecdote for the future. Meanwhile, the killing Saturday boredom renounces itself. PBS fails me. Golf. Multiple other sports involving balls pitched through various apparatuses. Television has rarely distracted me from anything anyway (although I like House). The fact that Matlock has recently become interesting panics me in a most desperate way.

My left shoulder feels as if it has been gun-shot, just missing the heart where the sterling silver (they tell me) device has been situated. No painkillers, I have to bum Excedrin from neighbors. Am I crying for sympathy? Very well then, but I am merely trying to clarify the tone of this piece.

Bastard deserves it, I can hear ordinary f--ing people chorus. I will remain on what I construe as moral high ground and say only this: You all deserve Saturdays.

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