I haven't written back to the H-bomb yet. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
I'm glad L is coming back in a coupla days. I like a houseguest, yeah, but having this particular houseguest has given me not only the wisdom & perspective of somebody who's been through stuff like stuff I've been through (and knows most of the players in my recent and less recent dramas, and has been with me through that) but also a lot of thoughts on deference, and on something I've been thinking about lately when talking to vjsmom: how the influence of persistently negative people, bless their hearts though you may, drags yer ass down.
Sounds all facile and new-age, don't it. I suppose it is, sorta. A little new agey, and more than a touch facile. "Facile" is a term of contempt in rhetoric, yet it means "easy"---and easy isn't always bad, even if yes in these troubled times it's really inappropriate for us Americans who have it so easy in so many ways to want it to be easy. Even if a buncha even ifs.
I'd seen many "EASY DOES IT" bumper stickers before I found out it was kin to "ANOTHER FRIEND OF BILL W.'S" (probably from bumper sticker combos on the same bumpers). Before I knew that, I thought something like "What a cool bumper sticker." (Kinda like a road sign I used to like---tell you about that in a sec.) When I found out it was all utilitarianly focused on alcoholism, it lost its charm for me. "Oh, it's a catch-phrase crutch," I thought, dismissively, not unlike how I was hardly charitable seeing the affirmations the guy in the first floor apt I used to cat sit for had on his bathroom mirror, along with the list of prayer focuses. (His fiancee was third, below Father Somebody and his mother, I think it was.) (He sure seemed queer & in denial---I used to imagine his prayers not to be a fag.) (He also had a chart of average angles of erection as a man ages on his fridge; that I liked.)
S'anyway, don't get me wrong---the trite & facile still seem to me to merit suspicion, and won't be earning instant agreement or acceptance from my tired old knocked-about soul. But something. But something about being serious, and something about letting the optimist back out. She can take the razzing. I need her to help me take it easy. She needs me to make it easier for her.
Okay, if you're still with me after this tripe, you've earned the story of maybe my favorite road sign ever (and I'm a lover of road signs).
Back in the late 1980s, Baltimore's Jones Falls Expressway, or JFX, which is mostly just one long bridge leading into the city from the northwest, underwent a major renovation. Because many frightened white people in the suburbs used the highway to zip past all the scary urbania to get to their downtown offices, a lot of thought went into designating and marking alternate routes they might take during the years-long project. B'more has something of the spoke-like design of L'Enfant's D.C., and a handful of these routes were marked with numbers in colored circles. Flyers went into newspapers; TV news people talked us through it all; road signs were erected. The "mascot" of the project was a cartoon guy in a hardhat, who'd be standing there smiling on the signs with the big green-circled 4s, say, going up and down Liberty Heights or Randallstown Road.
Most of the detours were fairly straight shots, so the design firm that did the signs decided to toss in a variation that was just there for reassurance, and (for variety? for kicks? who knows) they decided to go with the little cartoon guy smiling---I believe giving a thumbs up---saying "YOU'RE DOING GREAT!"
Okay, sure, it was for scared suburbanites, and we hate them, yes don't worry, relax. But it was also a metal road sign, paid for by the government, erected just to make us feel better. You gotta love that. Or anyway, I loved it.
There was also a bumper sticker: "JF@X#*&!---Driving You Crazy For A While." Fake cursing, paid for and distributed by the state as a morale booster.
Sure, it's a dorky kinda thing to take pleasure in. I don't care. I own it, and do all kindsa other not very cool new-agey verbs about it and to it and around it. And it's hot tonight, yes, but I've got a breeze with the fan & my naked self & the open windows. And it's just the weather. If you're going to get, routinely, upset about the weather, then you're going to be upset routinely.