I'm back from 24 hours off the grid. Would actually like to have 24 months off the grid, but haven't figured how to do that and still pay the mortgage. When you are unemployed and job-hunting it becomes, sadly, all about the grid. In fact, to such an extent you begin to despise the grid. It can be a form of noise, brain pollution, distraction, an anti-creative force, the black cat crossing your path. The grid is at the root of our trend obsession. When inundated with questions about one's social-networking fluency it looms as a hyphenated false marker of relevance, even though I participate, and play the social media game well. Sometimes that focus on electronic communication seems more busy than authentically productive.
But then I digress.
I was off the grid for other reasons, too. My son had his wisdom teeth out. All four. And so I used that as an excuse to be full-time "Mom" for a day, fluffing the sofa, feeding the DVD player, bearing bags of frozen peas, smoothies, Percocet. He sends me texts: "I'm not a baby." I reply: "You are my baby." But I know he's not. His wings are fully formed and the nest I made for him is in his rear view. So I seized this moment where I could be needed. Why would anyone even think of social-networking under those circumstances??? I ask you???
Which brings me to another reason for being off the grid. Next week we drive to Texas to deliver him to his sophomore year of college. I'll make a NYSD column out of it, of course, and for that reason I am in deep research about where to stay, where to eat, what to see. Nashville is one stop, Dallas is another. I seek authentic, real, indigenous, places that are nowhere else but there. Even if it is only for a few hours, I like to feel local, sometimes a touristy local - like I've got the in-laws in tow but I just happen to want to be there, too. It's the way I feel about Joe's Stone Crab in Miami and Don The Beachcomber in SoCal.
And I've been sad, too, about the closing of Furin's. Too sad really to be able to comment. I'm tired of saying farewell to good businesses in my neighborhood. They disappear, replaced by less or nothing and the texture of my community degrades. So many evenings I want to phone Griffin Market with a dinner order and they're just not there. I will feel that way about Furin's breakfasts for days, weeks, months, years.
Most of all I'm in a funk because of this: the budget mess. I walk among these people, our "elected officials," some who are putting us second to their own self-interests. I was at a dinner last night with many House and Senate members, cutting into the tenderloin, enjoying the good Cabernet, as if nothing critical is occurring. I wanted to jump up in that room of round tables of ten and shout: "What Is With You, People?"
I meant what I wrote in my NYSD column Monday: put them in "political" rehab with Dr. Drew and put Lexapro in the water supply for the rest of us.
I'm accustomed to Congress cruising within centimeters of the cliffside --makes for better media, and better for the re-election ads-- but this time is different. This time there are certain among 'em who don't care if we go over the edge, so that on the way down they can point fingers and holler, "It's Obama's fault." Well, it's not. (Do listen to Warren Olney's "To The Point" podcast on KCRW.)
How did I deal with all this inner drama? Ha! I made incredible blackberry martinis cosmopolitans and some really tasty crab cakes, shared with a friend, and watered the poor parched plants and bushes. We humans in DC have it not so good this summer, but the green things may have it worse.