1. America, democracy, etc.
But let’s talk about something else, shall we?
2.The van. Oh, you’re tired of hearing about my van? I’m so terribly sorry. Think how much worse you’d feel if you were within a fifty-mile radius of us, and you could hear my actual van, rather than just hearing about it.
A mechanic once wrote on the repair estimate, more in sorrow than in anger, “misfires badly under any significant load.” Oh, yes. That was the first time I ever gave a van a hug. I used to wonder why I could never come up with a name for my van, but after I read this diagnosis, I knew why.
I already know what her name is.
I already know.
3. The lawnmower. The other day, in a neighborhood far, far away, I saw a wee sprite of a girl tooling around handily with a lawn mower, doing her part to keep the family manse tidy and trim. I wondered why my own rotten kids don’t mow our yard. I have four teenagers. Four! Some of them quite hulking! And yet my husband and I are the only ones who mow.
Then I remembered that our lawnmower has several good features, such as: all of the wheels turn. But it’s old, and it’s not well-maintained, and it keeps forgetting to put itself in the shed when it rains, and so it runs a little rough. Last time I mowed for longer than ten minutes, it took two full weeks to regrow a sort of starter layer of skin back on my palms.
4.My transition off Zoloft. Hey, nobody’s reading this anyway, right? So I says to myself, I says, “I’ve been on this drug for a good, long time, and it’s pretty good, but there’s this and that reason, and thus and so, and maybe I can start weaning myself off it, and just see how it goes.” Therapist says great, doctor says fine, so this is what I do. And it was going okay, it really was. It was going great, to be honest. I took my final dose, said goodbye, threw out the bottle.
Twenty-three hours later, eleven different kinds of hell broke loose. Of course they did. Any one of these things would have been reason to start taking an anti-anxiety drug.
5. My garden. If you went out there, you’d think, “Hey, this garden is going okay, considering she keeps forgetting she has a garden. It’s pretty weedy, and she needs to stop talking about putting up a fence and actually put it up, and maybe a little insect control couldn’t hurt. But things are certainly growing. Basil fat and hearty, string beans throwing off the blossoms of youth and getting down to business; tomatoes flourishing, radishes chugging along, lettuce and radicchio doing their part; lonely eggplant keeping busy, watermelons taking their time but not dead yet. Yes, this garden is going pretty smoothly, overall.
I’ll tell you what the problem is. It’s those freaking pumpkins. They look great, right? Here’s just a few of my pumpkin plants:
Leaves plush, vines ramping all over the place, flowers flowering. But it doesn’t mean anything, not anything at all. I’ve been down this road before, and it’s all a sham.
Right about the time when all those overachieving 4H kids (mere children!) are propping up their rapidly swelling Jarrahdales, their Howdens Huge Boys, and their Rouge Vif D’Etampseses on a bed of straw so they don’t crush themselves with their own massive girth, I’m standing there, tapping my foot, wondering why I used up so much valuable garden space for a bunch of yellow flowers that are too shy to go out and meet a girl.
One year, I was so desperate for some pumpkin action, I actually set the alarm for just before dawn so I could get up and hand-transfer the pollen with a delicate paintbrush from the stamen of one flower to the stigma of another. “Stigma” is right, yeesh. Let us never speak of this again.
And it didn’t even work! I also tried the thing where you shock the flowers into doing their manly duty by leaping out at them with a baseball bat and shouting, “YOU KEEP MY LITTLE GIRL OUT PAST MIDNIGHT, YOU BEST HAVE A WEDDIN’ RING IN YOUR POCKET, SON!” That didn’t work, either.
Yeah, I know you can fry pumpkin blossoms. I just don’t want to, okay?
6. Route 9. For Totus Tuus day camp this week, I find myself driving on this road four to six times a day, for a good half hour at a time. And it is gorgeous. Enchanted. Shimmering with water lilies on one side, solemnly robed with majestic pines on the other. There are gardens, cultivated and wild, and dancing fields of copper grasses, trimmed with purple and crowned with luminous coronets. Exuberant copses of trembling poplars give way to swaying curtains of wild grapes. The road unfurls and the intoxicating chorus of July mounts and then, when you’re so charged with green you cannot think that there could be any color but green: the river. Oh, the river. Oh, that deep, romantic chasm, and and oh, that fabulous blue! It just makes you want to
Rumble strips! So rude! So jolting! Any time you happen to slip even the teensiest bit off the very center of the lane, you get smacked with these stupid, unnecessary rumble strips. I don’t appreciate it at all when I’m trying to enjoy my nap, I mean drive.
Things are not going smoothly, I say.
Airplane! photo courtesy of Movie Stills Database