Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Out To Lunch

It was a mistake to go home for lunch
But, isn’t it always?
There is so much expectation built into
that hour. On the drive
the radio will not play the
song you hoped and the chairs at the
yard sale you saw will have been sold
since the morning commute.
Then there is home
with all of its expectations too—
how, how incredibly heavy, the density
of that word!
The dog will run to greet you, that is customary,
not an expectation because you no longer
think about it-- so second nature
that it’s almost surprising.
But even the pup is not enough to make
lunch a good idea. There is more at home
than a pup. There are words left unsaid from
the night before, or from weeks. There are
things too big for lunch break waiting there.
If you had stayed at
your desk and trolled the internet, or
sat and listened to public radio in your
car you would be much more content now.
This kind of introspection
will not follow you back from the sub-shop
or the Break room. Only from home. Another
hour that did not go as planned. Silently, or
with all the wrong words, eating a raw tortilla
while you pull socks off the hardwood floor
sorting them into the piles of laundry you will
scoop up later. When you come home
from work, when you can deal with them--
after that less weighty drive, little riding on it—
when there is time.
It was mistake to go home for lunch.
You always return hungry.

Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July

I am not a particularly patriotic person. There are some major qualms that I have with the American ethic and the way we view our position in the world as well as our personal positions in the universe. Gorging ourselves and invading places, dictating rules onto others, etc. etc. But there is something about the 4th of July that really gets me.

The sticky-hot long summer days that lead up to this holiday are the stuff of Midwestern childhood memories. They're colored like intsagrams and filled with lightening bugs and sweet fresh fruit. Cousins and siblings and more cousins. My grandfather pulling up in his big red dump truck from a long day of asphalt laying. A motherless child from Jackson Michigan who built his own company, fell in love deeply once and forever, and worked double jobs to feed his seven daughters. I guess it doesn't get more 'American' than that.

He was a relic of a time when men signed up to fight in wars that they believed in-- before that could mean being militant, blood thirsty, or irretrievably right-wing. He loved the 4th of July, because he loved simple things. Cold busch light. Hot dogs. And this country. The quintessential and cliche trappings of American summer holidays. It seems strange that I should find any of it charming now.

But this holiday, unlike others, just gets me. Maybe its the idea that for one moment, across this divided country, everybody turns to the sky to watch something beautiful. There is some basic understanding that, for just this little while, we're not so awful. And we made those red hot sparks in the sky.