On Pittsburgh

I wanted to say, “Thank you for your vigilance” to the TSA woman who went through all of my dirty underwear in my roller bag with some bomb-detecting wand, or whatever, only to discover sunblock and eczema cream. She had me hold the eczema cream in front of her as she tested the vapors with what looked like a popsicle stick — “Don’t squeeze,” she said. Me: “I’m not” — but I think that my initial comment when she was just doing the outer pockets of the Questionable Bag —  “That’s a flash drive.” — is what annoyed her enough to subject me to a more extensive search than otherwise might have been planned. I also wanted to say, “By the way, you guys missed the moisturizer in my carry-on,” but why taunt a federal employee?

*

Bill gave me his card when he dropped me off at my hotel in Pittsburgh. It wasn’t the company card, it was personal. We had enjoyed the normal “Oh my God, I’m exhausted, please talk to me” banter that sometimes accompanies your millionth cab ride from an airport to a hotel. Bill said, “We don’t exactly have a lot of cabs around here.”

I kept the card.

On my last day in Pittsburgh I called Bill and he answered. Gave me a ride to the airport. I saved his number in my phone as “Pittsburgh Bill Cabbie,” because I try to reward good service, and he’s a hell of a cabbie. He gave me a Jehovah’s Witness flyer with my receipt when we got to the airport.

Who knew Jehovah’s Witnesses were such good cabbies? Bill did.

*

I sat at the bar at Hemingway’s and nursed a beer reading my RSS feed on my phone. MLK day. I vaguely listened to the conversation to my left, because it wasn’t interesting enough for me to really invest serious eavesdropping time into.

I ask the three black dudes who are in the bar talking about a march where the march is and when, and they tell me that it’s right over there and that it’s soon. I say, “Cool, I’m gonna go grab my hat,” which I really, really, really am glad I did, “And then I guess I’ll see you there or whatever.”

Of course, the march is pretty big, 1,000 or so people, so I don’t see them again, but it doesn’t really matter. We walk slowly for two and half miles from the big Pitt building in Oakland to the City County Building. Whose streets? Our streets. Even if I don’t live there. Many people speak when we reach the end of the march, and it’s important, and powerful, because they’re people saying shit that needs to be said, shit that has always needed to be said, but rarely ever is.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette put it on the cover of the next day’s paper. According to the story, we outdid Boston. And by we, I mean Pittsburgh. Because for at least that day, I was on Pittsburgh’s team.

*

Pittsburgh Bill Cabbie, of course, was right — there are no cabs in Pittsburgh — and since I didn’t know how public transportation worked in Pittsburgh, instead of catching a cab after the march on MLK day, like you would in any real American city (ahem, New York), I walked back to my hotel.

*

I went to the United counter and asked what the situation was for getting on an earlier flight. The nice gentleman at the counter informed me that there were two people ahead of me on standby. I asked if status would come into play should I register as the third and another person were to come after me and request standby as well. The nice gentleman at the counter informed me that it would. I went to smoke two cigarettes and nap very uncomfortably for two hours.

A friend of mine recently told me that she didn’t understand why I disliked hotels and airports so much. It’s one of those things you can’t really get until you’ve done it. Another friend asked me why I’d opted for an AirBnB instead of a hotel for a conference in Toronto. I said, “I dunno, come be a traveling salesman for a while.”

To most people a roller bag, an airport, a cab to or fro, a hotel — all of those are luxuries. To me, they’re “every other week.”

*

The librarians at both Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon explained hills to me. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. Just that Pittsburgh is hilly. And the elevators are consequently screwy. And their explanations were actually really helpful. The point of the story is that there are ups, there are downs. I’m going to spell this metaphor out for you. Hills = life. Going up = yay. Going down = oof.

And all you can do, really, is keep breathing. Assuming you can still breathe.

The Poconos

In the 21st century, you sometimes think about what your friends and family might think about the last text you sent. In my case, had I died this morning in the Poconos in the middle of a snowstorm, having left my Brooklyn apartment at 5 AM, the texts would have been as follows, between a woman I’ve been seeing on and off.

Me: You’re late.

Her: Well I just realized I can’t see… because I left my glasses. Keep them safe, hopefully I don’t die on my two block walk home

She called me and I missed it and I called her back and she said, “It’s no bother, I can deal without my glasses,” and I said, “It’s not a big deal, just come back and get them,” which she did. I kissed her goodnight/good morning, showered, shaved, dressed in pretty much the same clothes I’d been wearing the day before, and got into my rental.

