First off- Steve postponed his Florida exit strategy for one week. He remains in our frozen tundra. I could choose to believe it is because he cannot bear to leave me. That is magical thinking, but I like it. In truth, I think that he was so sturdy when he rushed home last year after Dad’s death, that he has never had time to imagine life there without a noble cause, i.e.- watching Tom. I must admit that I did some blithering myself on Tuesday, not because he was leaving, but because it will never be the same in Pompano Beach. We deal with things as we have to, and this next stage – of Florida without Dad- is hard. I’m a baby. At least I can take a long shower to drown the sound of my blubbering. Steve has to be strong and composed. He will depart on Wednesday, and Middling son Mike will arrive in Florida on Thursday for a weekend excursion. It will be an easier re-entry for Steve with company. I cannot go until I am really lonely for Steve. That is my bridge.
I am not a fan of the frozen months, but one of the nice things is nesting. I like to read, and so I can plop without feeling guilty. It is somewhat easier when Steve is not listening to random sporting events at 100 decibels. We read The Elegance of the Hedgehog for bookclub last month, and I cannot broadly recommend it- though I enjoyed it. Of course, I skimmed a lot. The problem about reading a book that was written in French by a philosophy professor who ruminates about societal stratification are multiple. First of all- can we trust the translator? OK- I give up. I don’t speak French. So I did. Secondly- do we need to pay attention to the philosophical parsing? Will we be gypping ourselves, and missing some sublime truth? Probably. But I didn’t care. I endured my share of circular logic in my college philosophy classes, and now I do not need to overthink. So I blasted through the lectures and focused upon the story, which was sweet. That is a tepid endorsement, I know. Next month we go to Empire Falls by Richard Russo. In the meantime, I am tip toeing into Let the Great Earth Spin by Colum McCann. So far, the language is heavenly, and the characters beguiling.
I escaped the house one frozen night to see It’s Complicated with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. It was a great girls’ night out movie, though the world that we saw on film is a far cry from reality. Escape is good for the soul. The one true note we all saw was that kids are strafed by their parent’s divorce, even when they are hardy and act unaffected. Most kids would gladly see their parents unhappy (though not miserable or abused) and conjoined. Most of us raised kids who believe that our fulfillment in life arrives only through them- a belief that I can understand when I flash back on my absorption in their daily lives. Therefore, they want us to be a unit, because as such, we are better able to minister to their needs. I get this: though I lived in a different state, and my parents were not around to pitch in, I was made stronger just knowing they were there for me. Once a parent remarries, you might have to compete with the new spouse to get your needs fulfilled. I know my Dad felt the need to assure us over and over that though he loved my Aunt (his girlfriend) he was never going to marry and muddle up his finances. He also offered up that he was too old to sin- a detail that we were fine NEVER knowing.
All the Jay Leno drama was pretty funny this weekend. TV speak: “His show has exceeded our expectations, but has caused difficulties for the affiliate’s news” What? He is a nice enough guy- but his show is/was lame. When you try so hard to find the middle, and to offend no one, you end up with Jay. My dream late night viewing involves Jimmy Kimmel. Both Conan and Dave amuse me, but they are so twitchy that they agitate me at bedtime. Jimmy is like a cuddly teddy bear. He may not BE normal, but he seems normal. I see my kids in him. The fact that Oprah pushes him back so late that I am comatose during his monologue has fueled my antipathy toward her. She is still in my Tivo season passes- but I delete every single show without watching. What has happened to me?
Another random thought: I was sad to hear of Artie Lange’s self-abuse/suicide attempt. He is the polar opposite of Leno: very funny, but harsh, taking no prisoners. It is hard to set yourself up to be the hostile comic; it depletes your humanity over time. That is why Conan has a dog puppet, and why Kevin Matthews has Jim Shorts. Your alters can speak the meanness you are hesitant to give voice to. You get off scot free! I am not his target audience, but I see the raging pain of addiction and anger in him. He reminds me how grateful I am that Steve is sober. Maybe he is afraid that Sober Artie isn’t funny. My bet is that he is. I hope he has the chance to find out.