Lit Tradit

Odd. I have a dream where I’m chasing our empty trash barrels down the street, then I wake up with a start and two minutes later I’m chasing our empty trash barrels down the street.
And it’s just as I pictured, except it’s not such a heart thumping, nightmarish emergency in real life. Thank goodness for that. Of course, in my dream I’d forgotten to put on my pants.

Splash some whole milk in the bottom of my cup here and top it off with roast blend . Suffering saints, all this luxury is like a millstone around my neck. God is getting to me again. I need to find Mom and start this day with an apology. Write a check to her before I go back in hiding.

This old house. So bright and light downstairs, so shadowed and ancient upstairs. Odd turns, short hallways, large rooms, high ceilings.

She’s lit the fire and nodded off with a newspaper in her lap, after a late-night/early morning at Mr. Toad’s. Still wearing her leather jacket, and she has her ciggies and an ashtray on the little table there. Dear God, it’d be a nightmare if she was white-haired and wearing a grandmother’s shawl.

The wind comes down the chimney and blows some flame at me. Makes me think of my angry sister. Hoo!

Wander into the dining room and read Mom’s birthday cards. Forgivable eavesdropping, I think. Then, up the stairs here since I’m ready to for some email and Lileks.

Whoosh! Wow. Mom is ironing. I should go back downstairs and see if she’s still sleeping too. This is a fun-house. We should install some wavy mirrors.

“Morning, honey!” she calls from around the door. “Isn’t that wind something?”

“We need to batten down !” I say. I don’t want to peek around the door. I haven’t shaved in two days. “How was your road-trip yesterday?”

“Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I looked up and suddenly we were back in town. Eloise and Evy did most of the talking and the rest of us--- oh, mostly Sandy and I--- just chimed in, now and then. No one was very interested in the shops but we had a nice lunch. You know, one of those lady places that are so popular. Then Ed and I went out for dinner. What did you do?”

“Oh. …” I blow on my coffee and discover it’s cold now. Whack-a-dack, as Pace says. Working on my lounge act. “eh…”

“Tch. Johnny…” I swear, Mom pushes a button and makes the iron’s steam blow to punctuate her sentences. Whoosh. Also I suspect her clothes don’t really need a second ironing. But this is her meditation technique. There’s also the squeak of the ironing board. “You’d be so much happier with a job. I remember you with a job. ”

The house is being pelted with debris. I leave my door open and sit down to the computer dial-up. Rio. Magic. “Did you see the pictures Woody and Toot sent me for my birthday?” she calls. “ So lovely…”

The iron sighs. The sun comes out and bathes us in light, even here upstairs, and then it recedes again. Such a stark moment, we both laugh. The world is spinning, watch out! Night and day, slow down.

“Can you believe it, “ she says. “Thanksgiving and Christmas already. Do you suppose David will come down?”

“Mom. David has never missed Thanksgiving or Christmas but you always suspect he will. Why is that?”

“I don’t know…He seems to find it bothersome.” SHHHH. Ironing.

“Everyone’s like that. And not just in this family.”

“No. I don’t think so.” SHHHHH. “I don’t know of any family like ours, John. Evy’s children come all the way from California, and Chicago, and they stay for the whole week and they’re so happy.”

I can’t resist. I answer through the halls. “She has two sons. They’re both gay, for crying out loud.”

“Well. How about the Rieeses? Mary’s kids come home and have a great time. They stay past New Years!” SHHHHH.

I argue off-handedly as I open my email. “The Rieeses? Come on, be serious. They’re furniture-millionaires. Think of an average family.”

SHHHHH. “The Reillys. The Freemans. The Saxons. Their children come home and they sit for family portraits. I don’t know why I’m arguing with you. I know our family isn’t normal. Look at Ed’s children! They both call him once a week.”

The sky is pale white, the sky is bright blue. This wind-storm is wrapping a tether ball around its pole and I think I can hear the chains rattling on the playground down the street. Maybe the chains of a flag-pole. Mom’s complaint over the last ten years of her widow-hood have been so consistent, but also so fleeting.

An hour later she’s on her way to her bridge club, carrying her grandsons’ crayon greeting cards to show everyone.
Why am I up so late? Well I'm very excited, of course. We're about to have a weather event, almost like a Midwestern hurricane. Our weather service says the wind will start to blow 50 mph this morning at least, and it will last until late afternoon.

I regard weather events as 'cover' for staying home. This will be like a vacation from guilt, for me. But of course I'm ruining it now, telling you.
# posted by John : 4:33 AM
You don't give up on the internet, of course. You just look for better hang outs. I like It's New York, and you know I love New York, since Annie is there.

Quote from the first post : "Youth culture and its fashions are deeply and importantly over."

That would suit me, of course. In fact I've been scouring the internet trying to find some people who've figured that out.

I'm going to be cool before I'm 50 gdmt.
My theory is that Youth Culture got a stake in the heart when VH1 started its nostalgia shows "I Love The '80s" , etc. and we all realized that, while fads are very stupid in retrospect, youthful commentators like Michael Ian Black are insufferable in the here and now.

"Fables of the Reconstruction"

Here is the Drezner article that gives a black eye to the Center For Public Integrity, and debunks all the Halliburton nonsense. It was published 11/3, and referenced by David Brooks in the New York Times yesterday.

I'm getting so slow here. Anyway, it's a bookmark.

Watch as all that DNC/Hardball/Newsweek 'conventional wisdom' melts away. It's beautiful, like Spring.

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