Aimee Mann is coming to town and, more importantly, we have confirmed babysitting. Very exciting. I’ve been quite enamored of her since Magnolia and Bachelor No. 2, which I listened to around the same time a few years ago. Her latest, Lost in Space, is a little softer and more subtle, but there’s no one else doing what she does. She’s openly playing around in Burt Bacharach’s sandbox, but with a non-optimistic twist. And her voice is like no other. I’ve never been able to see her perform, so this should be great. Her lyrics and music are entwined and create a crystalline imagery, and if I just look at the lyrics, it’s hard to see exactly why. It’s the full product that works so well. Can’t wait!
Who knows what came over me. Thought it, said it, there you have it. I think the weird thing isn’t that I’m having thoughts about the big Game Over, but that I went almost completely without them for so long. When I was young and sick and my nights were full of nightmares, that feeling was never far away. I saw a fair amount of death when I was young — I remember being shocked when someone in college told me she’d never been to a funeral. That was just inconceivable to me. From the time I was 6 until I was 18, there was a fair procession of the dead — grandfather, grandmother, uncle, friends’ father, best friend since kindergarten, two friends who were brother and sister, and a mentor. And then, when I was 25, my father. So mortality wasn’t really too far out of my thoughts for a long time. When Hannah was born, it was as if something had been lifted and I just didn’t worry or think about it any more. But for a little while now, it’s been creeping back into my thoughts. There have been a number of “untimely” deaths around, not really people I know but people I know of, some a little older than me, some a little younger, and it sets me to thinking. Carl Hiaasen’s latest book features someone who is absolutely obsessed with the ages at which notable people died — I’m not quite at that level, but I’ll be looking at an old movie and it will occur to me that everyone in the movie has died, that I’m looking at images of people who no longer exist. That’s the kind of thing that gets to me. Photographs of children from a century ago, children who have grown up and gotten old and died. Sometimes the not-knowing in their expressions is overwhelming. (Though, growing up when they did, many of them were probably already intimate with death.)
Bah. Enough death . . . bring me the head of Internet Explorer: Apple has a new browser, and it kicks ass. Fast? So fast.
For years now, I’ve been relatively free of the fear of death. It hasn’t gripped me in the night, startled me in my daydreams, consumed me as I think of all those that have come before and all those I will leave behind. I used to carry that fear around with me all the time, and after my father died, it became almost an obsession. Pretty much since my first child was born, I have been free of that fear, which once was with me like my breathing.
Lately, that fear has been creeping back in. Not sure why. Not sure what it means. Could just be exhaustion. But every now and then, I’ll just be suddenly gripped with the reality that all this is going to go on without me, for a lot longer than it went on with me, and for just a moment that thought will clutch my heart.
[Now I’m wondering — why is he The Grim Reaper? If he’s harvesting, wouldn’t he be The Grim Sower?]
As Booker T. said. (Well, he didn’t really say it, since it was an instrumental, but you get the point.) I am backed up on e-mail (thanks, Peter, for the note, and I’m dying to answer your questions . . . perhaps tonight). Last night I had to fight with the Zip drive, and after much experimentation came to the same conclusion that I had started off with, that the drive is dead. Debated upgrading to a much bigger Zip drive, but the real need is just to be able to completely backup my hard drive from time to time. Drives are now so cheap that that’s affordable, and much more likely to happen (and to be useful) than incremental backups of all the bits and pieces that appear on 80GB of computer. So, in order to get the old stuff off the old Zips, I’m off to eBay, where I can get a drive that will work for a while. (I have another external Zip drive, but the SCSI-to-USB interface that I would need will cost more than a replacement drive. Crazy.)
So, that took up last night. That and a trip to the library to pick up a book that was waiting for me, but of course I had forgotten my library card. I had flashes of old WWII “Is This Trip Necessary?” posters in my head on the way back. Sea level will rise, albeit imperceptibly, because I’m a moron. I don’t mind if it happens for a purpose, mind you.
Lots of changes around here, very interesting how everybody’s shuffling for the third term. Then I heard that a colleague in another state was getting a judgeship, and in searching for that story, found that California Governor Gray Davis went to his inaugural celebration in jeans. Let’s take ALL the dignity out of government, shall we?
Sometimes the universe puts little hints out there that you need to hear something again, and a couple of little hints led me back to Joe Jackson’s “Night and Day II”, and Elvis’s “When I Was Cruel,” and the universe was right, it was time now to listen to those albums and finally appreciate them (I’m pretty patient with my music, and especially with Joe and Elvis, who owe me nothing).
Other times the universe is just f’ing with you, which is the only explanation for my having heard a miserable song by The Hooters twice in a week. There was never any explanation for their appeal or modest success, and the best I can say of them from the one time I was forced to see them live is that their mugging and self-satisfaction failed to ruin my mood for the unbelievably fantastic Squeeze show that followed. Sometimes you’ve gotta tell the universe to cut it out.
Found at a Mexican restaurant nearly in Tribeca:
we’ve already exceeded our seasonal average for snowfall — we’re up above 65″. It’s hard to complain about snow or sun (lack thereof) after having lived in Syracuse (“Where We Live Gray”), but now this is interfering with my lifestyle. You can’t ski if you can’t drive to the ski area…
The point at which I finally give in and surrender several cubic feet of my life to the 360-day storage/5-day use of a snowblower has finally come. I’m going to give enough cash to buy 1.5 Tony Hawk Signature iPods because I absolutely exhausted myself Saturday, digging out two feet of snow from the driveway, spent almost as much time yesterday clearing my nearly flat garage roof, and when I got to the mountain with the kids yesterday, I had to admit that I was far too tired to ski. Nothing ached (well, my neck, a little), nothing was sore, but I was just physically exhausted. At least I was smart enough to recognize it, in accordance with our strict “no injuries” policy. It was the first day of ski lessons, so organizing the kids took a while, anyway, and I didn’t want to just wander off until I knew which group they were in and where they’d be. The instructors took their time and did a good job of separating the kids by ability and age, and Hannah was off to the main hill fairly quickly, but Bekah’s group stayed on the bunny hill longer than I would have expected. Turns out Hannah’s skis are bent, so I’ve gotta take them back to Goldstock’s and get them replaced, and the instructor said she’s ready for shaped skis anyway, so I’ll try to get that done this week. Anyway, by the time the kids were off on their own, I was looking at about an hour and a quarter of skiing, and I just decided to sit up on the deck with coffee and breathe the cool air instead.
Amazes me how much skiers are like baseball fans who only come out when the team is winning. Bousquet was jammed yesterday, and lessons were far more full than they’ve been for the past two years. Admittedly, conditions last year sucked, but still — even bad skiing is better than almost anything else you can be doing in the winter. I don’t understand people who only ski when there’s a couple of feet of new snow.
This much snow:
Oh, yeah. We’ve got snow. I’ll have to put on the snowshoes just to get out of the garage door (and this might be a moment to keep in mind in the event that on some sunny summer home-improvement day, I’m wondering, “Well, why the heck couldn’t we just let this thing open OUT?”). Pictures later.
Paper this morning (and by paper, I mean, “I read the Times-Union online,” so there is no actual paper involved) said the snowiest winter on record here was ’70-’71, when we got 112.5 inches. (In other words, what would be a light year for Syracuse, and an absolutely dry year on the Tug Hill.) We could get up around there this year, assuming this keeps up.
The annoying part of this, of course, is that I can’t get out to ski if I can’t get out of my driveway.
Pictures to come.