Utterly random, and in all likelihood not entertaining

It’s 34 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside. This has me thinking that I should have the heat turned on in my apartment soon. The thing is, it’s at least 60 in here, at least during the daytime. This building pisses away an absurd amount of plain old ambient heat. I chose a second-floor rental precisely owing to wintertime considerations, but this is nuts. Then again I like it pretty cold.

I re-read a favorite essay of mine last night. This excoriation by Hunter S. Thompson of Richard Nixon is on a par with H.L. Mencken’s astonishingly cruel anti-eulogy of William Jennings Bryan in the wake of the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925. HST is, as a friend recently put it, a national treasure. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas is what he’s best known for, but that novel barely scratches the surface of his skills. Sadly, his nonfiction was his greatest stuff, and I say “sadly” only out of empathy, as he always wanted more.

There are various pumpkin shards in my general neighborhood, which is not surprising since I live among Rapscallions and Dipshits. That said, I am despondent that I am responsible for exactly zero percent of the carnage. On Hallowe’en I was considering trying to become the oldest person in history to be arrested for egging houses, but I completely forgot about the possibility of destroying people’s jack-o-lanterns, not to mention the various uncarved pumpkins people plop in their yards for unclear reasons. If you’re going to buy a Hallowe’en pumpkin, at least make the fucker decorative. Otherwise you’re just inviting people like me to smash the thing into little bits. But I was too lame this year to even accomplish that much.

You all need to read more of Jim Kunstler. Sure he’s over the top at times with doomsday ranting, but so are Penn and Teller and I think Bullshit! is among the best programs ever produced. Besides, someone needs to carry on about the end of civilization. If no one did so, I would not be inspired to do a damned thing myself.

It’s 34 here but currently 13 degrees atop Mount Washington, which for reasons I cannot account for has been on my mind a lot. I’ve been visiting people in various parts of the country lately, and I always think that if I were to receive a visitor here in southern New Hampshire who had never been to the place, I would most likely take her to Mount Washington. (I’d be tempted to go to the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, but I would be placing myself at risk of overgeeking someone.) Then again, a multi-time record holder at the Pikes Peak Ascent who grew up in the Rockies and has run to the top of Mount Elbert for the sheer hell of it is not likely to be impressed by a 6,288′ mountain, not that I am considering particular visitors. Nevertheless the weather up there, while surely not The Worst In The World despite signage to the contrary, is a phenomenon in itself, and although the peak elevation is modest, the mountain’s prominence remains impressive.

I would also have to show any of these putative visitors the Mast Yard State Forest as well as the house in East Concord I lived in for most of my childhood. I’d probably also be tempted to drive around the town of Canterbury for the lame-ass hell of it, since I quietly and privately logged so many miles there on its endless supply of dirt roads and trails as a kid, when I was just figuring out how to be running-obsessed and understanding just how goddamned big horseflies can get.

The other day I had this odd but welcome burst of warmth for my sister, who’s four and a half years younger than me and my only sibling. I see her fairly often these days, but for years, when I was doing my itinerant thing and living in various parts of the southern United States, I never did. She rocks, and we had a nice little exchange the other day. I also like the fact that she’s got two kids, since I will never be a breeder myself and therefore require other people to have children if I’m to feel that brand of warmth, which I do. Anyway, she pointed me toward this show I’d heard about called Cougar Town, which stars Courteney Cox as a fortysomething hooking up with younger guys. When I first heard the term “cougar” as applied to older women with the temerity to date younger men, I laughed, just as I did when I learned the word MILF. But now I think these terms are more or less offensive, and everyone knows the last thing I ever want is for someone to get offended. I probably think this way because most of my female friends (who vastly outnumber my male ones and always have) are about my age and can therefore now be accused of being MILFs and cougars and all manner of other shit, not that any of them would care if you or I called them that.

I can’t quite figure out why a woman who has given birth is presumed to have ceded her sex appeal. I’m probably just reading too much into things, but lately I seem to have developed a minor thing for older women, meaning older than me (I’m 39). I love Gina Gershon, always have, since Cocktail, and she’s pretty damned old now. Also Sela Ward. And since I’m already into territory no one could possibly give a shit about…

…I will expand a little and declare that I don’t have a “type.” It is interesting, or not, that I’ve never had a girlfriend with blond hair. Maybe I just don’t want to date myself, or my mom. When I was 24 I started seeing a 30-year-old nurse from Canada and this lasted over two years. Next thing I knew, I was 27 and engaged in a brief and extremely ill-advised fling with a college freshman. Then for a while I managed to stay within my own general age cohort, before deciding at 33 that I could be a good companion to someone who was not yet of drinking age. That last one lasted for several years and was in no way bad, and we’re still friends. Actually I’m friends with all of my exes, or at least am on good terms with them. (I’m good at screwing things up and then patching them up in a token fashion.) It was just weird, in the sense that if you’d asked me at 30 if I would have a girlfriend a dozen years younger at any point, I would have sneered, sniggered, and chortled, probably all at the same time.

It seems that my relationship lifespans max out at three years, and often not much less. It takes me a while to truly grind a good woman down, but in the end I always manage.

Lately I am dedicated to finishing my novel. This is something I have had in mind for years, but of course anyone can say that. I have a 6,000-word description of the fucking thing, as well as a detailed timeline and roughly 50 or so pages of a first draft, which will ultimately be revised. I have just lacked the basic courage and drive to write this thing, despite getting feedback from people whose opinions I respect that I might not be a horrible fiction writer after all. At this stage, I am intent only on finishing the novel even if no one ever gets to read it, just so I can deny my bipolar inclinations and say that I actually I completed a project I started. As a result, within the past week I have sort of faded into one of the main characters in this tale and have woken up feeling him out, so to speak. I have to be “in character” for this project 24/7 or it’s not going to happen. This will likely ensure that I am an asshole for a while, even though the character in question is not, at root, an asshole. Kind of hard to explain. But this thing needs to get done before I’m 40 1/2. Then I’ll be terrified to show anyone the results, and will therefore possibly deprive the world of utter shit. Or a decent piece of storytelling.

I have some other shit I really need to attend to, but I’d rather do a five-hour series of bong hits. Since I have no bong, or marijuana, I guess I’ll just have to fake it. I have a bag of Sour Patch Kids I can consume at some point.

This was hopefully the most irrelevant, disjointed, and navel-gazing blog post in the history of the Internet, not that I would be grandiose about it.

Advertisements
  1. #1 by bybelknap, FCD on November 7, 2009 - 9:22 am

    I not only would read, but actually purchase, at full retail, your novel. Get cracking, Mr Slacker.

  2. #2 by Susan on November 8, 2009 - 12:03 am

    Have you read “Inherit the Wind” yet?! That obit was quite excoriatory. The play is remarkable in evoking what Mencken described.

%d bloggers like this: