Sunday, September 13, 2020

I forgot my phone upstairs, a bit drunkenly, and of course I immediately saw beautiful pictures to take: a view up the blocked-off street, children playing under a silvery dusky sky; grownups on the sidewalk drinking; pink-purple chalk hopscotch and Black Lives Matter. But of course if I could have taken the pictures I wouldn’t have written the words.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

I gazed from the bar’s gravel backyard at the neat row of three windows on the top floor of a building across the way, wondering if I’d see anything, waiting for something to happen.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Part of being on vacation, if you’re not on a cruise ship or an all-inclusive I guess, is the pleasure and relief of trading one set of problems for another. The things you find irritating and uncomfortable at home are gone—or at least transformed, mostly because they’re temporary—and instead you have a new set: bad lavender hand soap, dust and grime under the bed, baffling television technology. These inconveniences are in fact worse than those you’re accustomed to. They’d be intolerable if you were working, getting your kid ready for remote learning, straining for the end of another day. But because they’re here—next to a lake, next to a little town with an ice cream stand, nothing special even, just somewhere else—they’re perfectly OK.

This is why we go on vacation, really. To temporarily trade our cares for other ones. Also for the pleasure of going home.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

On our second or third day at the lake shots rang out somewhere on the far shore. They weren’t pops or cracks like from a handgun, more like booms, maybe a rifle or shotgun, but who knows what the water does to sound. Every five or ten seconds for a long time, so it wasn’t hunting. Target shooting I guess. It didn’t happen again but every day out on the water I imagined some malevolent presence over there. Would I hear the evil whistle of a bullet over my head, or skimming through the gentle waves, or piercing my donut floatie to lodge into my hip? Some bored teenager, thinks he can take a few shots at strangers, no one the wiser. I’d tell the kids turn around, head back to shore. Fast! Single file to make a smaller target. And when they were close enough to stand: run!