Friday, February 10, 2017

Some Things I Would Like to Do This Year

As the dates on the postings will bear out, this has been the longest hiatus in the history of this site, at nearly three months. Of course I thought I ought to say something about the election, and all of the ensuing drama, but for the time being at least the subject with all of its various aspects has defeated me. There is too much to it, and I don't have the concentration anymore to be able to organize all of the material I wanted to address. I still hope that some day it may come back, but I suspect it isn't (going to).

The problem I was having in my political essay was that while I acknowledged all of the awfulness that Trump is inflicting on the country, I am not seeing any element of the opposition to him that I would want to align with or desire to see in power all that much more either. The whole country is clearly a mess, and if there is one particularly evil side, it is not like there is a more reassuring one to turn to, at least if you are me. Even the supposedly good and caring people on the left have become absolutely vicious in their various antagonisms to an extent that I think has become counterproductive and seems at times to be verging on Jacobin territory in its rage. It is going to take a while now to sort all of this out and find some reasonable basis and common ground on which people can sort of begin to relate to each other again, men and women perhaps most urgently. Trump is a product of these underlying problems and certainly seems to be the catalyst for an escalation of the hostilities currently at work in society, but getting rid of him and replacing him with someone slightly less volatile does not fix the serious issues, it just moves them along more (less?) rapidly to whatever form they are going to take next.

The issues themselves I find myself constrained to talk about, because while I don't exactly agree with most of what Trump is doing, and especially with his manner of doing it, I am not as insanely angry about it as everyone else is and I think his opponents go too far in the other extreme on many things as well. Trump and his supporters would probably point out that this kind of nervous response in men--confused, reactive, revealing a lack of intestinal fortitude and control--is emblematic of some of the problems that have spurred his political ascendance. However I am not going to attempt to go on about this any more. I'm sure I will have the opportunity to give some sense of my thoughts on various of these matters in the course of writing about other things, if anyone cares about them. In truth I am still much angrier about my personal failures than about the country's descent into fascism. Maybe this will change if people are forced to choose a side or ideology and accept that the consequence for choosing the wrong one will be death.

I am going to write down some things that I would like to do, that I feel like I haven't done in a long time. I feel like I have not had any real adult fun in some years. I am going to Florida in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to that. Most of my ideas involve going places and seeing things and not really doing activities. I like (or liked) activities if I am doing them with some kind of egalitarian group and there is a party or going out on the town afterwards, though I guess I am getting too old to do that now anyway.

I am keeping my ideas in the realm of plausibility. I would really (like) to go and wander around Spain for a few months or something, but I am a ways off from (being able to) do anything like that.

1. Go to a brew pub. I haven't been to one of these places maybe since before my children were born. I don't really want to be educated in beer drinking by some twenty four old bartender, but apart from that I generally like the atmosphere in these places. Related to this, I would love to find a Czech restaurant or beer hall somehow and have a meal there. There aren't too many in the northeast, that I am aware of. There was one in Astoria, Queens, New York in the late 90s that I went to. It looks like it is still there.

This segues into #2, which is to go to New York City again. It has evidently only been 3 or 4 years since I was there, as I have a photograph on my bookshelf of five of my children, including my still just 5 year old daughter standing upright and with fully grown out shoulder length hair, standing on the piano at the late lamented FAO Schwarz toy store. It seems like it has been longer than that. Besides, I am getting older, and there are only so many more times I have left to go there, and so many things there I have still not done. I should really make a point of getting there this year.

3. Long rides to see rocks. This is something we used to do a lot when my older sons were little, before everybody was in school and had activities and all of that. There are a lot of famous rocks in New England, and they are usually free to visit. I enjoyed those times quite a bit. I forget that the family stamina for long drives is not what it was in those days, people fighting and so on. We are driving to Florida, though my oldest is going ahead on a plane, because we can't all fit in our car anymore, and it is cheaper to buy one plane ticket than to rent an eight-passenger van. So there will probably be a lot of fighting on that trip though much of it is at night and we try to break it up (the ride, I think, not the fighting).

4. I have got to get to Cape Cod one of these years. Last summer we went to Newport, Rhode Island, which is in that general direction, and which we had also never been to, for a few days, because my wife was possessed with the inspiration/desire to see some of the mansions there, so maybe we will get to the Cape, finally, this summer.

5. The Stowe area in Vt. We did go there once about 12-13 years ago. It's only about 3 hours away and I think it's time to go back. I would like to try to climb Mt Mansfield. It's a famously beautiful area, and pictures of it feature prominently in all of the old 1950s and 1960s Vermont Life/Yankee Magazine compilations I have collected over the years. I should spend more time up there.

Along similar lines we should get over to see Lake Champlain and all the stuff going on there sometime, which we have also not done in our family, though I was there once as a child.

(Addendum--6. I've never been to a real deal steakhouse with big booths and big servings such as men's men are wont to frequent. I've always wanted to go to one of those too).

Hopefully now that I have started I can get back to blogging on a somewhat regular basis again.

(This was one shaky post. I hope to God my writing can come back a little stronger than this).