Sunday, February 18, 2018

Mouse Sock

Here I am in Florida, where I got a surprisingly good night's sleep, despite the five-hour time difference. It's 5:41 a.m. here, as I write this, and it's weird to think that right now Dave is probably poking around in the garden in broad daylight, moving toward lunchtime. Air travel always amazes me.

My flight was uneventful. We left a bit late because of "unscheduled maintenance," whatever that means -- it sounds important so I'm not complaining. I killed time at the Starbucks in Gatwick airport, which had a surprisingly hip '80s alt-music soundtrack including Roxy Music, New Order, Depeche Mode and even Bronski Beat. I felt like I was in one of the nightclubs of my youth, except that it was, you know, Starbucks, peopled by stroller-pushing parents and occasional senior citizens. (Who may have grooved to that music themselves decades ago!)

It's funny how songs that seemed rather subversive when new have basically become Muzak.

On the plane I read all of "My Absolute Darling," which is a good but harrowing novel with possibly one of the most odious parental characters ever created in fiction -- a paranoid, abusive, controlling mansplainer. I was quickly propelled right through all of its 417 pages. And then I watched "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which I'd meant to catch in a theater, about the relationship between aging Oscar winner Gloria Grahame and a much younger man in the late '70s and early '80s. It was pretty good, and the acting was impressive, but I didn't get a good sense of why Jamie Bell's character was so in love with Annette Bening's Grahame -- it seemed to me that she didn't have much to offer him, aside from the residual glitter of her glamorous distant past.

My stepsister and her husband picked me up at the airport and brought me back to Lutz, north of Tampa, where I'm staying a few nights at my stepmother's house. It's strange to be here just days after Feb. 16, which would have been my dad's 81st birthday. If he were still with us we'd be having cake and presents now, no doubt.

(Photo: A lost sock in London, which seems Florida-appropriate even though I am not quite in the land of Mickey and Minnie. I haven't had a chance to take any photos here yet!)


  1. Gloria Grahame was such a complex person. I am looking forward to seeing the film. Now I will be looking to understand the Peter Turner character's feelings towards her. Welcome to Florida. I look forward to reading about your time here. I'm sorry you are missing your father.

  2. I am just guessing but I think that "unscheduled maintenance" is maintenance that had not been planned beforehand. Clearly something unexpected must have cropped up such as a blocked toilet or a propeller falling off - something like that. As for reading, I am utterly amazed that you read an entire novel on your flight to Florida. As I read every word of a book I tend to manage thirty pages an hour so it would have taken me about fourteen hours to read that novel. There would certainly have been no time left to watch a film!

  3. Pretty impressive to read an entire novel on an airplane. I always found flights to be way too noisy, crazy, busy for concentrating in such a way. I haven't been on a plane in almost 20 years so, things may have changed. I'm looking forward to seeing your Florida photos. Enjoy your journey!

  4. welcome back to the land of unrestricted guns and mass murder.

  5. Hey, Steve! I can almost see you from here!
    Is it hot in Lutz? It feels hot in Lloyd.
    Why do I feel like by the time this trip is over, you will be SO glad to get home?
    That book is something, isn't it? Compelling to say the very least.

  6. Going to take a little side-trip to Mar a Lago, are you? Have fun in sun land, Steve.

  7. I think the red bush in the photo on my blog is a trimmed bougainvillea bush. As opposed to the rather sunny photo on my blog today, I'm right now looking out the window at quite a lot of snow here in the Oregon wine country. It's quite beautiful. I can't believe you read a whole book and watched a movie on that flight. You must be a fast reader.

  8. Happy birthday to your dad. Welcome back to America, where the tide is starting to turn.

  9. Dates connected with special people and events have a life of their own, I find.

    I take it you had no fascinating conversations with seatmates, or you wouldn't have been able to get through a book AND a movie!!