“Turn that off,” I suggest to Jenn, while she’s doing her daily ablutions and applying powders to her face.
It’s early. Jenn has already done the gym and has committed to wearing her workout clothes to work, just sneakily disguised beneath a form-fitting dress that suits her. It’s what she’ll wear to school where, as teacher, she’ll change the world by manner of clocking in for her shift.
“Turn that shit off. I’ll grab some coffee and join you.”
She’s listening to NPR while doing her face and the news of the world gets more harrowing as the weekend approaches. She obliges, clicks off the stream.
I’ve been cursing more lately, but I don’t care. (My grandma would be lecturing me, were she still here). But the thing about cursing is that it’s the same thing Freud said about laughter: it’s the subconscious crashing through and exploding decorum for the sake of expression.
I grab a cup of coffee, peel back the bathtub curtains, and sit on the edge of the tub while she adjusts her mirror.
We’ve been in constant conversation recently. Talk talk talk. I got her a staghorn fern for Christmas because she’s been wanting to re-design our kitchen nook so that it’s more comfortable. So that she can lounge in it while I do my cooking, and so we can spend more time together in the evening conversing before putting the kids to bed. Doing all the rituals we do in perpetually getting ready for tomorrow.
The staghorn: it just had a bud. I am happy to report it is thriving.
I sit on the edge of the tub, which I crawled out of seemingly hours before. I’m a night owl, and stay up late writing. I end the night always with a bath before I crawl into bed with Jenn, before I wrap my arms around her in sleep.
I received a cautionary query from a good friend recently—he has a sister with bipolarity—and he asked, “Are you manic right now?”
It does run in my family, but I say, “Oh–fuck, no.” I’ve got a battery of therapists and angels watching over me. I’m just happy, fully, right now and need to exploit that. A lifestyle change and meds punching my pineal have me different. And with yesterday, the Doomsday Clock having been advanced to near midnight, I figure I need to stay laser-sharp and perhaps PRETEND mania the closer to 12 o’ Apocalypse we get.
Isaac Asimov was asked: “What would you do if you knew tomorrow you’d die?”
He said: “I’d type faster.”
So I write and write into the dead of night, read all the news. I report all this to Jenn while she decides on a smoky eye to match her dress, as we sit in our little bathroom.
I narrate all my on-line adventures of the night prior. I gave up TV. Can’t even fucking work the remote—Cayde does it for me. (I only watch ‘Jeopardy’, and last night I impressed the hell outta Cayde by ringing up a score of 54,600. I knew Final Jeopardy: Arthur Miller, 1949, ‘Death of a Salesman, and what it’s like to fail).
I write to people all over the world every night.
That’s the cool thing about the internet: so long as people aren’t busy blackening their souls and depositing evil shit anonymously on social media threads, you can talk to anyone, anywhere. I write to my friend who’s in Antarctica; I write to my writer friend across town; I say, “Hey” to my sandbox-buddy in Guatemala; I send letters to Chicago and St. Louis and Africa and Finland.
Jenn is beautiful—doesn’t need the make-up, but rituals are important, and what we do to feel beautiful needs no apology.
Bertolt Brecht said: ‘What times are these that to talk about trees is almost a crime, because it implies silence about so many horrors?’
He also said: ‘This then is all. It’s not enough, I know.’
I prefer to talk about trees and horror in the same sentence, talking fast, because both are important.
I help Jenn out the door by dressing Finn. Purposefully, I dress him in a Superman tee. Remember—Jenn’s got her workout clothes on beneath a dress like some modern-day Clark Kent.