The Three French Men have been here for just about a month now, and I think the best way to describe my state of mind is “relaxed.” There are several reasons why this might be the case.
It may be that my kids have assimilated into school, and my ex-wife is settling into her role as that nice, eccentric cat lady down the road where my kids occasionally sleep over.
It may be that, after a September that was colder and wetter than an aroused Ann Coulter1-4, we’re looking at several days of glorious, warm, cloud-free autumn.
1 Sorry about that. I should have said “much wetter.”
2 OK, I’m sorry about that, too. But I’m only trying (literally) to keep up with the Times.
3 I enjoy the idea that the Internet will always know that I once Googled “nytimes vagina.”
4 My parents are now spinning in their non-graves. Hi, folks! I look forward to our next Skypechat!
It may be that, on beautiful days like this, I can go play nine holes of golf on a well-maintained municipal course, with a cart and rented clubs, for $28.
It may be that I was able to get a lot of stuff off my chest about why our marriage sharted its drawers.
It may be that the kids like Scouting, and I’ve just signed on to be the Cubs’ webmaster.5
It may be that I’ve found my new favorite bar, which sells a few dozen delicious local microbrews for under $5 a pint.
It may be that I’ve rediscovered pick-up hoops, and I’ve regained the ability to drain a three-pointer without recoiling like Fred Sanford.
It may be that my Wii Fit tells me I’ve lost six pounds6, and I don’t even care that my Mii still waddles around like a barrel-shaped lardbutt with a scandalous BMI of 26-point-fattypants.7
6 I actually was pretty certain I'd drop weight when I got here, but I thought the more likely reason would be crippling depression.
7 Is my BMI TMI?
Actually, I think the real reason is that this last month felt exactly a month long. I remember a line in “The Secret Lives of Dentists,” when harried parents Hope Davis and Campbell Scott are lying back-to-back in bed, and she says, “Remember when a year seemed like a long time?” Parenting takes most lives that are cruising along at 33rpm and cranks them up to 45. And New York takes them to 78.8 During most of my time in New York, I felt like my life was speeding past me like the subway trains that suddenly decide they're not stopping for you and honk derisively into the distance. Even when I stopped working full time, I knew I was spending too many hours getting from A to B, usually while yelling “REALLY?!” at black SUVs with Riverdale dealership stickers.
8 Ask your parents.
September has been the first month in a long while that has progressed for me in real time, without time-lapse photography tricks. I feel like I’ve been present in my life in ways to which I’ve always aspired, and it bothers me just a little bit less that ElderBoy, who was born five minutes ago, will be able to permit-drive legally in 5½ years.
I’ve been able to plug into the community a bit, and as many of you have opined, there probably is a secret meth lab somewhere in my neighborhood. If there is, though, it will be run by a cabal of older ladies who think “that Justin Verlander is just dishy." 9
9 Go Tigers.
I’ve also been lucky enough to have the peace and time and discipline to write, to concentrate on it until I’m sort of happy with it, and to the point where I can hold down a few steady gigs with employers who don’t even mind if I throw in a few discursive vaginal tangents. Which can be called "tanginas."
10 Or "vagingents." I can't decide which.
If you've read this far, thank you for your dedication. I know all this ghastly optimism makes boring copy, and people get a lot further in this culture bitching about stuff. But we also thrive on balance, between the light and the dark. And sometimes, the world needs to hear that you're having an OK time of it.