I’m already sedated. It’s my name.
Hey! I’m in lovely The Villages, Florida, where the sun always shines, there are sometimes buffalo, and there are no young hooligans around to interfere with your peaceful retirement. The sort of place I might have raged at as an angsty teenager (as opposed to an angsty two-decader, or angsty twenty-something, even if that something is a “nothing”) before realizing that my anger is really misplaced, because, for crying out loud, you’re throwing your insecurities at retired people? Besides, my grandparents live there, and they love it, so I have no reason to whine. Thank you for everything, The Villages; I have no complaints whatsoever.
Speaking of my grandparents, ever since my grandfather went into a delirious fit that left the doctors saying he was on the health-spiraling-downward-and-not-getting-better bus (don’t say the D word!), he’s not only gotten off of said bus, but he’s traded in his ticket, rented a Ferrari, and sped off onto Recovery Road. He’s up and about, off the oxygen tank that caused him to remark “I look like a goddamn invalid!”, taking it easy but still walking around, driving his golf cart, and doing most of the things he ever does. He was only a little peeved that one of the doctors had said he had one month to live. What a champ. So thanks for all your well wishes, and keep them going if that does anything for you (he still has two rounds of chemo left!), but we think he’ll be all right.
My visit has been very nice nevertheless. I helped them do what they gots to do, and spent a bunch of time with them too. Read most of Tom Robbins’s “Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates”, which I’m enjoying a bunch. Also finished “The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”… a review will follow once I sort out my thoughts on it with Beej and Ram. Ate at two okay Thai places (once with my aunt and uncle, once with my grandparents) and a chain-but-tasty fish restaurant… transition to next paragraph.
…Reflected more on the purpose and impact of food. On the one hand, you have Ben Franklin, “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.” Also my mom, “Sometimes when people are visiting it becomes a routine of just waiting for the next meal.” Also me, “this.”
On the other hand, you have culinary school. You have the concept of “gourmet.” You have food AS AN ART; but maybe even the best kind of art, because it affects at least four senses (often all five, or seven, or one, or however many you say there are), is made specially for you, is never quite the same twice, and is so ephemeral! You can make a point that food is the only art you need to survive. (Of course, I would argue with you then, too, but for different reasons.) What I’m trying to say is that I’m conflicted, because food can be wonderful, but I also think about food much too much for someone of my mental abilities (not bragging; I’m saying I have more intelligence than a lap dog).
What new wisdom do I have from my reflections on the all-important Meaning of Food? None. What new knowledge? Well, a lot of recipes from my grandmother, which I am typing up now. Mostly a lot of desserts. Some families have “family recipes” passed down from generation to generation; my grandmother has a file box full of newspaper clippings and note cards. The handwritten note cards are the ones to keep: they might be “family recipes.” (This is not meant to sound ungrateful; I bet a lot of these recipes are pretty good. But there are no recipes that she’s particularly proud of; no Family Recipes with capital letters.)
And as for the title of this post? Well, I feel like I’m bursting with some sort of creative energy. I want to make something. Something that people can look at and say, “Well. Dan has a little spark of that whatever-it-is that makes us human, after all.” If it were a rock and roll song, or two or twelve, that would be nice too, because then we could play it in Grape Blunt.
But I have no guitar or other musical instrument with me; I have never written a song so I don’t know where to start; I have so many fractions of musical knowledge, but they’re all just fractions; I have a lot of ideas but none of them are about love or death, so they’re all novelties at best; I am psyching myself out. And I think I’m suffering that same silver-lined syndrome that’s plagued me my whole life: it’s hard to be creative when everything is so darn NICE.
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