Be it resolved: no one should operate a leaf blower before I wake up. It’s not the sound that bothers me; it’s not exactly white noise – too high pitched and insistent  - but you could sleep through the sound if the operator didn’t keep turning the machine on and off. It spins down, it spins up, and down again. And then you wake, check the clock, curse the rooster-risers, tabulate how much sleep you got, consider what you have to do today, pencil in a nap for 5:15 to 5:32, and get up. So begins the week.

I was dead all morning, in other words. Schmozzled and inert. Wanted to strew pillows around and tape bubble wrap to the countertop edges in case I just went down. My fault, of course; stayed up late working, and couldn’t sleep, the brain spinning on the lathe of mundane preoccupations. (Work, war, mortality, the need to call in someone for tuck-pointing.) (Which involves neither tucks nor pointing, as far as I can tell.)  After I got Gnat off to school – the usual bus driver showed today, which is always a relief; some of the substitutes look like winners of the ZZTop Look-Alike Competition, Bum division, and I always have to check to see if this is, in fact, the official bus, and not a surplus model purchased by some fiend who’s decided to get into the wholesale end of the business.  As I’ve mentioned before, another bus drives down our street just a few minutes after hers, and that always gives me pause. Anyway. Went back to the kitchen table, fixed one column, sent it, had a quarter of a small cigar, wrote another, sent it. The week had begun.

Then a rare event: a midday visitor to Jasperwood, an old college chum from the newspaper. (I can’t think of any other era in my life where the friends and acquaintances would be called “chums,” but college seems to fit. Chums. As if we met at the rowing club, sneaked drinks from a flask, double-dated flappers, got jobs at our dad’s investment houses, summered at the Hamptons, black-balled our old Jewish chums from the gold club, etc. Chums! Now I’ll never use that word again, unless the person to whom I refer actually wore an ascot and a straw boater, mooned after a woman named Daisy and kept a burned cork in his glove box in case anyone begged him to do his Jolson routine.)

Anyway, he was in town to get an award from the college newspaper where we worked, many years ago. He’s in DC now at U.S. News & World Reports (a magazine to which my grandfather subscribed. There was always a copy next to his easy chair, and as a kid it was a horrible portent of adulthood: nothing fun, no cartoons, and yellow pages with scary Russian names and a general sense of foreboding) and recently spent a lot of time in India for a forthcoming story. The news is good, to sum it up; the US relationship with India is one of those underreported stories, as is, it seems, stronger ties with Japan. But of course Japan has completely fallen off everyone’s radar since it became apparent they weren’t actually going to buy Manhattan and move the best skyscrapers to Tokyo with super-genius maglev beams.

It was a good chat, and a rare example of adult interaction that did not involved brief distracted conversation with a mom while I watched the kids out of the corner of my eyes. How rare that is, you have no fargin’ idea.

I picked Gnat up from school. It took ten minutes to leave, since all the little girls have formed a dense giggly knot of mischieviousness, and take forever to get down the hallway. They all have to go to the bathroom together, too. At age five! When I finally crowbarred her away from her pals (not chums; oh no) we tried to find a school where I was supposed to pick up some summer school materials – I’d gone there daily last summer, but it seems they’d moved it. All four square blocks, football field included. Perhaps I was just tired. Gnat fell asleep on the way home; I put her on the sofa down in the Battle Bridge, went upstairs to nap . . . whereupon I learned that someone around here got a dog, and he’s not happy. So I went upstairs, turned on the main house fan to generate that soothing, leaf-blower-style noise. The filter was loose, which made the fan shriek. The dog barked. I gave up.

 . . . and woke 20 minutes later, refreshed. Sort of. Not really. The night’s been a long haul; not good for much, really. So I redid the Motel section main page, which makes three attempts. Then I started one of two columns due tomorrow AM, taking time out to do this. And here it is, for what it is. So, a few links:

Amazon reviewers agree with me: the wings fall off

Plagiarize! Let no one’s work evade your eyes! And if caught please to be calling it . . . unintentional homage.

Now to finish the columns and get back to “24,” season two. That thing that happened, at the end of the episode? Didn’t see that coming. I will note that this show seems to have the highest percentage of Evil Females of any show I’ve seen; I’ll be disappointed if Ensign Ro turns out to be bad. (DO NOT WRITE TO ME ABOUT THAT.) (And by “Ensign Ro” I mean Michelle Forbes, who was a hot bitchy Bajoran back in the Star Trek days when the Bajorans were sorta-Palestinians, before they turned into Bai’hai / Tibetans with ticked off bosomy butch women like Major Kira.)

There! Nothing like losing the audience at the end with some pathetic Deep Space Nine geekery, eh? Good thing I’m done. New Quirk, New double-state motel entry. See you tomorrow. 





c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.