I’m back home at my house in New York after 2 months in the Midwest, living with and vacationing with family—both mine and my wife’s.
I stood waist-deep in reedy, gray, clay-like, silty muck. I canoed across a lake with my nephew and hollered “Yeah!” when he leapt off the diving board of some lake-neighbor’s pontoon swimming raft. I saw numerous “Trump Won” signs and biked 20 miles in Ohio and fought with my wife, as we do every year, about where the hell we were going. We got over ourselves and were hella grateful for the brand-spanking new Fairfield Inn by Radisson after being greeted by someone’s toenail and drain hair at a lesser hotel somewhere else the night before. With my niece, I saw cows up close chewing things, and one drinking another’s urine. I worked in a Coca Cola–themed basement with a Christmas tree behind me and a 33′ of Shirley Temple’s Greatest Hits and Hawaiian Blossoms.
So. What a wild ride. Cue Bob Odenkirk as God recording the book-on-tape of his autobiography.
Sorry, inside joke.
Speaking of insides… no, never mind.
I’d like to say there were fewer low-lights to the trip than all that comes to mind at the moment. All I’ll say on that is that the challenges of family are real, as I’m sure you all know—but the challenges of the politics in this country, and the heartland especially, are surreal. My wife and I were kept sane by the Q-Anonymous Podcast, over-eating frozen custard, and obsessively cooking Hello Fresh meals.
No, I am not endorsed by any of those companies though of course I am willing to be.
Fuck ethics, right? I saw that on display a bit on this trip as well, which has got me thinking about a project idea that’s been kicking around in the corner closet of my mind for a year or two—and that is to pay homage to a couple John Cheever stories. Yes, you laugh, does he really think the time is right to revive Cheever? Well, he’s a man who has enjoyed a hiatus from unquestioned canonization, yet who never has died in the hearts of many. My heart is one of those hearts, and please file your complaints at the dog door.
“The Enormous Radio” would have to involve a smart phone, an eavesdropping app, of course. It’s irresistible! Plus the naughty, dark secrets that leak from apartment to apartment by a faulty radio could be tenfold more scandalous these days. Hell, maybe the app is installed on the phone of a prominent politician. The other title is “Goodbye My Brother,” which if you know the story you know involves the seashore, alcohol, and bitterness. But also an ocean of melancholy. Such is the loss to a man when his brother seems to stray irredeemably from a path.
I’ve looked forward to being back at this desk, and now I am. I have my view onto the yard and my comfy office chair, my music. However, it’s time to cook some kale. I had kale for lunch as well. I read that kale molecules in the bloodstream break down lingering cheese curd and beer molecules. I’ll let you know if that’s true.