Hanging out on the Virtual Verandah with Memphis Earlene and the gang, recuperating from Labor Day festivities, which involved Single Malt Scotch. Now I’m drinking penance–unsweetened cranberry juice.
In a gesture of patriotism, Memphis Earlene has renounced White Russians and come back home to Southern Comfort and Coca Cola. She remains a beacon of clarity and equanimity in dark times. Dark times are normal to Memphis Earlene, not some kind of rude surprise, like they are to me.
Latte Woman mainlines caffein and reads the news to us.
“It’s your civic obligation to remain informed,” she tells me, but I wish she’d stop.
“Do I have to pay attention to North Korea? Because right now the news that matters most to me is the weather: California wildfires, and Hurricane Irma. Goddamnit, we’re still in the early alphabet stages of Hurricane season-. “Latte Woman interrupts my rant with a list of additional concerns, including the Prison Industrial Complex, Domestic terrorism, and the cholera epidemic in Yemen, which has reached Number One in Humanitarian Crises.
Anyplace I visit more than once becomes part of my neighborhood, and we’ve been to Yemen twice. How does one hold all this bad news in one’s heart without buckling under the weight? Especially if one’s heart is on the small side.
Competing claims for my undivided attention include Omar, my emotionally needy cat and The Girl Who Loved Kafka, my novel in progress.
” Just keep on writing. Ain’t nobody stopping you but yourself,” says Memphis Earlene.
“This is what real writers do,” I explain.”We look for ways to evade work until the last moment so we can build up that head of steam and gonzo energy to writer for our lives. ”
Latte Woman reproves me with the immortal words of Hunter Thompson: When the times get weird, the weird turn pro .
The days are getting noticeably shorter. Autumns have been getting warmer, I’ve noticed the past few years. There is an eerie feeling about warm weather and Autumn nights. A mismatch between light and temperature. Inside, Larry’s working on his book and Omar is sleeping on the guest bed. I resist the urge to knock on wood.
I’ll delegate worrying about North Korea to Larry, keep Yemen in my heart, and my eye on the weather. Life is good and the world is going to hell. It’s that simple.
For all I know FatGuy with Bad Hair Cut has his hand on the button, gonna blow us all to kingdom come. There is nothing I can do to stop him, nor do I have sufficient expertise in foreign affairs and diplomacy to play Monday Morning Quarterback. World War III is breaking out in pieces, if I need a global perspective. That’s what the Pope said. He’s not my spiritual leader anymore than the Dalai Lama, but both of them seem wise.
Overall I’ve been disappointed in my generation, at least the ones who went into politics. Those A students who went to Ivy League Schools? Good at making careers for themselves. Some of them I’d probably enjoy playing Scrabble with. Smart, some of them. None of them wise.
It has taken me a while to get used to turning 70. Boomer Geezer. First footprints in the snow. I aspire to face each day with more curiosity than fear. Don’t always succeed.
This is what it feels like, life under wartime.