I returned late last evening from Seattle, where Susie and I were attending the bar mitzvah of her grandson, Aram. On the way home we flew from SeaTac to Denver, and then from Denver to Raleigh-Durham. I am old enough still to be genuinely awed by the experience of flying all the way across the continent. Although I have done it now many, many times, I always reflect as I soar at thirty-nine thousand feet on the trials of the early settlers who would leave by wagon train for The West as soon as the Spring thaw arrived, hoping to reach their new land there in time to get a crop in and build a sod house before the onset of Winter.
These days airports are almost indistinguishable one from the other, but at the restaurant in Denver where we had an early dinner between flights, elk medallions were featured on the menu. One doesn't see that too often in the Boston/Washington corridor.
There was a pile of mail crammed in our box when we got back, even though we were only away for four days. Among the bills and political appeals and catalogues was the latest copy of the New York Review of Books. I always find the NYRB depressing. Every issue features long, detailed articles, masquerading as book reviews, on subjects about which I know absolutely nothing. Keeping up with it all, let alone getting on top of it, is really impossible. I did manage to make some sense out of a long article on the James Bond novels. I have actually read a couple of those. My most vivid encounter with an Ian Fleming ouevre occurred in 1965. I was flying over the Alps on my way to a conference in Italy, reading a scene in which a plane crashes in the Alps. Below me, unnervingly close, were the tips of the peaks, covered in snow. Just as I reached the passage in which the plane in the novel plunges, we hit some rough air and the plane I was in began to buck and pitch. It was a bad couple of minutes.
The Tigger in me is making a comeback. I am beginning to think the Democrats may not lose control of the Senate. Things here in North Carolina are just as awful as you might suppose from the news reports. It is a measure of my desperation that I am hoping against hope for Kay Hagen to squeak through. It is a measure of my irrepressible optimism that I think she just might.
In the days ahead, I shall do my best to find something more elevated to blog about.