Twilight. I just like the word. Nightfall is good too – resonant, with a sense of the mysterious. But twilight wins the faceoff.
More than most places, California traffics in twilight. It’s when many movies are shot. It is the honey we export to the world.
Dawn can be inspiring too; sunrises hold a painterly light.
But twilight is more magical. It means we made it through another day.
Twilight. I just like saying it, the way I like saying Kalamazoo or Walla Walla. Tuskegee. Bangladesh.
Twilight is when baseball games start, when weddings begin, when pals pour into bars just to catch up.
It’s when we kick off our shoes, slip into our PJs, spend movie night on the couch.
Twilight is the best time to wash a car, pick the mint, fire up the grill.
Click-click-click-click…whoooooooosh…my summer anthem.
Twilight is when the moonlight splashes in your wine glass. “Eventide,” they used to call this silky time of day. Crepuscular. There is a certain nourishment to these moments. When the truth “hovers between alternatives,” to borrow from the poet Robert Graves.
These have been long, cotton twilights, here in mid-July, the time of year when the hamster wheel slows a bit, when folks break early on Fridays, the lazy nanosecond before the back-to-school ads begin.
In one corner of the garden, I am growing gin; in another tonic.
Even in the heat, the yard is pubescent — full of inexplicable hot spots. After parties, the next morning, I toss the stale wine on the zinnias and the tomatoes, as if trying to get them a little drunk.
If all goes well, we’ll have gin-scented salads soon. If all doesn’t go well? Well, that’s life, I guess.
I feel like such a failure sometimes. Lately, I bounce from party to party, bumming beers and showing baby pix. What kind of loser does that?
I’m the only guy in my circle not driving a $70k sedan, the only one who, if he wants the house painted, will have to paint it himself.
The trust fund has run dry. There is no nest egg (barely eggs). I don’t even have a therapy dog. I have an anti-therapy wolf. Yesterday, she ate my sandwich.
I am rich only in gin and children and entertaining friends. Books and hand tools. Some ski equipment. And $400 in soccer gear I can no longer use.
If there were money in it, I would sleep around. In LA, that passes for a noble profession. But I don’t have the energy. Or the bod.
My schnitzel is torn – clear off the bone; I have no lips. My butt is kind of boring. I have the thickest toenails you ever probably saw. Ick.
The other night, over drinks, a friend asked about “Shazam moments,” such as when the attractive barista holds your gaze a little too long, or the checkout clerk teases you on your choice of cookies – random encounters with just a whisper of misbehavior.
I had none to mention. I have no possibilities…no nose for romance. Doesn’t mean I’m not having a blast.
I have so much gin left over from Michelle’s party last week that I could start my own London.
What a nice backyard bash she threw. This gin ’n tonic club I started seems to attract all manner of thirsty ne’er-do-wells. I mean, really troubled people…some of the finest I know.
One was the daughter of an Oscars producer. Another invented the sky. Still, nobody talked much about what they did for a living. They talked restaurants and weekend escapes. Where to buy Korean ribs.
Michelle hosted in the 100-year-old house she’d just re-done, inviting 50 strangers into this new copper-colored treasure. That’s trust. Or, actually, is that faith — faith that 50 random souls from across Southern California will go easy on the carpets and not ditch their cocktail napkins in the cushions of the couch?
Yeah, that’s faith.
We were mostly outside. This has turned into a summer of the patio, a renaissance faire of gin and finger foods and homemade bean pie.
Listen, I’m done working. I’m even done coaching (such a loss for baseball).
All I seek in life right now are banter and revelation. I want to know how your parents met, the fun stuff you did as a kid, what you’re reading before bed.
In response, I will tell you a bad joke about boobs, or my theories on newspapers and intellectual tyranny, and why I think the Dodgers are the best franchise is all of sports.
At some point, I’ll whip out a grandbaby picture.
I will probably also bore you with my new theory on frustration. Want to hear it? No?
OK, here goes: Our general happiness is mostly based on how we handle frustration. Do we fold, do we fight? Do we blame others? Do we adjust and go on?
Sometimes I feel like an itinerant preacher who bounces from church to church, working only for a jigger of gin…handling weddings, never funerals.
But I could get a memorable sermon on the topic of frustration. Turns out it’s not evil that dogs us so much, as the Bible warns. More often, it’s frustration. Do we approach it like the puzzle it is? Do we run from it? Or do we rally?
Yep, the truth hovers between alternatives.
My sidekick Smartacus and I are off to a wedding this weekend, in Santa Barbara, where half the marriages in America take place, amid the sea mist and the squirrels.
Love a good wedding. As you might guess, I follow all the bridal magazines, and I’ve seen “The Godfather,” like, 50 times.
So, I understand weddings…the subtexts, the flirty glances, the nervous tummies — the faith, the flowers, the love.
Hey, maybe I should become a pastor? You think there’s much training involved? If not, that could be my second life.
“Pastor Twilight,” my business card will read. “Weddings (no funerals).”
“And if I’m feeling up to it, a fine Christmas Eve.”
A wine I’m really enjoying is Caymus, a Napa Cabernet that’s a little out of my price range at $70 but worth it for special nights. I’m more of a $12/bottle guy, often even less. But Caymus is a find. I like the way it mixes with moonlight and dirty jokes. Cheers to you. Have a good and safe weekend.