A Day At The Lake

One full day to myself on The Lake, and what do I do? I watch ‘A Wedding Story’ marathon on TLC. All afternoon.

I understand now why Americans are super-sized. I spent the balance of the foggy day-after in front of the television, picking through the fridge, and staring out at the cold gray white caps on The Lake. If I lived anywhere other than New York City, I’d be 210 in no time.

Really, it wasn’t so bad. One of the episodes got me kinda’ teary. You know, the one with the divorced father of two who marries the once-jaded divorce lawyer? And in the middle of the ceremony she leans down and addresses the kids? Heart warming. Really.

So now I am passing through Darien, CT, on Acela Express #2521 en route to New York’s Penn Station. I’m in business class, surrounded by Dockers and Dell laptops. I’m wearing my army pants, a Captain Nick’s t-shirt, and running shoes. I’m typing on my G4 and listening to Rufus Wainwright for the first time in months. I thought ‘I Don’t Know What It Is’ and its train-oriented lyrics might put me in a good place for this post.

I was hoping the train was my big number
Stopping in Santa Fe and the arches of Topeka
Though I’m chugging along, put away by the crossing hand
We’ll be heading for Portland, or Limburgh or Lower Manhattan
Find myself running around
I don’t know what it is to get me over
I don’t know what it is to get me over
I don’t know what it is …

Instead, the song is a time warp. I listened to ‘Want One’ constantly last fall. It was the soundtrack to my brief affair with The Socialite. His symphonic, sardonic songs were prime accompaniment for my predawn walks from Christopher to 56th Street. Today, a full six months later, combined with ‘A Wedding Story’ marathon, and a weekend of couples and babies, well, you can imagine where my noggin’s at. To make matters worse (as I am apt to do), I double-click on a file titled ‘novel.doc’ on my desktop and step even further back in time…

‘Handshake Drugs & The Social Registry’ is a half-finished — ok, 1/8 finished, if I’m lucky — memoirish thing I started in the depths of last winter. I think the term now-a-days would be “lad lit,” though I’ve been considering calling it “dick lit.” It’s intended to include all the salacious details that I don’t include here, which are copious (though rarely actually salacious). It reads something like this:

“I try and be in bed by nine these days,” she says. Her voice is short and sharp. “So … I … was … sleeping.”

“That’s cool. I understand and appreciate that,” I say. “But I can’t know what’s going on ‘these days’ if you don’t tell me. I’m good, but I’m not psychic.”

I pause.

“And since when was I the bad guy? Or is that your shtick? Is that how your mind works it? You make every guy who has the gall to fall in love with you into your father so you can loathe him and leave him to pre-empt his leaving you?”

She is quiet in the back of her car, the lights of Lower Manhattan passing in a blur.

“I’ve never done anything but advocate for you. I’ve never been anything but supportive. So don’t snap on me. Don’t treat me like I’ve done something wrong, unless it’s some kind of sin to love you.”

She begins to cry. A lone tear builds in her right eye and tumbles down her cheek. She looks away, stifling the sadness rising in her chest as she so often does.

I have figured her out, she says. I’m the only man who ever has, who ever will. She loves me. She says it, right there into the cell phone for all the world — well, her driver, anyway — to hear. And she is full-on crying. And Fucking A, she doesn’t care who sees her.

Which would be miraculous, had it gone down like that. Instead, it is 4:41 a.m., and I’m awake again. A garbage truck is making a hell of a racket outside my window, crushing and grinding, beeping and braking. The garage door on the high school across the street squeaks on its rusty runners. A car alarm rages.

You get the idea. I’m just a few minutes from Penn Station, though, so I have to snap out of it. The City beckons. The MTV awaits. Duty calls. There is news to break. There are web sites to build, supervisees to supervise. The melancholy can wait. And surely will.

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