August 11, 2003

Dealing With The Setting Summer

I've had a very busy summer. That's a good thing. But, it's also a bad thing. On the one hand, being busy translates into a lot of fun, but it also means my summer has gone lightning quick. I'm ready to slow down a bit, put on the brakes and slide back into a life routine, and that usually happens with the onset of fall, when the shorter daylight hours mean a drawn out darkness that is filled with indoor escapes like television and computer games.

Still, summer is the bestest of the seasons, at least for me. I like the warmth. I like the excitement of a looming thunderstorm. I like the smells, the sounds and just the content feeling of summer. Living is easy now, rather than the chilling difficulty of a Minnesota winter, and I just hate to see it waning.

That's not to say I didn't have a good weekend. I had a great weekend. It just hit home last night as I sat on the front steps eating an ice cream drumstick and soaking in the drone of crickets that the summer days are ticking away, and that saddened me a bit. Seasonal depression: every Minnesotan goes through it.

I went to the cities to see Melissa Friday night. I always go there with big plans to eat Thai food and take in a movie and. . . and. . .

Melissa's place just sucks the energy right out of me. It's too damned cozy and inviting. I just want to lay on her comfy couch and not do anything. It's not like my basement apartment, a utilitarian conglomeration of particle board furniture and a dilapidated futon that repels rather than invites. I enter my room and I think "I really have to get out of here and go for a run." Anything to get out of there for awhile.

Melissa and I did, eventually, get up and go rollerblading around nearby Como Lake. Como is a nice park, and it's always alive with people walking and biking and scooping up dog droppings. It also seems that the big pavilion buiding hosts a wedding reception every weekend.

Early Saturday morning, I had to depart to visit my friend Jim in Farmington, about half an hour drive from Mel's place. We were celebrating Jim's birthday, which for Jim meant golfing. Something I've noticed about my golfing ability this year: I've been too busy to golf regularly, and boy does it show. I suck. I can't do anything off the tee. I might as well be swinging a spaghetti noodle tied to a meatball. It's maddening not being good at golf, especially when I made the varsity golf team and lettered in the damned sport my 8th grade year. Since then, I've just become progressively worse.

Still, there were four of us, Jim, myself, Jeremy and Marc, and we had a really good time. I just wish I had golfed better. A lot better. That's all.

After golf, we dropped by a local casino. I figured I was due to pay a little penance for what America did to the indians and I was going to donate $40 or so to them. Ah, but lady luck was shining on me that day, and I left the casino $175 on the up side. It's a funny thing when I'm playing slot machines: I have nothing but doubt and despair as I play, and then suddenly it flashes up that I won 600 quarters, and I initially just refuse to believe it. No fucking way. The rest of the guys all lost money. Not a lot of money. Ten bucks here, 35 bucks there, but they all lost money. Which meant dinner was automatically on me, the big winner, which was fine. Share the wealth I say. The rest of the evening involved the ingestion of copious ammounts of ale and a cab ride back to Jim's where we watched the making of Caddyshack before alcohol-induced slumber carried us away.

Sunday I awoke to a great surprise: the television network Bravo! was airing a West Wing marathon. Jim and I are West Wing enthusiasts of the hightest order, so we sat and absorbed televised West Wing radiation for the next six hours. Bliss. Granted, The West Wing can be a little bit idealistic and sometimes downright sanctimonious at times, but if you're at all interested in how politics work, and you like kick-ass drama, you simply must become a West Wing enthusiast. Particularly in the post 9/11 world. If you watch The West Wing from episode #1 onward, you'll come away with a greater understanding of how the world theater comes into play, especially the Middle East. Don't believe me? Just check it out. You would particularly be enlightened by the episode that deals with "the virtue of a proportional response." Watch it, and ask yourself what, exactly, would be a proportional response to 9/11.

As Jim astutely observed when I posed the question to him, "I'll let you know when we've achieved it."

Posted by Ryan at August 11, 2003 12:02 PM
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