|Well, we certainly won’t have any of that afternoon weltschmertz today, since I’m banging this out at the kitchen table. There’s just something about sitting at the window in the Strib coffee shop that puts a nine-ton weight around my heart; there’s something so implacable about the view – the parking lots, the old early 20th century warehouse / office buildings, the blank banality of the Strib annex across the street. Season to season it’s empty and dead. I love one of the buildings, and of course sunshine is nice to behold. Can’t get much at my cubicle. But the scene is impervious to seasons. If there’s snow, it’s been plowed. If it’s summer, there’s no green to behold. If it’s fall no auburn hues. It is perpetually three o’clock in the middle of March, and for some reason it pitches me into some strange place where there’s an electric clock on the kitchen wall (the cord goes down behind the stove) and matching ceramic salt and pepper shakers shaped like Dutch people (never used) and a small striped dish towel trying over a spout, which leaks. It’s the house of an aunt you never met. But you’re related, all right.
Done with the cold, it seems. It woke me up in the middle of the night when my nose was stopped, but nothing much today. In fact I slept rather well until I dreamed I had – get this – double-crossed another blogger in a coke deal. Not that I was in the cocaine distribution business, mind you; he just left a satchel behind, and what to my wondering eyes did I behold but a huge amount of drugs. I didn’t want to sell them, and I did not want to get whacked either, especially by a blogger who would then be in control of the narrative, and moderate comments so I looked at fault. Just as I was handing over the bag to the blogger, Gnat came in the room and woke me up.
Daddy? You shouldn’t eat the same thing every day or you will die.
So you shouldn’t eat peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day.
She closed the door.
I went back to sleep. Later I explained to her that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches contained all the items in the food pyramid book she got the other day. Even though the pyramid is outdated. It has grain, protein, fruit, and a little bit of sweetness. So it’s okay. Who told you that, anyway?
A boy at school.
Well, he’s wrong.
I have no doubt he heard about that today.
Life is peculiar, and no one moment captures the flavor of the day; this morning was easy, the walk to the bus stop delightful – we did indeed get mondo snow, and it was 31 degrees at noon, so it felt clement. I went back to the kitchen, filed three columns. THREE. Called my agent to check up on things; he loves Joe Ohio, and will be meeting with the head of Random House next week to present the next wave of books. Then I listened to an interview with an Israeli defense expert who’s known for his rather blunt and uncompromising views – the subject was Iran, which seems to me to be this full-blown nightmare swirling and forming at the edge of everyone’s peripheral vision. I don’t know what’s more depressing: the hot war / nuke swap-meet the fellow anticipated, or the callers to the show who believe that Israel is the problem. It’s a hussy-state, flaunting its existence! The callers rolled off the litany of Israeli sins, and had absolutely no time whatsoever for the discussions of the mullahs who rule Iran. Such things were irrelevant. At least it was a bipartisan affair; the Muslims, Black Muslims, white anti-semites and progressives all agreed that Israel was the problem, and Iran was simply responding to a natural threat. The fact that the head of Iran has been saying in public what Hitler confined to his cabinet meetings was irrelevant. So I was depressed for an hour or so about that.
Then I picked up my child and put on Christmas music and we drove to Target for her flu shot. She was cheerful enough right up to the point when the doctor got out the needle; she saw that horrid device and went rigid. I’d had a conversation the other night with a children’s nurse who said she didn’t let parents hold the kids for shots, lest the kids associate the parents with holding them down for PAIN. I disagreed – I want to be the one to hold her. Partly so I empathetically sop up a few joules of discomfort, partly to give as much comfort as I can, and partly to let her know that this is something for her benefit, and I’ve decided it’s so, not the doctor. I’m not going to fob that job off on someone else. It went well, but she has to get a booster in a month.
Then we chose a My Little Pony as a reward. I also bought a “Classic” edition of Monopoly for 20 bucks – it has wooden apartment buildings and hotels. As they should be.
We ate at Taco Bell, because this was her Shot Day.
Uh oh, Gnat said. She pointed to the guys assembling the meals. They’re speaking Spanish.
That they are. (Everyone at the Edina Taco Bell is Hispanic, from the managers to the cooks to the – well, that’s about it. This is the store where the drive-through voice begins the transaction by saying “Hello, how are you?”)
I can’t order a taco in Spanish.
You don’t have to. Order in English. They’ll understand.
They will? Great. So she did. The next customer was also Hispanic, and had an accent as thick as the fellow manning the register. They conducted the entire conversation in English. When they reached the occasional impasse in terms, they still stayed in English.
Home; putzed around on some web projects, mostly the American Motel 06 site. That was one large hunk of scanning, friends. Let me tell you. I rescanned everything, a foretaste of the dreaded Minneapolis site upgrade, and now I have everything ready to roll for weekly updates throughout 06. I listened to some old radio until Gnat put on a disc to seranade her bath: “Shrek 2.” She got this at the library. My wife had figured it was fine, since that was an animated kids’ movie – well, it’s all covers of rock songs. So I am presented with the sight of my child thrashing around to “Ever Fallen In Love With Somebody,” an old Pete Shelley tune. Had to call up the original and play it for her. School the kid. Accept no substitutes. So the day that began as ordinary as oatmeal and took a detour through the Bog of Worry ends with dancing to the Buzzcocks. And none of these things are inconsistent with the others. Life is peculiar.
Now I have to write three more columns. Tomorrow will be long, long, long; I have an interview at Minnesota Public Radio in the afternoon, so no time to write. Then it’s Chuck E. Fargin, a trip to the Mall, Christmas shopping for Mommy, and home to collapse. If nothing else there will be a podcast tomorrow; it’s already in the can, and concerns Christmas music. No whistling. And yes, I feel compelled to issue that promise, at least for another month.
The podcast will undergo a slight change in format next week, because I just can’t keep away from doing the one thing that’s always meant the most to me, radio-wise. The format will still be the same – 15 minutes or so, with music and old-radio bits, an audio version of the Institute of Official Cheer. But that’s tomorrow’s problem. Now: back to work! New Quirk, as usual (except last Monday - a new layout person forgot to put it in the paper. Hah! Keeps you humble.) See you tomorrow.