"Politicians are like writers, mercurial and unsatisfied, in a way, alive only when they're invested in a passion." Yasmina Reza
Here's a view from Plymouth last night. As I've mentioned before, my folks weren't holding their annual beach house party, so we had to make do by establishing a new tradition, with some old friends--dinner at Isaac's in Plymouth, followed by fireworks at 9:30.
I'll share some additional photos later, but it was a nice, if not spectacular, evening. The company was great and the food was good, although we had a mousy waitress ("Second day on the job," she mumbled) who kept forgetting things, such as knives to cut the steak or ketchup for Theo's hamburger, looked scared to death when you asked her for anything, and forced you to wait for an eternity to finally have two halves make a whole. Most unforgivable: she forgot the drawn butter for my lobster, and I had to make due, butterless, until I was only left with only two claws.
The hardest part was the drive home. Plymouth only has one road that leads you out of town, so it was literally a two-hour drive home, half of which was spent stuck on the main road of Plymouth. I have to admit, however, it was awfully fun people watching.
One element of my "summer of simplification": rather than read the books that have accumulated around the apartment, I've opted to try to plow through the back issues of the New Yorker that have accumulated through the years, which for some reason I 've felt reluctant to throw away until I've read each one from start to finish.
I've always been that sort of magazine reader. I know, I know, it's something of an obsessive compulsive disorder. When I was a kid, I used to subscribe to Omni magazine, and had the same sensibility. Of course, the end result was usually quite the opposite, a hopeless pile of insensibility: numerous stacks of unread back issues, which I eventually relegated to the garbage bin.
One thing I've found is that while I adore the single issues, anything longer leaves me cold. I love the layout and design of the single issue; I love the slick feeling of the pages as you flip through them. I like the variety of subject matter and mixture of short pieces with three or four longish articles along the likes of "Sheldon Adelson's quest for global influence," or "Scenes from a Pennsylvania girlhood." And, I never ever read the fiction, unless it's written by a Chinese author. Chinese writers knows how to tell good, interesting short stories.
However, for some reason, I simply cannot get through the double issues. Of the twenty issues that I have yet to read, half of them are...um, "special."
This is a rare instance in my life of bigger not being better. It just seems to be too much of a good thing. What's appealing about a compact issue becomes tedious in something twice it's size: it's too hard a slog from "Talk of the Town" to "The Critics." By the time of "The Critics," you know you're at the finish line, and you can breeze through to the end like a valedictory lap. But with a double sized-issue, you have to run twice as far to get there, and the issues are usually themed, so that if you don't really care much for a particular subject, it truly is like running uphill.
One article on the mangrove forest of Begal may be just fine. A whole clutch of similar stories? Count me out!