The night before I’d texted a co-worker.

Me: I just set my alarm and I’m about to set like 30 on my phone.

Her: See now I’m going out on Friday night, making him drive, then sleeping at his place. Because I’m sensible.

Me: See I just cancelled my hotel reservation because of a “family emerency” and because I’m Hilton Diamond they aren’t charging me

Her: Ha.

Me: Gotta love status. And sensibility.

Neither of which, status nor sensibility, matters much in a snowstorm in the Poconos, when you’re half convinced you’re going to die. I’m 31 years of age. In the past few of them, I’ve noticed a serious deterioration of my night vision. So the idea of spending the first half of my trip in the dark and with limited visibility due to snow and terrible road conditions wasn’t really appealing. On the bright side, I hadn’t checked the weather, so I had no idea what I was in for. If I had, I would’ve told my client I had another “family emergency” and stayed home with the naked woman and the prospect of sleep.

***

I told the librarians that I had just endured a harrowing drive through perilous conditions and that I’d been awake since the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t tell them that I hadn’t actually slept the night before, too busy with fucking and so on. But I prefaced my presentation with this because 1) the science lab in the library didn’t have an HDMI cable for me to plug my computer into, rendering my product demos impossible to perform, and 2) I was nervous. Put me in a room with 30 librarians where we’re all seated around a conference table, and I’m golden. Put me in the same room with ten, in front of a podium, winging a presentation due to technical difficulties and I’m a bit nervous.

My voice was shaky and my mouth was dry. I drank water. I found my rhythm, but it was too late. I faced silly questions from people who clearly didn’t understand what my role was at the company —  a deficiency that I can’t entirely blame on them. Though I’d explicitly delineated the various silos in which the business functions at the beginning of my presentation, I had also begun the whole thing with an air of annoyance that I’d been thrown completely off-script. Improv is fine when you expect it, when you’re planning for it, etc. It’s not fine when it happens moments before your hour-long prepared presentation is effectively gutted.

I did my best. I tried to make jokes, liven up the room. The lab was set up in such a way that, with three monitors for the librarians to view the presentation, three tables around those monitors, I had very little actual eye contact from people sitting ten feet away from me. Instead I saw their backs as they looked at some stupid back-up Powerpoint presentation projected on monitors about the room.

Which is a fascinating technological advancement, those monitors. I guess HDMI cables come next year.

***

It occurred to me a number of times on the drive to central Pennsylvania in a snowstorm that I was risking my life for my job. I’ve risked my life for all sorts of things, of course. Pleasure, education, travel, novelty. Hell, even just some of the experiences I’ve had that I haven’t yet written about that I want to one day write about — that’s all been acceptable. My aunt told me one Thanksgiving that she really liked my blog, that one day she was sure I was going to “burst,” and as much of a compliment that seems like, it’s also an unbearable burden. Because what if I don’t? What if I die in the Poconos?

***

The trucks pass on the left in a lane that’s barely visible. Sometimes I wonder if they aren’t actually driving in the breakdown lane. They, perhaps, have not driven to Montreal as many times as I have in snowstorms, with 18-wheelers flipped over on the side of the highway. I hate them. I hate everyone who’s passing me. They should all be slowing down.

I forget if it was Matt or Mackenzie who told me this story, but I only remembered it after one of them did. They were dating at the time, and we were all driving back to Montreal from Boston in the middle of a blizzard. At one point I apparently interjected to suggest that I take over driving duties (N.B., this squares with another story from those times, which I actually do remember the exact details of, when I got a ride from a dude on Craigslist who almost got us killed six times before we reached the New Hampshire border and I “offered” to take over driving duties, which I did for the next five hours till we hit Axel’s spot in Mile End.)

At any rate. Apparently this happened. I remember the drive, just not the volunteering. In a blizzard with no plows and no salt, you find one good line of pavement and keep half your vehicle on that, and you’re probably okay.

And so, driving through the Poconos, I did that. I found my lines and stuck to them. I kept a safe distance from vehicles in front of me in case shit went down. I talked aloud to myself about my own life history, both to keep myself awake and for entertainment. I thought about the last of my text messages, hoped that, were I to perish, my family would be able to retrieve everything. I sang songs I made up. “Driving through the Poconos/Don’t you know that bridges freeze before roads/Trucks driving past with goods to be sold/Driving through the Poconos/Driving through the Poconos.”

