Monday, March 21, 2005

Dear Blog

The Child Bride and I spent the weekend celebrating our 3rd anniversary by taking the train to Sacramento. Why? Well, we could barely afford anything else. Truth be told, we could scarcely afford THAT trip. Still, one must escape one’s circumstances from time to time, or one will go mad, won’t one? Pretense, on occasion, is a great healer. And the idea of traveling to a mid-sized boring city, with no delusions about being anything else, had its appeal to me. San Francisco, in case you didn’t know - though I love it dearly - is rather full of itself.

We had planned to leave on Friday, when the wife was done with work. Public transportation did not cooperate with us. There was some kind of “incident” in the downtown tunnels, causing me to leave my semi-beloved N-Judah, and try to meet my wife at her place of employment (SF Symphony) via streetcar. The streetcar not being forthcoming, I called the wife on the cell phone and told her to meet me at Van Ness and Market. It was pouring rain and I was carrying (I’m exaggerating) 75 pounds of luggage.

Long story short? We barely made the bus that would take us to the train in Emeryville. The wife was irritated with me, from my habit of not dealing with frantic very well. I do not blame her. Many have been annoyed thus. I myself have been annoyed by my personal behavior. Frequently.

Arriving in Emeryville (or “E-ville,” as I’ve decided it needs to be dubbed- remind me to tell you about Emeryville some day), we discovered that our particular train had been delayed for four hours because of a “freight train trespasser incident,” according to the LED display above the tracks. (I discovered, upon our return, that the incident was - I believe - the death of a fifteen year-old boy from Fremont, hit by a 60 car freight train in circumstances unknown, causing system-wide delays, and attendant grief). Fortunately for us, previous trains had also been delayed, and we boarded one of those a mere two hours after its intended departure. This put us in Sacramento at 10:30 p.m., and in our TraveLodge by 11:00, where we blissfully watched cable television, and indulged in sexual activity until well past our normal bedtime.

Our motel lay in the shadow of the EPA building, an edifice you can probably visualize without much coaching from me. It was mainly dark. But on the tenth floor, or so, fluorescent lights revealed long receding rows of what were either file cabinets, or servers. Is there a difference, really? In the long run?

Overheard on bus
Student to friend, on cell phone: “I didden take no English.”

On the way back from Sacramento (more on this later- esp. our museum experiences), we stopped to visit my folks. My father is 86, my mother 80. Recounting a recent trip to the track, my father uncharacteristically began trashing other people: jockeys, of all people.

Specifically, he was annoyed by jockeys’ “strutting.” The wife pointed out that jockeys had to wear very tight clothing, which might induce involuntary strutting. My father was having none of that.

He was further irritated that jockeys had to be lifted onto the racehorses. When he was a boy, it seems, on a farm in North Dakota, if you couldn’t get on a horse by yourself, you weren’t allowed to ride it.

Life Lessons
Introspection reared its ugly head this weekend. And exospection as well.

I returned home to find, via e-mail, that another paying venue was now locked to me. “Going in a different direction” is the locution commonly used when notifying the lockout. This was the case here.

I won’t deny my own role in my own life, but still I must ask – for myself, and others in similar circumstances- when do you stop doing what you’re doing? If, in the past, you have had success with a certain kind of attitude or skill, and you are no longer enjoying that success, when do you discard those attitude or skills, or adapt them? When the horse changes beneath your legs? Or, if the horse remains the same, when the rules of the race become unreadable? Or when you look around for help getting on the horse, and the grounds and stands are abandoned? When the hungry crowd has moved on, to some as yet unfathomable entertainment?


Blogger BonzoGal said...

Take heart- who'd a thunk that Al Franken would have been able to carry on with his gig after a lull in the 70s/80s? And yet he did, and he's now a pundit, and... hey, waitaminute... have you considered punditry? With your verbal skills you could do a number on Ann Coulter that would make her burst into perimenopausal tears on national tv! So get on the pundit train, please. We need you now, more than ever.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you were the original pundit from pundit town. A pundit before punditry was cool. And so on.

If only other pundits would follow your tradition of brevity.

1:57 PM  

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