Felt so domestic. Bought my son a set of cotton sheets at Target, washed them, then tried to wrestle them on, only to discover his bed was a queen, not a double. The sheets wouldn’t fit, ruining a triumphant moment in my untriumphant home life.
Thought about this the other day while swimming laps. Two questions pulse through my head whenever I swim:
1) Why is life so tricky?
2) Am I gonna swim right out of my suit, because I am sleek and featureless, much like a carrot, and if I swim too fast, there is the danger that I will leave my swimsuit in my wake. I mean, talk about dramatic tension.
Just think of the scandal. The YMCA is an institution that preaches charity and forgiveness, but there are limits to anything, and a pink little man swimming across Lane 2, peeled like a banana, probably violates some fussy in-house regulation.
So, I guess what I’m asking is: Anybody need a free set of cotton sheets, straight from the dryer, never used, in a tasteful Yankee pinstripe? They’d be good for Halloween ghosts or drop cloths, or if you have a double bed — which nobody does anymore — for dreaming significant dreams upon … for plotting coups, thinking big thoughts, little thoughts, smiling as you drift off to sleep half in the bag.
Those kinds of sheets.
Sheets you might use, for instance, to polish a lamp, or to escape out a window, hand over fist, to your Romeo or Juliet waiting below in the moonlight.
The other night, I dreamed that I was getting married. So sweaty. In the dream, it was two hours before the ceremony, and I had two cars to deal with downtown, one a Tesla, and I couldn’t get in because my phone was dead.
If that’s not a metaphor for marriage, what is?
Marriage has been much on my mind of late. Rapunzel is getting married soon, and two nieces recently got engaged; my buddy Brick too.
Another buddy Jeff is getting married in two weeks to this impossibly beautiful young woman who sees for them a wonderful future.
Jeff’s adult son threw him a bachelor party – technically, a “dadchelor party” (anyone smell an Owen Wilson movie?)
Before you know it, we’re down in Temecula…a wild and rustic place where the aesthetic is dried-out old barns and tacky cowboy saloons, both of which I happen to like very much, thank you. Lots of women with nose rings too.
Jeff’s son has rented a villa, and a bunch of dudes are splashing around in the pool and playing beer pong. If you’re unfamiliar with beer pong, it’s like “Jeopardy,” only more cerebral.
Before I arrived, the others had ridden the mechanical steer at some cowboy bar. Not all at once, but I’m sure the thought passed through their beery noggins. A video exists somewhere of them slithering slowly off the bull, like drips down a paint can – going, going, going, gone.
Me, I’m not much for group activities. I hit my head when I was a child, and a sense of bewilderment has hounded me ever since. So when people expect me to stay in lockstep in any group activity – line dancing, or a nice game of Twister, I sort of flutter away to do my own thing.
Is that weird?
And, to answer your obvious question, we did indeed end up at the Pechanga Indian Casino, where money is a recreational drug. A working-class casino, Pechanga is to gambling what mud wrestling is to ballet.
Now, if I’m gonna drop a wad of cash, I’d just as soon it go to the Native Americans as to some slimy MBAs running Vegas. Perhaps that’s just me though.
In no time, I bombed out at the blackjack table, then promptly failed to understand the Indian casino version of craps, because card-based craps at an Indian casino is too representational, too much like calculus. Even my rocket scientist friend Dave couldn’t grasp it.
On the way home, the Uber driver almost killed us on a country road. As we bounced along, we grabbed for the stripper pole that was hanging across the ceiling of the big SUV — probably for giggly bachelorette parties is my guess.
You know, for me there are two phases to writing. The first, where I pound the keys like a ragtime piano. The second, where I erase it all and start fresh again.
“Art is the triumph over chaos,” as Cheever noted.
So is writing. So are bachelor parties. So is love.
And what this weekend escape represented to me: starting fresh again.
Because two weeks from right now, my buddy Jeff will be climbing out the window on knotted sheets to his shimmering Juliet below. And off he’ll go with an impossibly radiant woman who sees for them a wonderful future.
And a triumph. Over chaos.
Props to those who flew the flag this Memorial Day weekend. How soon we forget. And to those who staged the wonderful parades as well, where a variety of views and causes were allowed to participate. That’s what it’s all about, right?
Coming Saturday: I wish Sinatra one more song. I wish Kobe one more shot.