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4:40 p.m. - February 25, 2006
Vacation comes just in time
Brother and a friend are here for the weekend from San Diego, arriving unannounced as always and this time again I fail to carry out my threat of not letting him crash here without sufficient warning. As distant as I feel from him and our hugs awkward, his booming voice and dirty jokes, that insouciant joie de vie he carries with him, is immensely comforting. They are hungry, so I buy groceries; they are taking the train into the city so I give them tickets; they're going to a bar so I give them cash for the cab; it is last-minute occasions like this that make me feel part of the family, less isolated. And yet we have nothing to talk about, and don't. The closest I can come to him is through the buffer of material things; we are unrecognizable to each other, similar to the way I presume someone might feel upon encountering a former step-parent: Just how do you greet the person? What do you talk about?

But I am glad for the noise he brings into the house.


It's been a quiet week for me, uneventful days spent reading (Crime and Punishment, The Merchant of Venice, A Confederacy of Dunces, Sister Carrie) and listening to music (enjoying the chance discovery of Lucky Jim), working on the yard and buying paint for my bedroom (farewell derby red, hello regimental blue). A fine vacation of sorts, interrupted and marred by postcards of Istanbul sent by my mother reminding me that this vacation of mine is a poor substitute for the real thing. Were I a better person I'd be happy for her and her partner but instead I'm jealous and envious, finding little solace in daydreams of plane crashes or sunken cruise ships. I am that awful at times.

I've been spending time in prayer and I am grateful for this brief respite before the onset of the busy-ness that will be March. Stray thoughts and (unlikely?) people have crept into my prayer time, like Joel, Floodtide, Carrie, and the unknown woman identified only by three-foot-tall letters spelling Please Pray For Her attached to a house I passed by while driving to my private space in the hills. It is a (good) struggle trying to put others before my own worries but like most things in my life, I fall short of the goal. Someday.


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