As you’ve heard or seen with your own eyes, it was amazing. It was three times the size of the inauguration. It was peaceful and positive. It was the Woodstock of marches!
As I sat down to make New Year’s resolutions a few days ago, I realized that the usual suspects for this operation – intemperance, impatience, cattiness, career, cardio – were banding together in self-defense, fending me off with their collective flabby triceps. What? They cried in protest. Leave us alone! How are we the problem?
I saw their point.
Over the past weekend, I ran into a couple of writer friends in the coffee shop downstairs from the Politics and Prose bookstore in DC. Are you here for the reading? I asked. I was there to see Beverly Lowry present her new book, Who Killed These Girls, about the yogurt shop murders in Austin, Texas in 1991.
Though I have voted in every presidential election since Carter/Ford in ’76, I have often felt that the difference between the two candidates ranged from not much to slightly more than that. Once they get to Washington and get whopped over the head by the checks and balances, not to mention the lobbyists and the PACs, it’s more or less business as usual. The pro-life Bushes did not manage to recriminalize abortion, and Obama couldn’t stop the war. American politics blah blah blah, life goes on.
This past weekend I took my daughter Jane, a high school junior, on the first of what will surely be many campus tours. She is my fifth and last child to go to college, if you include the ex-stepkids, and I realized early Saturday morning that I know something about this process that I didn’t the first several times through.
Through the 1960’s and 70’s and until his death in 1985, Hyman Winik commuted five days out of seven to his office at Brookhaven Textiles, located on the 10th floor of 1412 Broadway in Manhattan, at the northeast corner of 39th Street, where the phone number was 212-695-0510, chanted continually by the switchboard operators in the lobby as they plugged and unplugged the trunk lines. “Oh-five-one-oh, may I help you? Oh-five-one-oh, may I help you? Oh-five-one — shoot, lost ‘em.”
Once upon a time there was a little boy with hazel eyes, a dimpled chin, and freckles scattered across his wide cheeks. His parents split up when he was three and his dad went to live on a farm in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, where the boy and his sister got to visit him on weekends. The sister, four years older with wild dark brown hair, thick eyebrows, and a very high IQ, constantly teased the boy, making fun of his chipmunk cheeks. Yet he was her slave nonetheless.
I just devoured an advance copy of Ann Patchett’s forthcoming novel, Commonwealth, which deals with the topic of blended family. Though I’m not up on all the details of Patchett’s history, I do know she’s from a family that emerged from divorce and remarriage with a slew of step-siblings. Though a work of fiction, Commonwealth deals with the connections (and aversions) that arise in the kludged-together clan that results from such a situation.
When so many ancillary players are dragged into the drama of two people’s attraction, nobody gets out easily, or at all.