I got up early, got to breakfast with two year old hepcat Bella, who taught me the zen of sprinkles spread over cottage cheese and bananas, as well as her dad, who kindly heated me up a bagel, and then made my way downtown to the courthouse. When my hearing finished, and I had kibitzed with the other counsel on the various kibitzes (kibitzen? kibitzum?) in our particular kriegspiel, I headed out to LAX airport. I stood in line at the airport for interminable periods, relaxed because I knew I was on track and ahead of the game. I returned calls and made progress generally while waiting for my plane. I had a chance to eat a lunch, thereby avoiding the "no food depression" of yesterday. Today was one of those "fly from noon until evening days", though, when the trip coupled with the time zone change makes things essentially a lost day. I finished Nick Hornby's "How to be Good", which improved as it went on, quite good actually, and posed well the problem of, well, how to be "good". I virtuously stayed in the plane during the stop in Las Vegas, although, with hindsight, I do like it when that Elvis slot machine sings "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". In a future era, I fully expect to see Led Zep gambling machines shouting to me that I need schoolin', and baby, that's no foolin'. During the moments after I finished the book, I sat thinking about how does one "work in" genuinely helping others into one's life. Somehow instead of solving this problem, I instead began to work on an aphorism: "When I was good, I was very good. When I was bad, I was better. When I was wickedly saintly, I was divine".
Although I had a window seat, I did not, as usual, look at the gorgeous desert or try to guess (completely cluelessly) which cities we passed over. I instead alternated my novel with a magazine called Biography. I had somehow thought that Biography was kind of like the history channel, only with celebrities mixed in to improve circulation. Thus, when I finished the Uma Thurman cover story , I assumed we'd move on to Douglas MacArthur and Malcolm Muggeridge. Actually, though Biography is rather like In Style, with lots of glossy celebrities at their best, except instead of photos of peoples' "cribs" (hate that word), we get recitations of people's dates of birth. I was grateful, though, for the special inset table which advised me which actresses represented which cosmetic companies. The real 'gossip piece' was the Natalie Wood bio. No new secrets revealed. I find that people can be miserable even when very popular. No new secrets revealed.
The fellows on the seats beside me on the Vegas leg read guitar magazines, talked about how the Jaguar was only worth 400 or so until grunge, when it went up to 1200, and then they stopped talking, while one of them began to read Kahlil Gibran. The other wore a bandanna. I was still reading my glossy magazine, in my navy blue suit and tie. I probably was the "older generation" they hope they will never become, but I am a prophet of sorts--I know they will someday become something frighteningly like me. We all become what we fear the most.
When we landed, the air was like a sauna, only not really a hip Finnish sauna, when one hypothetically says "Thank God we can escape this cold". No, this was more a "why do I pay 35 dollars a month for this cheap gym sauna", not that I've ever used a cheap gym sauna, or that I did sauna when I was in Finland, but one gets the idea. As I walked, trundling my little rollaway bag behind me, the airport speakers began playing "Year of the Cat", by Al Stewart. My mood, already good, lifted immensely, as I was almost exactly in an Al Stewart mood. I thought to myself how one hears Al Stewarts and expects him to look like a kind of low rent Bryan Ferry, in a leisure suit maybe, but when you see him on TV, he actually looks like a cross between Leo Sayer and Richard Simmons, only hip somehow. I wondered if he had "the right kind of fame" or "too much fame". Then I had a LiveJournal moment as I thought how we all look in our journals versus the rather more Richard Simmonsy way we "look" (speaking metaphorically) in life, but the idea was too ephemeral, and so I focused on the song instead. I have multiple foci, so I also focused on that old Al Stewart song about bedsits and then I realized I've mixed it up with the Soft Cell song about bedsits and I had a momentary glimmer of what a useless aggregation of thoughts I can be. The heat purified me like a sauna, I suppose, as i went outside.
As I wandered the parking garage for the obligatory 15 minutes while I racked my brain to remember where I put my car, I thought of how grunge as a movement really did not interest me very much, and about what a sad life Cobain had, and, asynchronously, how many wrong, retro, misogynist, turns hip hop has taken, and about how punk really "ended" folks like Al Stewart, but then I thought how absurd that was, because "punk" was such a contrivance, anyway, and then I found my car.
I had raced to the airport on empty, so I raced from the airport, praying I'd make it to a station. My car began that "out of gas" cough, engine missing, when I saw on Bass Pro Road (home of the huge Outdoor World Bass Pro Headquarters), a Texaco beckoned. I just cruised in, got gas, realized how many times my personal theology is shaped by coincidental gas stations, giving me that God is watching over me feeling, and then I bought animal crackers and went home. I am glad I remembered to phone my dad and tell him "happy birthday" tonight, but I wish I'd gotten the gift in the mail.