the long open road of summer

driving home, down into the clouds

I’ve had the fidgets this week. I’ve had all my days on the calendar basically blank. Sure there’s my MetaFilter job which is 5-15 minutes out of every hour, and there’s the ongoing library automation project which is going pretty slow motion, and there’s some upcoming writing I’m supposed to be doing, but my days are bounded by … nothing. I’ve got the absent-minded floatiness of someone without enough structure. Just this pat week I realized that my windshielf wiper fluid spritzer thing wasn’t broken, I had forgotten how to use it [to be fair, I was thinking it worked like the one on my old car]. So, while I’m watching myself for signs of premature dementia, I’m also suspecting this is what it’s like when I relax.

So, I did some things. I helped my friend Stan pack up his kitchen in preparation for his move down the street this week. I checked out the local hospital cafeteria with my pal Forrest [for fun, not because anyone was sick, when gumbo is $2, who needs a convenient illness as an excuse to visit?] I reordered my instant messenger buddy list and deleted about 400 people who I could not for the life of me remember. I set up both of my tents just to make sure they worked okay just in time for them to get totally filled up with water in our recent rainstorms, leaving little pollen rings inside them. I went to buy some gravel, but I guess they ony sell it by the truckload so they gave me a little bagful for free. I visted the local historical society with Jim who was up visiting. I went to a Solstice cookout/bonfire/frisbee/lost-in-the-woods extravaganza. I made cookies. I finished a few books. I straightened out my bookshelves. I planned a few future trips. I went swimming (though not outside, yet). I sent a few postcards.

So that was the first few days of the week. We’ll see what I get done with the last three. I think I did all the stuff from the list a few weeks ago, except maybe removing the flannel sheets. It’s still a little chilly at night here.

What do you think?


  1. I am a longtime fan of hospital cafeterias, especially when there’s a fat piece of chilled cake for afters.

  2. I am writing a book on grammar and language. I am currently working on a far-ranging chapter on the sentence. I ran across your web posting of something called “The sentence,” by Barthelme. Is this your title? Barthelme’s? Did it originally appear in a longer publication? Can you tell me who holds the copyright, or if I may lift all or part of it for my book? I want to use it (or part of it) in a section about artful nonsentences and stream of consciousness.


    Jim Piper

    P.S. I have five books, two English texts and three books about film watching and film making.