Lessons Learned, Decisions Made, and Things Thunk in 2005

  • If you have a particular understanding of one aspect of world affairs and you believe that the majority of the public’s understanding of this matter is more or less consistent with yours, and if one day the media confirms your understanding of this matter but reports it as new information, then you were misinformed.
  • If a barber tries to put product in your hair, don’t resist. He’s probably right to do it, and you can wash it out when you get home anyway.
  • Something about friendship, distance and making space, time and loss. It’s hard to explain.
  • The “Robin laid an egg” line in the schoolyard version of Jingle Bells is a pun. I never realize that until last week. You know, I knew the younger brother of the guy who added the “Joker got away” line. He was in my class. True story.
  • Chas, I never answered your question. The thing is I don’t miss my childhood much, or anyway I don’t miss it often. My chilhood was easy enough and happy enough. I’m sentimental about it at times and am always curious about other people’s childhoods. But I think I prefer being an adult more than I did being a child. I think I’m getting better at it too.
  • Calendar tomorrow.

Okay. Enough reflecting. I’m going to go kick 2006’s ass. You got my back?


The fog filled in the street during the ten or twenty minutes that I was inside. I cut through the park on the way home, attracted by the glowing lights. When I stepped off the track, the grass crackled. It was stiff with fresh frost.


A crow cries out from an overhead tree branch. I look up and it repeats its call. It’s cold, I can see its breath.


I walk down to the post office at around 4:00. The sun is straight out in front of me, sinking toward its sunset. The clouds are parting or they’re just starting to gather and they’re burning yellow, red, orange, or white. I finish at the post office, go back out, and wander off to find someplace to read. I return home after it’s dark. I sit at my desk and start working again. When I notice that it’s late and that I’m still staring at the little laptop screen, I stop and change the desktop to the color that the clouds were at 4:00.


I took a quick peek inside the first studio and — because there was a couple making out in the corner — I passed it by. I wandered into the next studio and immediately came face-to-face with a man wearing a patch over one eye and a monocle in the other. I didn’t stare long enough to judge whether he was kidding, but I suppose there’s a certain logic there. The monocle had dropped from the man’s eye by the time I finished a circuit of the room.

I exited, passing the first studio again. There was a group of three or four socializing just inside and a girl sitting alone in the spot where the couple had been before.


I stopped in the park yesterday afternoon to relax for a moment — to try to relax, and if not that then to ease off some tension before getting back to my desk. A crush walked by. I noticed her too late to wave or to flirt in any way. If she saw me, she saw me staring at the fountain and shivering in the cold, and chose not to interrupt me. I watched the back of her head for a minute and then focused my eyes back on the water.

Today I took another afternoon break in the park. I sat on the hill and read a couple of chapters. I was a little calmer than I’d been yesterday. My neighbor Jessie came up the path with a girl behind him pushing his wheelchair. They stopped near the edge of the park, by the low wall that marks where the reservoir used to be, and the girl turned Jessie around to face away from the sun. Jessie handed his camera to the girl and she took a picture of him. Then they continued up the path, turning around a few more times to pose for and take more pictures. They walked within twenty yards of me. I looked in their direction to nod hello a few times, but didn’t catch their eye.

Anywhere Else

[Columbus statue]

If I’d written anywhere other than in my head these last weeks, there’d be something here about the park opening across the street. I’d have said something about the hot chocolate at Vivace (not to sweet, nearly perfect). I might have recalled the time that Jon asked me how George Washington managed to win the Revolution and seemed so unconvinced by my answer that I believed for a moment that that war hadn’t been won. I would have mentioned the woman standing in line in front of me who had frowned so often over so many years that her laugh lines had frozen her face into a permanent expression of dissatisfaction.