Today U Went 2 Baltimore

Today I went to Baltimore. Baltimore, for me, has a special meaning. It’s urban decline fostered by civic neglect, and absolutely gorgeous at the same time. Pittsburgh, too, has this feeling. Milwaukee as well, if you’re keeping score. I’ve never been to Detroit, aside from the airport, but I hear there’s a Whole Foods there now, so, as you can imagine for a white 30-something, I’m enamored of that city, too — just from afar.

The Wi-Fi didn’t work for me on the way down from New York. It seemed to work for a lot of other people, but not for me. As a consequence, I couldn’t really do any work. My work is now the Internet. That’s my job now. I use the Internet and hang out with librarians. Occasionally I sell something, but I don’t really care.

That’s kind of a problem in sales; I’ve just gotten away with it so far.

My friend Peter lives in Baltimore, and I texted him yesterday to see if he was available during my five-hour stint in his fair city. I figured, “I went to your wedding in the middle of nowhere last summer and milked your open bar, so you OWE me this shit.” To no avail. Peter, like most of my friends, had work. When my visit with my customer was over, I looked in vain for a taxi stand, and then a Marriott — both recommended by the librarian I had just met with (who was also, I might add, dressed in a fucking suit, which, Jesus. I’ve had librarians dressed better than me before, and that’s fine, but I had khakis, sweater-shirt combo, and desert boots. That said, the thing about being in sales and having a prescription to anti-anxiety meds is that you don’t really care if someone looks better than you do. Your job isn’t to engage in formality — at least, not if you want to do it well. Instead, your job is to become professional friends with your clients, because people buy shit from people they like, respect, etc. As I once said, “Rule number one for selling me shit:  you must make me like you.” This is the salesperson’s job. I remember some of my best haggles pretty fondly. Professional and personal.) — and the Marriot, of course, wasn’t there. There was a Hilton, but no cabs. Every corner I approached there were cabs, but the trouble was that they were moving. Past me. So I couldn’t be like, “Oh, hey cab, please pick me up and drive me to the train station so I can change my ticket and cost my company money.” Instead I ended up walking. I called my boss and it was windy and I stepped into an apartment complex’s gray, gray vestibule, and we chatted for a while. It was nice. We hadn’t spoken in a while, and this is probably the best boss I’ve ever had, so it was no nonsense and pure kinda-awesome.

Today I went to Baltimore.

On the way I wrote this letter:

Dear [redacted]

You’ll probably never get this, and that’s okay. It might simply be the case that some things will always remain unsaid between us.

I’m on a train to Baltimore for the day. I’ll go and chat with a librarian and see what he says, and then I’ll come home. There’s a man who can’t stop coughing. The sun is in my eyes and the bumpiness is fucking up my handwriting. Also, the awkward position. That, too.

Today I went to Baltimore.

Time keeps on rolling with me

The homeless people who were begging outside of Schwartz’s in 2006 are still there, in case you’re wondering. Schwartz’s is the famous Montreal smoked meat shop, though Mike and I, at Bar des Pins, decided that Main, across the street from Schwartz’s, was just as good, if not better. I haven’t seen Mike in years, probably since 2006 or so, but Mike is the barkeep at Bar des Pins, and when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, Mike told me that I was the only one among the assorted Massholes and shitheads that he was actually happy for.

Mike was my first bartender, and I went back and saw him this evening, after spending the afternoon wandering through the McGill campus, there was no small amount of nostalgia. Mike was my first bartender because in one of the first few days at McGill, Maura and I went to Bar des Pins for a Frosh orientation event, at the end of which Maura puked outside and I pretended not to notice. This is, I would argue, perfectly emblematic of the relationship Maura and I have since developed. One of us pukes in public, the other pretends that didn’t happen, and we’re there for each other no matter what, even if no matter what doesn’t happen as much anymore.

Maura is pretty much a sister to me.

And she became my sister early on. I met Maura my first day in Montreal. My mother was moving me off to college (God, that drive, six hours, pre-Google Maps, into Montreal, having broken up with my high school sweetheart I guess that morning — but that’s another story), and Maura smelled me smoking in my dorm room. “Wow, you can smoke in here?” she asked. “Sure, I guess,” I said.

So that made us buddies. I guess spending four years as buddies can make you love someone.

