Hamilton's fine, bigger than Earlham, smaller than Oberlin, as pretty as Kenyon in its own different way - it's on top of hill with a dominating view of the Mohawk Valley - but meh, I'm growing bored with this.
No, it's not my wrestling with complicity (though I'm tired of that too), which I'd be pushing through regardless of these trips and my plans for my daughter's college education - I feel zero guilt for providing my child the education she wants no matter how many Afghan children Obama bombs into freedom tomorrow.
Our student tour guide today said he grew up in Gaithersburg MD.Gaithersburg MD? I blurted. Where? I grew up in Gaithersburg MD. O, wow, he shrugged. I don't live there now. When twenty minutes later another parent asked him what other schools he'd applied to, and he said he really wanted to get into Georgetown but Georgetown turned him down. I didn't blurt, Hey, I've got two degrees from Georgetown.
The admissions officer's speech - Why You Should Choose Hamilton and Why Hamilton Will Only Choose 28% of You - was delivered by someone who physically looked and had all the mannerisms of TV's Frank with none of TV's Frank sense of humor (for all he tried).
After Hamilton we stopped for the night at a hotel west of Syracuse. As I checked in I asked the desk clerk for dining options, and she said there was a list in the room, but the best in the area was just across the field behind the motel, the Quaker Steak and Lube, which now, as I type this, is filled with at least a hundred Harley-Davidson's. The house band, as you can imagine, is covering Skynyrd.
We drove to find the restaurants on the hotel brochure list, not to eat at any of them - Dinosaur BBQ, Outback Steak House, Daniella's Steak House - all in Baldwinsville NY, three miles up the road. We figured there would be something we could all agree upon, but nope - other than two more meat purveyors, there were two seedy pubs and a gruesome looking diner. Oh well.
We'd seen a Pizza Hut just off the interstate coming into town, thought, fuck, walked in, and stood for five minutes as the waitress argued with her boyfriend while wiping down tables. She finally sat us, but both Planet and I jumped up as she'd washed down the seats too. What's wrong, she said. The seats are wet, Planet said. What, you want me to dry them too, the waitress asked. No, I said, we'll just wait a minute for them to dry while we look at the menu. What, you want me to dry them too, cause I'm real busy, said the waitress. No, thanks, I said. We left. Fuck you, said the waitress.
We walked across the lot to the grocery store. It had a service deli with a big sign that said Deli/Subs. I asked the guy behind the counter, who was wiping down the sandwich-making area as if readying for closing, Are you still making subs? He said, I've only got two sub rolls left. I asked, Is that a yes or a no? I've only got two sub rolls left. So that's a no, I said, and then the deli manager hurried over and said, Of course we're still making subs, and the guy said, But those two sub rolls are mine. I said, Thanks, that's OK, and when the manager turned her back he gave me the finger.
I don't tell this story for any point other than we're all miserable fucking bastards. The fuck-waitress and fuck-meat slicer making $9.50 an hour didn't know I'm a middle-upper-middle class elitist bastard from the boutiques of Moco on a trip to visit top-tier boutique liberal colleges - they'd have been just as shitty to anybody. Maybe we've always been miserable fucking bastards, but we're more miserable, more fucking, more bastards than at any other point in my lifetime.
Everybody I know (including and especially me) - in real life, in Blegsylvania, those who find me worthy, those who don't - are angrier, most miserable and nastier around the edges in search of petty little fits of empty triumph. What sucks about the clusterfuck isn't its apocalyptic ZOMG! but its leaching of common decency as it slowly reveals a pathetic and base commonality it pisses us off to acknowledge.
Stuff below the fold. (Updates)
- Bamboo slivers under the fingernails.
- UPDATE! Conservative corner.
- Fuck Obama.
- UPDATE! The frustrating part is that pigs insist on maintaining their .06% more shittiness.
- First like this, then like that.
- What can you possibly say?
- Sunset of the State.
- A losing proposition.
- UPDATE! Whoa... Sargent calls out Broder in YFWP.
- Embarrassed conservatives? (h/t)
- Please believe me - please - when I say I post this for the serendipity in finding it just now plus the giggles.
- Sincere gratitude to those who read and comment.
- All is not well in the comment stream part one, part two.
- Lives of the Librarians.
- I will wait for the paperback, but I am curious.
- Best new bands of 2010?
- UPDATE! Seb on the new Arcade Fire.
HOW I AM
When I talk to my friends I pretend I am standing on the wings
of a flying plane. I cannot be trusted to tell them how I am.
Or if I am falling to earth weighing less
than a dozen roses. Sometimes I dream they have broken up
with their lovers and are carrying food to my house.
When I open the mailbox I hear their voices
like the long upward-winding curve of a train whistle
passing through the tall grasses and ferns
after the train has passed. I never get ahead of their shadows.
I embrace them in front of moving cars. I keep them away
from my miseries because to say I am miserable is to say
I am like them.