Monday, December 31, 2007


The only thing missing from the first day of this trip was bot flies.

Well, that and space. Traveling in a car for 6+ hours, arriving at the in-laws, then heading straight into a tiny living room (with six of us now). After half an hour, a drive to a restaurant in an even more jammed car. After waiting for half an hour, the six of us cram into a small booth. One more person in that booth and it would have qualified as a fraternity prank.

After dinner, we're off to the house where we're staying (Gloria's friends from school). They have a nephew who Eli knows, and he's spending the night. Eli 6.4 can't sleep in the same room, though, because he snores like a bulldozer, so Eli sleeps with us--on a double bed.

A "double" bed contains 16 hours of sleep, in total. Eli took 9 of those hours. Gloria took 5. I think I took 2, at most, because I was a bit, um, cramped.

Let me be clear. A corpse would have been cramped.

When we woke up in the morning, I turned to Gloria. "Let us never mention the concept of the 'family bed' ever again," I said.

It took less than 12 hours, and I already had SAD (Shreveport Affective Disorder).

For the purposes of domestic harmony, I will skirt around the details of much of what happened to us there, but here is a suitable metaphor. Gloria's mother has a small tree on a kitchen counter. It's about 18" high, and it looks like it's dying. There's no question that this tree has no chance of surviving.

Except that it's an artificial tree.

That's right, this dying tree isn't even real to begin with. When you can wrap your head around that zen koan, you will understand exactly what these yearly trips to Shreveport are like. Up is down, front is back, and even artificial trees are one step away from death.

On Saturday, I walked from the house to a drugstore that was only about a hundred yards away. I picked up a few items, then got in line behind a woman who looked to be in her 70's. She only had a few items as well, but when I walked up behind her, she looked up an immediately said, "Oh, you can go ahead of me."

"You don't have any more items than I do," I said. "Thank you, though."

"Well, some people are just always in a hurry," she said.

I smiled. "Not today," I said.

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