*

If there’s a Platonic Form (Plato, “The Republic,” et al.) of the rigid designator (Kripke, “Naming and Necessity”) “Axel,” then Axel pretty much is it. Six foot four, Swiss or Swedish or whatever (Aryan, at least; Hitler, “Mein Kampf”), Axel kind of just looks like you would imagine someone named Axel would look. You have to discount Guns N Roses, of course, but outside of, like, five songs, that should be an acceptable sacrifice. Axel also carries himself like an Axel. Slightly ungraciously, but aware of it.

He’s a good dude.

Axel and I ate at Main last night, after drinking, god — what was it, Axel? — twelve or so beers at the AirBnB I’ve got for the week. He kept wanting to drink more beers and I kept wanting to eat, but he won, because his name is Axel (and I have a drinking problem).

When we finally got there, to Main, the Quebecois woman who was serving us probably thought we were drunk Anglos — and we are, I should add, very much drunk Anglos — but Axel lives in Montreal, and I became a man there, here. So I was counting on her cutting us some slack.

I ate poutine covered with smoked meat. Axel ate, I dunno. What did you eat, Axel? I also got a smoked meat sandwich to go. Should you ever be so inclined, I’d advise against the latter. A sandwich just doesn’t hold up overnight in the fridge.

*

Mike said I should go to Main and I asked if there was anyplace that had opened on St. Laurent that I should try. He gave me a couple of suggestions and I wound up at the Lebanese place whose potatoes had so kept me alive during my time living in Montreal. I ordered those potatoes (get the garlic tahini-esque thing/sauce when you go), and I ordered a shish taouk, and I ate the shit out of both. I thanked the man at the counter. I forgot to get a receipt.

I was 30.

In a few days, I’ll be 31. I’ll celebrate here because this is the place where I became a man, but I’d also like to become a grown-up.

I’m going to give it a go this year.

On Trying

Talese and I met outside of a bar. “Do you want to get sober?” He lives in East New York, Brooklyn. He kept talking about his wife, who is apparently in Pittsburgh and fucking another dude. He said he wanted to kill them both. He saw a Facebook post.

I asked him again.

“Do you want to get sober?”

Granted, this is something I haven’t been able to do myself. But that doesn’t mean I can’t lend a hand. I called the AA hotline to try to find a meeting for the dude, and they hung up on me. I said, “Dude, you don’t want to kill anyone, that’s dumb.” I went inside the bar, and told Jay that I would be escorting Talese to the hospital. The bartender told me that it was bad for business to bring Talese inside. I wanted to say:

“I don’t give a fuck about your business, you horrible piece of shit,” but I didn’t. Because the bartender is a person, too.

Talese and I walked to the hospital Siri told me existed (it didn’t), and along the way he told me about the size of the dude’s dick who his wife was fucking, and I stopped him as he started to cry and I said, “Listen, I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I do know that if you kill them, you’re an asshole and an idiot. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t be stupid.” We were on the corner of Franklin and Atlantic. Jay texted me to say he was leaving and I ignored it.

Talese said, “I just can’t…”

And I said, “I don’t care. I really don’t. Do you want to go to Riker’s? Is that how you want to end your days? Because I don’t give a fuck if it is. But if you want to get sober, let’s get you to a hospital.”

I asked him if he had any drugs or weapons on him. He said he didn’t. I trusted him, because I’d already convinced him to go to rehab.

“Don’t tell them your real name. Don’t give them your social.” Basically, I told the dude to lie as much as possible and receive the care that he needed. He told me he wouldn’t.

When the hospital Siri told me existed didn’t, I pulled a black cab over and asked what the fare was to Brooklyn Hospital.

“Twelve dollars.”

I gave it to the cabbie and shoved Talese into the backseat. “Remember: you remember nothing.” I shook his hand. The light turned green.

I hope he makes it.

On the horrible massacre at Gettysburg, 151 years later, and with no particular thread to hold it all together

This is my fourth trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I was here last summer for the 150th anniversary, here the year before that for a conference, and prior to that, many moons ago, when I was in eighth grade and too stupid to realize that it might have been my only opportunity to visit this place. Lord knows, I doubt that many of the kids who were with me on that trip will ever come back — we were on The Eighth Grade Washington Trip, and most of us were too excited by the prospect of making out with girls and boys we had crushes on to pay attention to the fact that in both DC and Gettysburg we were experiencing something we wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to again. Gettysburg is a perfect place, though, in early Fall. I sat today on Seminary Ridge, where, per Wikipedia and assorted plaques nearby:

Robert E. Lee established his headquarters… just north of the Chambersburg pike. [It] also served as the Confederate line of battle for July 2 & 3 attacks against Union Army positions on Cemetery Ridge. On July 3, 500 men in George Pickett‘s division were killed/wounded on Seminary Ridge (including 88 lost in one regiment of Kemper’s Brigade) from the Federal artillery counterfire prior to Pickett’s Charge.The last hospital patient of the seminary’s Old Dorm left on September 16, 1863

I watched the sunset, and thought about where I would want to die. I wouldn’t mind that spot, but I’d want to do it shooting muskets at Confederates.

