Wednesday, January 2, 2013


 …I hope you had a fabulous New Year’s.  Mine was.
After having seen six outstanding movies—
1.     Moonrise Kingdom
2.     Lincoln
3.     Argo
4.     Django Unchained
5.     Les Miserables
6.     Silver Linings Playbook
I saw “Life of Pi,” a colorful, cinematic little masterpiece.  Actually it wasn’t little.  It felt very big, physically universal.
It followed the book fairly closely, but was even better and far more tender and thought-provoking.
Next up is “Zero Dark Thirty.”

…Yesterday Washington State raised its minimum wage to $9.19, highest in the country.

…Over one million people turned out in freezing temperatures to see the ball drop at Times Square in NYC.  Afterward, cleaning crews picked up 50 tons of garbage.
As Andie MacDowell’s character so famously asked in “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” where does all that garbage go?

…I had a very productive day yesterday and also wrote this:



            When I get to the meeting, it’s just Zac and a new girl, a woman actually.  Females rarely attend, mainly because they make themselves and the rest of our group uncomfortable.  The things we share here we wouldn’t tell our wives or closest friends.  Some days we paint the floor with our shame and misdeeds.

            The woman’s name is Joan, and her goal is to make 30 meetings in 30 days.  She says her habit has eaten her alive and destroyed everything.  Looking at her, you can see she’s a jittery rabbit, a ragamuffin stuffed inside an army jacket and black sweat pants.  She barely raises her head, even when she reads the first meditation.

            Me, I’ve been coming since winter of last year when I was discovered, when the world then collapsed, Mary leaving with the kids and not saying where she was going, saying only.  “You’re sick and you disgust me.”

            I share this with our tiny group and it does and doesn’t feel good.  The long hand on the clock resembles a knife I was once going to shove into my own chest but didn’t because, in the end, I’m something of a coward.

            We finish early, after reciting The Serenity Prayer and telling everyone to keep coming back “because it works if you work it and you’re worth it.”

            Zac tells me, “Happy New Year,” and that he’ll get the chairs.

            Outside I find Joan on a curb having a cigarette.  It’s so cold there’s barely a difference between the smoke and her breath.

            “Want one?” she asks.

            Now that her head’s lifted, I can see she’s pretty and that one side of her face is bruised purple and evergreen.

            “Thanks,” I say, “but I gave them up.”

            “Lucky you.”

            “Nah.  I’m an idiot.”

            “You got a car?” she asks, her oily blonde hair not blowing at all in the breeze.

            I tell her I do.

            “Give me a lift?”

            It’s a bad idea all the way around, but I let her get in.  After I crank up the heat, the sound of the vents makes my skin prickle.

            We’re not even a mile out when she scoots against my side and puts her hand on my thigh.  It’s been a long time since a woman touched me without being paid to do so.

            At my apartment that night, I get down on my knees.  I try clearing my mind of the things Joan told me, how she begged, how she said she was lonely and broken and just wanted to feel skin on skin.  I remember the money I gave her and her stunned expression when I said I wouldn’t do it with her, that one false move on my part would rip me open forever.  She might have understood, but she clawed at my jacket nevertheless.

            I close my eyes and picture a beach with Joan and her husband on it.  I make them a happy pair.  Then I do the same for myself.

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