||An experiment in the effects of gravity on endoskeletal mammals. In the space of 90 seconds, the following occurred: I headed down the stairs in the dark and stepped on Jasper Dog, who was uncharacteristically occupying a lower step. Big yelp. Many apologies. Off to the kitchen for a treat. As soon as I gave him a rawhide stick I heard a series of thumps upstairs bumpbumpbumpbump. Uh oh. Like thunder, you count it out: one one thousand, two one thousand, three
On the count of three? This must be bad. I ran up the first flight, my wife ran down the second, and we met at the landing. Gnat had tripped and gone heels over head down the maple falls. Check: blood? No. Check: seizures? No. So we attempt to make her laugh do you want a stick?
Nooo. (sob) Sticks are for dogs.
But Im a dog! Mime some canine action, barking and rolling over.
Youre not a dog. (laugh) (sob) Youre silly.
Youre right. Im a Surfin Bird! Lets dance! Run to studio, call up tune, do the frug. All is well.
Then I return to work. Sit at the desk, stare at the screen, think, and realize: Im not in the mood for any of this.
You know, folks, I need a vacation. Its not that my life is Hard or Tough or Demanding, because it isnt; its one long greased slide, and Ive no complaints. But I need to step outside of this wonderful routine for a while. This weeks Bleatage has been woefully substandard, I know, because Im just bored. BORED. Bored with wonderfulness, as stupid as that sounds. Bored with the column, bored with the Bleat (alas, no follow-up on yesterdays topic: Im bored with it already), bored with Thursday pizza, bored with the usual outrages over the usual outrageousness. Just bored. Done and done, over and out. I am looking right now at 726 words about John Kerry and SUV ownership, something I wrote based on a Guardian story. Part of me says: big fargin deal. Part of me says: save it for next weeks national column. Part of me says: when you lit up a cigar tonight, didnt it remind you of that alley in Cozumel where that Cuban vendor set up shop, back in 1999? Hmm?
And then I hear the sound of chiming bells, that mad daft tintinnabulation of slots in the New York New York casino. Noon or Midnight, no difference; same sound, same dim light, same haze, same atmosphere of defeat and expectation. I dont gamble. Why would I go back? Because its Different, because its Not Here, and because its a hermetically sealed environment where I can stand on a rented balcony and take stock, and decide whether or not I want to continue doing this forever.
Just so you know: the answer is yes.
Anyway apologies for this week. Ive been busy and preoccupied and cranky, and I really haven't had anything to say others haven't said better. Once or twice a year this site feels like an obligation instead of a joy, and this was one of those weeks. I appreciate the patronage and forebearance; next week will be better. I'm an American; that's an article of faith. Next week is always better.