I’ve spent a week at the You Need to Stop Kidding Yourself Rodeo and it hasn’t been all that much fun. I went from wearing my age like Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors to shaking the layers of dust off the gray tattered cape that is my current life. I believe they call this a mood swing. Age is both a blessing and a pisser.
A big full service, 12-pump, fancy dancy gas station that had sushi, for Christ’s sake, had no fucking donuts today. I had been thinking about a cup of coffee and a donut for miles on the freeway. I could feel that donut in my hand, the anticipation was that physical, tactile. We stopped, went in. I got my coffee, extra hot, extra cream, and then searched for donuts but no, there were no donuts because, as the lady said, “the hunters bought them all.” And she pointed to the little fruit pies. As if.
Before he became very ill and unable to drive, my older brother, bought himself a maroon Cadillac. I went out to his garage to see it. There it was in its glowing deep red glory and I wondered if he’d had a chance to hand wax it like we’d waxed his MG together when I was a kid. I went back in the house to show him pictures of my old Thunderbird which I hand wax. And we bonded over that – cars – as only people who spent a lot of time around Detroit do. Cars were what we wore.
I am rendered mute by the overwhelmingness of the passage of time. There were times visiting my older brother last week, sick as he was, that I nearly choked on the bricks of time in my throat, the disbelief being so enormous, my recollection of him as a young man, shirtless, washing his car in our driveway, the sun blazing, all so vivid and real. In the bathroom, I’d study my face in the mirror, try to smooth the lines away with my hands, and realize this is where we are right now. This is where we are.
There is joy. It’s around here some place. It’ll turn up. It’s like when you know you lost your necklace somewhere in the house. You’re going to find it at some point, so no need to panic. I miss my necklace, that’s for sure, but it’s here somewhere, under a cushion or a stack of papers. It will just appear one day, out of the blue, and I’ll forget I ever lost it. That’s how it works with joy. I know this. It’s not my first rodeo.