Hello. I’m busy, so busy, but not too busy to remember. Oh, no . . . never too busy to remember.
I just had a flash of when I was living in Manhattan. Five good friends of mine and I used to hang out at this café downstairs from our apartments. The best seats in the house were always there waiting for us, which was weird now that I think of it, as all of the seats in all of the other cafes in New York are usually taken by scruffy people talking into their cell phones or talking to themselves. Maybe it was because the manager had a crush on one of my friends, and another used to play guitar there at nights. Another one got divorced a lot.
That was before I moved to Seattle to become a radio personality and care for my father, a retired police officer who had been injured while on patrol.
So all of the art students are smoking again. Smoking, not-smoking, smoking . . . Jesus God, it’s like a tennis match of vice. There was a cute one on the street today, skateboarding; I almost ran him over with my car. I suppose I could have aimed at him and then nursed him back to health in our guest room. Then I could chop off his body parts one by one and call him a dirty birdy until he paints me a portrait of Goblin Foo.
In other news, this has made me inexplicably happy.
I am addicted to internets. The other night, I got home from a late meeting, greeted Goblin with the promise of a walk as soon as I checked my email, and plunked myself down at the computer. Four hours later, my little Boston terrier was doing a frenetic pee-pee dance as I plucked idly at the spider web connecting my head to the monitor.
I am also addicted to situation comedies from the eighties and nineties, a habit that formed while I knitted a never-ending baby blanket and needed something to do with my eyes while my hands were occupied. This activity is enabled by TiVo, who is only too happy to grab every available episode of “Murphy Brown,” “Just Shoot Me,” and “Frasier.” It takes some of these from the middle-of-the-night airings sponsored entirely by sex hotlines and medical studies of cocaine users, two of the only addictions I have successfully avoided (although they have recently started running ads for gay sex hotlines, so get ready to call Betty Ford). The great thing about sitcoms is that, when you speed past the commercials, they’re only about seven minutes long, the perfect duration for eating a peanut-butter sandwich or polishing Goblin’s toenails.
A year ago, I was going through about ten books a week; now, I may never have to think again.
Update: I am also addicted to fermented dairy products.
I used to have this theory that for every movie, television show, and book, there was a parallel universe governed by those laws. If only there were some way of crossing dimensional barriers, we could travel to a place where “Star Trek” is real, or “Frasier,” or “The Hardy Boys.” In the “Garfield” universe, everyone would have thought balloons and bad luck on Mondays.
Naturally, at the time I was conceptualizing these various realities (with the hope of escaping into one of them), my idea was that our own universe was the “main” one, from which all others stemmed.
But now I think we are occupying a dimension governed by the laws of a particularly grim television miniseries, in which fascist monsters take over a great country, drive it into the ground, cause dozens or even hundreds of thousands of tortures and deaths around the world, and have every single one of their statements proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be bald-faced lies . . . yet are somehow allowed to remain in power and be taken seriously.
I suppose it isn’t very sensible to anticipate the appearance of a superhero or an action star who will save us all before the last commercial break, but that’s where my hopes are currently pinned. In the meantime, I would also like to request some better product placement in my house. Apple Computer is getting its money’s worth, but can something be done about those generic cans of food?
It’s funny how when people have a bad day or an unpleasant patch in their lives they can look out at the world and wonder how it can continue to function so indifferently.
“How can those stupid kids play ball with such abandon? Don’t they know I’ve chipped my nail!?!?!?!?!?!”
“What are those goddamned birds so cheerful about? How can they sing when my boyfriend thinks I’m fat?!?!?!?!??!?”
Of course, I’m overly sensitive. If a little girl in Kentucky gets a grass stain, I cover the mirrors and stop the clocks. The atrocity of the current war has had me bouncing off the walls in rage for years; if I think about it too much, the Gordian knot of hopeless evil stupidity that got us into that particular mess and keeps us mired in it, I literally cannot function.
So I’m in a strange condition this week, ever distracted by the catastrophe, shocked that the country beyond the edges of the flood can be going on as it normally does, indifferently, as if New Orleans has merely chipped its nail or Biloxi has tragically discovered his boyfriend thinks he’s fat. I’m even more shocked that overly sensitive me is doing much the same thing: working, researching, holding meetings, walking the dog, eating a delicious cherry pie. Yesterday, I discovered that chocolate protein powder in orange juice tastes just as good as vanilla. Tonight, over my organic microwave dinner, I watched a bit of The Wrath of Kahn and marveled over how much of the dialogue I have somehow memorized.
I don’t want to write one of “those posts,” the ones all of conscientious bloggers are writing. Everybody knows the Red Cross’s web address by now, everyone already knows that the world has changed for the worse in ways we can’t begin to imagine, and I have only one New Orleans memory, which I’ve already dragged out and paraded across the Internet for all to marvel. And yet, how can one not mention the eight-hundred-pound gorilla? We are eyewitnesses to a terrible history; it feels as if the world is teetering on the head of a pin and could fall off in any direction.
If there are any people left in a hundred years, they’re going to wade through our purple prose and think we were all insane.
(Speaking of which, there is something afoot with the art students. Over the past few days, they’ve all quit smoking and changed their artistic costumes, and they appear to be planning a spectacular revenge for my previous comments. Just this evening, a very cute one went out of his way to start a conversation with me, and another one waved at me from across the street. There was no one behind me—I checked—but when I waved back, he turned away.)
* Yes, this is a link.