First, foremost, and obviously, on a purely emotional level I feel genuine relief and a bit embarrassed for having been marginally worried over the last couple months. The plane landed safely; despite the
Then joy, which has yet to reach peak bloom and is still too
Then there’s the sense of anticlimax: seeing it so suddenly end at the moment we were all told it’d just be getting exciting. Oh well, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last from Karl et al.
Surprising to me, I also feel empathy for all those millions who’d undoubtedly turned off their televisions, slumped off to bed after Ohio was called thinking the world had just ended. I guess, no matter the victory, I’ll never forget losing Ohio in 2004, hitting the floor like I’d been simultaneously punched in the face and kicked in the groin, knowing that there was nothing left between us and another four years of Bush.
Also sadness. I will never have opportunity to vote for Mr. Obama again. I will almost certainly never witness so expert a political campaign as his presidential election and
Finally, I’m feeling a tiny little feeling that I’m anxious even typing. I’m not foolish enough to think even for a minute that the G.O.P. will abruptly realize the error of its ways, brazenly stand up to its moneyed overlords, and come to the bargaining table in good faith. No, I know, like the ship slowly circling the vortex, it’s too late for that party to escape the gravity of its follies. And that even if it weren’t too late, I know that no one with any real power inside the party can acknowledge the magnitude of the demographic forces at work without giving up that power.
But there it is just the same, that wholly vulnerable, delicate flower, so easily stomped and ground back into the earth without warning. There it is, the only shield we have against the constancy of the fears and resentments that have so infected the last century and half of American history: hope.
Hope that somewhere over the last two years, without anyone noticing, we reached a tipping point as a population. Hope that 50 or 100 years from now, it will be common knowledge than right around the beginning of the second decade of the
Hope that history is over and the future can now finally begin.
Godspeed, all of us, toward that distant home.
Three hundred and
Dearest Vivian (aka the Lean Bean),
We’d just dropped Mom off downtown, and you were falling fast asleep in your carseat, as you are wont to do. So, instead of going home, I decided, like your typical dad, to drive aimlessly, affording you ample opportunity for an extended nap, which is something that you, as an incredibly energetic 10-
We drove out of the city due west on U.S. 50, a
Sitting on the side of the road, it sounded as if we were being pelted by golf balls; the car felt like a covered wagon, rocking back and forth on it struts. Just as I was about to check on you, reassure you that we were fine despite all the sturm und drang, my phone began bleeping a beep I’d never heard before. I turned it on and, quite alarmingly, here is what it said (paraphrastically): you and I, little one, had somehow managed to place our fragile bodies, unknowingly, in the direct path of ARMAGEDDON and needed to find shelter RIGHT QUICK. Odd that my phone would give such stern advice, I thought to myself, so I heeded it, and swung us about, flooring it back to whence we’d come.
It’s fortunate U.S. 50 is more or less a straight arrow out of D.C., Viv. A 747 landing right in front of us would’ve gone unnoticed. Cracking sounds of falling timber punctuated the thunderclaps. We seemed as much wind propelled as gas driven, requiring the brakes, as if in steep descent, in order to stop from accelerating. After a couple miles, I exited the highway again and found an underground parking garage for us to hunker down in. My heart was racing but you, my precious child, whom the barely audible has pulled on many occasion from the deepest depths of slumber, had managed to snooze through our entire meteorological misadventure! A few minutes passed, the worst of it having come and gone, and we were back on the road, completely intact and no worse for wear.
Anyway, kid, even if a real tornado had found us and flung our car into the abyss last weekend, I want you to know that we would’ve been just fine. I want you to understand, as you grow into a little girl, teenager, woman, that there is no panic, just equilibrium, in our mighty, unknowable universe.
I’m telling you this because no one ever told me: Forces beyond our control constantly shift, align, and realign, more often than not without even the slightest hints or explanations. And there is absolutely nothing worrisome about that.
Love you to pieces,
You’ll have to subscribe, buy, or borrow to read the (no doubt abridged) personal
Leave it to the NYT to host a blog centered on human anxiety.
I read (and sometimes reread) these entries every week with knowing recognition of so many of the authors’ inner fears, worries, and doubts. I wouldn’t say I’m on a
Which is to say, I’m human — a template cruelly hardwired for vividly imagining worst case scenarios.
But if I have one goal for my human existence, it’s to help set a lasting pattern for my daughter, virtually fearless at nine months old, of consciously rejecting all but the single justifiable anxiety: the fear of wasting our time, and other unearned gifts.
Tinkers (Bellevue Literary Press, 2009), a small book my wife gave me for Easter, about a small feat: dying. And yet nothing short of a masterpiece of time and memory. I read it with a longing to feel the earth as if was under my ancestors’ feet. To know the experience of edging from a city or town and deep into gnarled countryside, without any tidy sidewalks and suburbs to traverse in between. Walking a paved road as it fades into a dirt wagon trail, into a narrow foot path, and back again.
1. In case you haven’t heard the news, the great state of Texas is guilty of murdering one of its citizens, Carlos DeLuna, who is demonstrably innocent of the murder for which he was convicted, a murder demonstrably committed by his patently sadist lookalike, Carlos Hernandez, who openly bragged of the murder to just about anyone who’d listen. You can read all about it here, in excruciating detail. Please do, and please hold personally accountable every last Texan who shamefully looked the other away as his or her elected government officials systematically applied Texas’s capital punishment laws, not just in the DeLuna case but early and often over the last several decades, in such awful, inhumane ways – ways that can only be adjudged cruel and unusual, but somehow aren’t (by
2. A crazy man ended a handful of innocent lives, including his own, in my old neighborhood, yesterday, with a tool expressly designed by its manufacturer for efficiently committing homicide. Another sad day for Seattle, for humanity.
3. There should be a third, but I can’t think of one.
MCA is in the ground. It’s May 1995, the dregs of my sophomore year of college, and I’m
Writing blog posts can be burdensome for the mainly introverted, which has something to do with why 2b+3s is often left whithering on the vine. Its author has plenty to say but it’s mostly said inward, to himself, in short bursts of
He doesn’t know and isn’t concerned with how many of him there are, what percentage of the world he composes — that would be a condition too extroverted for him. But he is troubled that the overwhelming majority of what he thinks — the very elements of his human cognition – goes completely uncommunicated and thus unknown by virtually all but him. It troubles him not because the world will never know what he believes, in precise and exquisite detail and grandeur, but because he may never know. Because he understands that without dialogue, or writing to an audience, our minds atrophy and ossify. Logic deteriorates in an