In the eulogy for my father, I mentioned that Abraham Lincoln had composed the Gettysburg Address over the course of a brief train ride. This turns out to not be true. There’s a house near the rotary/roundabout in the center of town with a weird statue of Lincoln and someone, I dunno maybe the sculptor (it’s weird), holding hands in front of it — and it’s this house, the David Wills House, where historians, or perhaps simply the Wills estate, believe Lincoln put his finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address. In my eulogy for my father, I had said something along the lines of how remarkable it was that Lincoln could just pull something like the Gettysburg Address out of his ass, all the more so since I was presently meditating — in my eulogy, and during the service — on the majesty of the Gettysburg Address when my father was two or three days dead. All I could think about on the morning of his funeral, in a dizzying hangover, was how inadequate my speech was compared to his. At least, I thought enough about it to include it in the ceremony.

Which is weird.

And which maybe has always haunted me. I think of my visits to Gettysburg now as something of a pilgrimage. I always go to the outskirts of the battlefield and wonder what would have happened if the Union had lost. Counter-factual history. The stuff that made me so despise Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America.” What if the Lindbergh had been elected president, or the Confederacy had prevailed at Gettysburg or Antietam? WHAT THEN???

The truth is that Roth’s book was stupid, but I finished the damn thing because I like a thought experiment or two, and I spent some time this evening dwelling on Seminary Ridge and daydreaming in counter-factuals. What if Pickett’s Charge had been successful? (I grew up on a Pickett Street, albeit a northern one, so Pickett’s Charge has always just sounded alarm bells for me — which perhaps helps to explain my fascination with Gettysburg.) What if my father were still alive? I wonder if he’s ever been to Gettysburg. Wait, that’s still past tense. I wonder if he came here. Would he be proud of me? I haven’t fucked up too much yet. Would he and I finally be able to talk to one another like we always should have? We had that one conversation when I finally felt like we were friends, and then, and then… Would he forgive me? For not being able to do it again as he died. Because of Gettysburg, of course. And General George Pickett, and Robert E. Lee, and the horrible traitors of the Confederacy. May they burn in hell, as my father’s ghost ambles away somewhere nicer.

Hotel by Tom III: Northern California (Or, Excerpts from a Journal Never Published), 2010

It might be a dispositional quirk, but for me driving as a passenger down a road called The Gauntlet doesn’t, for the most part, faze me. When I say that I don’t feel better about anything with five pounds of marijuana in the trunk, I don’t mean that I start freaking out — I simply mean that I don’t feel any better about a thing I’m pretty blase about otherwise. I tell myself that calling myself a journalist will save me, despite the fact that I have no journalistic endeavor paying me for my efforts — despite my lack of credentials — …. . But in reality, I know that that ploy must have been tried before, that it probably wouldn’t work. Everyone’s a journalist and nobody’s a journalist. Look at this: it’s a journal —

Much more to the point: to feel blase about driving five pounds of marijuana through The Gauntlet involves deploying your suspension of disbelief. You mustn’t believe that you’ll get pulled over, that you’ll be in trouble if you do get pulled over, or that such a possibility is even within the realm of narrative coherence.

You must cross your fingers, silently pray, and have faith in forces you don’t believe in. You should also try not to act sketchy.

*

“See that helicopter?” Nat says. But of course I see the helicopter. I may be mostly looking at the landscape and pretending there’s no weed in the car, but it’s hard to miss a fucking helicopter here, Nat.

“Yeah, I see it.”

“That’s CAMP, dude.” CAMP is the Campaign Against Marijuana Proliferation or Production or Peaceable Right To Assemble, or some such. I forget what the P stands for. “They’re pulling down someone’s grow.” He points at them, at the helicopter, and I glance over. They see me and a moment of terror passes as I realize that we’ve been outed with five pounds of marijuana in the car and also that we haven’t. Of course we haven’t. We’re pointing at a helicopter landing next to the highway with marijuana plants sticking out of it. Anyone would point at that.

