Oh hurray, a new poet laureate who does not suck. Please read and dig Charles Simic. Under him, the Office of Poet Laureate will be awesome! It’ll be a room with doors that open to blank walls and dark mirrors! And there will be a blind dog and an empty coat with mice who whisper in the sleeves! Then again, can he really make things in Washington any more creepy and surreal than they already are? I kind of think not.
One Michigan camping trip down; one more to go! I don’t know if I mentioned that all our road trips this summer have also been camping trips. Back in April we impulsively bought a tent on sale at Dick’s Sporting Goods (who really needs to fix the typo in their sign, since after only ten minutes there it was abundantly clear that they’re supposed to be called Dicks, Sporting Goods, but never mind). And so for our Iowa and Wisconsin and Michigan trips we’ve loaded up the car with sleeping bags and an air mattress and set out like the Joads, except without all the abject despair and tin pans.
I know a lot of people find camping sort of horrifying, but it’s how my family did a lot of our summer vacations when I was growing up. And it was fun, though how much I truly enjoyed it depended on how old I was. From the age of five through about ten my attitude was: yay, let’s check out the rec center, maybe they have pinball and Tombstone Pizza! From eleven to sixteen it was: oh, fuck, I’m just gonna sit in the car and listen to my Walkman and constantly reapply my makeup using the rear-view mirror. Now it’s: wow, I totally have not checked my email for the past twelve hours. And part of me still can’t believe it all works, this tent thing; it’s crazy! Of course, all this time we’ve camped at places where there are showers and roads and picnic tables. THIS weekend, however, we’re going up to meet up with a big group of Chris’s friends from college and camp along the east shore of Lake Michigan. And instead of showers there will be… Lake Michigan. It’ll be some dirty, dirty camping, to be sure. I will be brave! And probably a little drunk, too.