Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Bleat

James Lileks' daily Bleat is always a treat. Have I recommended or linked to him before? I'm not sure, but I should have. Yesterday, he was hitting all the buttons in full "Night Hawks" and "One for my Baby" mode;

My wife, child and mother-in-law left Friday for the outlands of the state, leaving me and the dog to amuse ourselves in the time-honored method: staying up until 3 AM watching Star Wars with the stereo pumped up to 11. ........ But that's all I'm left with: me myself and rye.

What I really want to do is sit in a vacant bar listening to the jukebox, scraping the labels off the Shiners, smoking Winstons, staring at the bottles. Somewhere in the bottom of every man's heart is just such a place, waiting. The bar is long and dark and full of scratches; the bathroom stinks, and there's a rotary-dial pay phone in the back. No one uses it much because no one has anyone to call. The bartender doesn't like you but that's just fine, because you don't like him either. It's night; it's summer; when the jukebox stops you can hear the traffic on the highway outside. Or you could, if there was any.

I've been there. A few years ago when the family left a couple of days earlier than me for a break at a cottage in Kent, I remember hiring a DVD of American Beauty, and buying a case of Stella, because I hated the film so much that I wanted watch it drinking and sneering at Sam Mendes' director's commentary. Screaming "tell me again why a plastic bag swirling in the wind is a breathtaking image of meditative and unforced beauty, you sonovabitch!" over his rationalisations was indeed deeply satisfying.

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