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Basic Instinct, Election Day and that Thanksgiving my dad didn't come home.
Night Vision is an occasional collection of thoughts, observations, poems and who knows what else. Glad you’re here.
You doing all right? Just a couple more weeks until youknowwhat, and I’ll be holding my breath and keeping all my fingers crossed until then.
At one point I had plans to go off the grid for Election Day, drinking too much Chablis in a cabin far, far away, where my phone doesn’t work but the fireplace does. A puzzle, maybe, one we’d never finish. A sexy ‘90s thriller starring Michael Douglas, definitely.
Basic Instinct > Fatal Attraction, btw.
The thought of not knowing the election results while the rest of the world did was thrilling. (I know, I know. These particular election results are not likely to be buttoned up on Tuesday night. Still.) There’s a relief that comes when you’ve realized you’ve done all you could, and now it’s up to everyone else, primarily everyone else in Florida, so you may as well lock yourself up in a cabin in the woods and drunkenly revel in the simple things in life. Election night 2016 was a living nightmare, and I never want to live another night like that. So, I thought I’d remove myself from it altogether.
I imagined seeing the headline of who won on a newspaper the next morning, or maybe even a day or two later if we could stand the suspense that long, while out for a walk in town, whichever town that would be. The simplicity sounded nice. In practicality, the anxiety of it all probably would have been too much.
Doesn’t matter anyway, because, like everything else this year, those plans and that relationship fell apart.
Besides an occasional stressful Election Day, I’ve never minded Novembers. Januarys are frightening, but Novembers feel novel every time they circle around. The air is noticeably quieter. That is, until the crows move back. The leaves fade offensively fast, and one blow of Mother Nature’s breath could strip a tree bare. There’s a panicky rush to enjoy the season while it’s here. The skies, day after day, are painted a darker shade of grey. I like it, but I like sad things.
Every November I’m reminded of a few things. They don’t go together whatsoever, except for right here.
Kurt Vonnegut’s six seasons.
In Palm Sunday, Vonnegut – I can’t bring myself to call him Kurt – wrote a passage about how there are actually six seasons, not four. It’s lovely.
The Thanksgiving my dad didn’t come home.
I was 10 or so. Maybe 9, maybe 11, somewhere in that window. I made sure not to make an anniversary of any occasion during that time period. My mother cooked the whole feast, then she and I silently stared at it getting cold on the dining room table.
My father hadn’t come home from deer hunting. This was not unintentional. My brother was with him, I believe. I don’t know where my sister was. So I made a plate for myself – turkey, mashed potatoes, all the stuffing that would fit – while mom probably cried on the top step of the staircase, as she often did.
Bette Midler was on Oprah that day.
During a wonderfully carefree time of my early 20s, I flew to Chicago to spend an autumn weekend with a man named Dave. I’d met him once, for 20 minutes. I knew his name and I knew in my gut he wouldn’t make me into a Dateline episode, but that was about it. My first night in town we were getting ready to have dinner at Blackbird (rest in peace), back when we got ready and ate at restaurants and nice restaurants at that.
As we were about to leave, Dave said, “I just think you should know…” Then he pulled out one of his front teeth. Old hockey accident, he said. The new permanent tooth was going in soon, but the post was still settling. I can still see his sweet toothless face a decade later.
It made me think, though, that there are some things I don’t need to know.
Like maybe I don’t need to know the election results on that first Tuesday night in November.
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