*

Another day in Mendocino and another day of plumbing. I wish I felt more like writing.

*

Charlie left yesterday. My iPod provoked the incident that resulted in his departure. Charlie started giving me shit in the morning about having a password on my iPod, and I walked outside to smoke, said, “Fuck you, Charlie.” Only to see Lauren come outside crying moments later. I asked her what was wrong. “Nothing,” she said. “It’s fine.”

It wasn’t fine. She (the nicest person in the world) and Charlie butted heads for a minute before she told him, basically, to get the fuck out if he wasn’t going to be nice, which isn’t in his nature, and which I really appreciated him for.

He was gone within an hour.

*

I’m situated in the Northern California hills, seven miles to the Pacific Ocean as the crow flies, or so Lauren says — or rather, so her former landlord says, according to Lauren. The fog says they might be right: early morning the hills are flush with it, bobbing in and out of peaks and valleys and redwoods until midday, when the sun is out in force and it coaxes the water back up into the atmosphere. It’s all very pretty, is what I’m saying. And I go to sleep to a symphony of crickets and the starscape from Starry Night, minus the village.

More specifically I’m at the bottom of a hill, next to a pond strangled by weeds and blue-green algae. There are six tents in total, under and abutting a tiny grove of juvenile redwoods. Beside the tents are an empty greenhouse, an empty trailer, and two storage tents with various odds and ends required to run a successful marijuana grow operation. Up the hill, past the gardens and the outhouse, is the workshop and the dry room.

*

My cell phone has been dead for three days, but I don’t care. I only got the spottiest reception anyway, and everyone who’s important to me knows that I’m in mountain lion country. (I spent half an hour last night trying not to breathe, so convinced was I that a cougar was prowling outside; it turns out it was Miranda — girl needs to get a headlamp and stop sounding so much like a large cat.)

This morning, rain. It arrived last night, actually, but I didn’t believe it. Now I do. Now I hope the rain flap holds.

*

Sharing my tent with me are a fly and a daddy-long-legs. I was going to swat them or otherwise get them to leave my general habitat, but I decided that we could share.

I haven’t taken a shower in over ten days.

I’m going to die on this mountain.

*

Josh says “fuck” too much. Uncle John is one of my favorite people of all time. Goat calls me his nigga. Eric plays with some shit he calls “nectar.” Dina is going to celebrate her birthday today if she ever wakes up. Goose has been mastering impressions of all the trimmers for the past two months. Shaggy is being Shaggy. Trish had that seizure I told you about.

Jess had her baby — Lillianna. Lauren isn’t nice, just fake. I miss my friends. And I need to shave.

*

It’s Thanksgiving Day in America and I’m still stuck on this mountainside. Today Goose will deep-fry a turkey and we’ll all try to finish up what remains of the weed to be trimmed. Or, let me put it this way: this movie is about to be over, the credits are about to roll — though I doubt that anyone here deserves any credit for anything.

But it’s Thanksgiving Day in America and I’m still stuck on this mountainside. I’ll tell you what I’m thankful for. I’m thankful that I’m still alive. I’m thankful for the the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever had as a Thanksgiving backdrop. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made — for Shaggy and Goose and Uncle John and Goose again and Josh, Kimmy, Goat. I’m thankful for the fact that this shitshow is almost over. Now if I could just figure out where my home should be.

Look. Listen. I didn’t plan any of this. I’m tired. I’ve had two slugs of whiskey and I’m working on a beer. Duma escaped from Jess’s spot and is running around the property looking for people who are awake so they can pet her. I’m sitting on a lawn chair in the sun with my winter coat on, sunshine melting the ice that formed last night. My hand is horrendously bandaged from a fall I took two nights ago, stumbling high on mushrooms down the hill to get to my tent so that I could sleep everything off. Look, listen: Sometimes I wonder why we don’t all spend a whole lot more time crying. Sometimes I wonder why we’re pretending to understand what we can’t possibly understand. Sometimes I wonder things like that and then I forget them, because they’re far too depressing to think about most of the time.

And so it’s Thanksgiving Day in America, and I’m stuck on a mountainside until this shitshow is over. I leave with whoever will take me the furthest south. I am lonely and permanently heartbroken. I dread what will become of us all. I really, really do.

Happy fucking holidays.

Rating: 5/5