Where I’ve Been

…and what I was doing, and how I got there and back, for the past week (an omnium gatherum): The Mac fired up at midnight on top of the Honda at the Thornton’s in West Virginia. Enough homemade tamales to feed an army; if everyone in the world could spend a week visiting with each other, bringing with them food their moms made, could there ever be any more war? The DQ and Jones’ Restaurant, Men’s Warehouse and Levy’s, the seemingly complete miscommunication of the whiskey distribution question, the inescapability of Wal-Mart, etc.: if prizing the local and independent over the national and corporate isn’t entirely universal, where do the boundaries of the divide lie? A dry county, but fireworks are perfectly fine, and totally awesome, and didn’t actually hit the bride and groom. The abstinence-until-marriage billboard: “Let’s talk dirty! Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Herpes: Dirty enough?” Paid for by the federal government. How soon until the next Ten Commandments? Ubiquitous Jesus-is-coming-in-five-minutes billboards. America repent! Homemade sassafras tea. Luna moths every night on the porch windows. When the vacuum cleaner is in the refrigerator, then we’ll know we’re having a good time. Facial fuel? How about pecker fuel? “Honey, it’s not a place. The information superhighway isn’t an actual highway, it’s an idea.” Run-through, call time, stage manager, the right person to be in charge of telling over a hundred people what to do next. “You don’t know how lucky you are to be… that age, and have your health, and to be starting out on that journey. It’s like a great… bank account, and you got the rest of your life to spend on it.” The sacraments, the liturgy. The Mennonite girls from down the road, just wanting to help. The whole week a barn-raising. When we carried the geodesic dome across the field, it was ouija-board effortless. “This is a song about what it’s like to be Ben Affleck, and to be in love with Liv Tyler, whose dad is Bruce Willis, and there’s a giant asteroid hurtling toward Earth, and you and Bruce have to go into outer space, because you’re both deep drillers, so that you can plant a nuclear device inside the rock, and this song is about what love is like under such conditions.” How badly did he cut himself when the saw fell off his nose? Having been given the secret of the inside-out underpants, was it the backwards underpants, or the mantra for the removal of obstacles chanted hundreds of times, or both, that got us to the airport with only five minutes to spare? “That’s pretty weird. The sun set behind us, went all the way around the Earth, and is coming up in front of us. I mean, it does that every day, but not while you’re driving the whole time.” When in Maryland at two in the morning, crab seasoning-flavored potato chips. “Tom, when are you getting married?” I can’t describe, or even think about, her epithalamium without crying.