For evolution, the Constitution, And the ATMs of banks, The Times and Post and the whole West Coast, I want to give sincerest thanks. A Mozart sonata, my inamorata, And a first-rate BLT. For Silverman (Sarah) and the Obama era, I give thanks most thankfully. I'm a fraud, a fake, a big mistake, a creep. I'm over a barrel but I care a lot for Meryl Streep.
I hung out in Eugene, Ore., last week where it rains every day so the air is fresh and clean. Old people my age don't care for rain so Eugene is not a retirement mecca—more of a youth mecca, a real Alt sort of town for hikers and bikers and vegans and people with multicolored hair. A lifestyle town, with not so many suit-and-tie guys like me. That's fine. My former father-in-law was named Eugene and so the town feels friendly to me. And the university is there, so there's plenty of ambition in the air.
I am off lingonberries for the time being and Volvos and flat white furniture from Ikea. No meatballs, thank you. Once again the humorless Swedes have chosen a writer of migraines for the Nobel Prize in literature, an author of twilight meditations on time and memory and mortality and cold toast by loners looking at bad wallpaper. It's not a prize for literature, it's a prize for nihilism. The Swedes said he's like Jane Austen combined with Kafka with some of Proust, three other writers you'd never invite to a party. Well, at least they didn't give it to Joni Mitchell.
I went through airport security Monday and neglected to take my laptop out of my briefcase and place it in a separate plastic bin and was properly chastised by a TSA lady who put her hands on her hips and said, "I just got done telling you about laptops!" Not many 75-year-old men from Minnesota are out to blow up an airliner, but of course it only takes one, and she was right to say, "Did you not hear me, sir?" in that sardonic tone of voice.
Riding on a bus in the middle of the night through Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, it's impressive, the sheer volume of traffic, hour after hour. Tanker trucks and semis and auto carriers, thousands of tons of goods moving to market, like a train of ants carrying leaves to their anthill. Out here, you don't see the "American carnage" referred to in the inaugural address back in January. Evidently the speaker who portrayed the country as a beached whale and a victim of international conspiracies has now fixed the problems and we're booming again. Good.
My wife has gone East for a couple weeks and now there is nobody to say, "You're not wearing that tie with that shirt, are you?" Nobody to point discreetly at her left nostril and hand me a tissue. Nobody to remind me of the name of that woman with the glasses (Liz) whom I ought to know—I told my wife, "Her and me went to school together" so that she'd have the satisfaction of saying "She and I." "No," I said, "I don't think you went to our school."