On Thursday, after work, I left an office made up mostly of cool, air-conditioned, half-informed darkness and stepped into the full, lobotomized effulgence of the hottest day of the year. It was not bad for the first half-mile or so. Then it was atrocious. Have you ever walked into a busy kitchen in the middle of a blazing summer afternoon? The cooks all have that red-busy-burning look, that punished, automatic-moving thing going on. It was like someone grabbed me by the hair and forced me to stare at what was in the oven. Look at the little lamb! Look at what you make me do! I thought I was smart to go hopscotching from one super-cooled premises to the next (Staples, Indigo, art supply store, grocery), my eyes buggy from relief each time, but I leaked whole bullets of DNA all the same. O god it was awful. I saw people in jeans and thought, You are going to die ... and you're *still* going to look fat. This wasn't summer. This was a message. It went: Insects! People scurried or wilted. I even heard a busker singing, Livin' on a Prayer. Jesus Christ!
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Days later, C and I went to go see The Drowning Girls: three bathtubs, three showers, three buckets, three policeman's helmets, three bouquets, three soaking newspapers, three teacups, three wedding rings, three pairs of hosiery, three wedding dresses, three drowned girls. Or ladies, rather. All victims of a serial seducer, a serial killer. All three with the same murdered voice, yet each one with its own life. Very stark, and wet (in the front row, I got splashed) and sad, and often funny. All the actors were quite good, although C and I agreed that Taylor Trowbridge was a standout.
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Amy Winehouse died this weekend, only twenty-seven. A fit from drinking. Sad.
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In 1970, two percent of the population considered multiple telephones a necessity. In the year 2000, it was 78 percent -- and I doubt many people were still calling them "telephones".
Well, *I* still call it the telephone, and I *hate* talking on it. About the only calls I make are to my mom, the bank, the dentist and Oona's daycare.
I'm trying to write letters to people again, or at least send out cards (my accordion story cards are good for that, because the story does most of the work). I don't know -- it seems more serious, more polite, more thoughtful. This might come as a surprise to people on Facebook, where I exist like one of the heckling old men from the Muppet Show, but I do have other gears.
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The other night, as she refused to eat dinner, sitting slumped in her highchair with her head in her hands, droning away like some grieving medieval peasant, I heard myself telling Oona: Listen, when you're drowning in misery like this, and you make it cartoonish, I can't help but laugh. If you want some real sympathy, try dialling it back a bit.