use your days and save your nights


  • My parents’ house in Baltimore sits in the suburbs, half an hour north of the city. It smells warm and alive in the spring. I went out on the deck on Saturday to read but swarms of yellowjackets surrounded me, divebombing my head with regularity. I fetched a can of wasp killer from the garage. Can spray at distances up to twenty feet, the can warns, and they’re not kidding – this stuff shoots out in a potent white arc that would make Andrea Dworkin frown. I covered every crack around the windows and doors with it. The porch smelled like the oil I used in elementary school to keep my trumpet valves in order.

  • Mom and Dad got me a Kindle 2 for my birthday. Even outside the city I had intermittent access to the Sprint Whispernet. I held in my hands a plastic and aluminum device, encased in black leather, that was thinner than my copy of The Stress of Her Regard but could hold one hundred times as many words. I tromped up and down the stairs, hunting for peak signal. In four years, I thought, willing the row of access bars from a measly 3 to a potent 4, this little ritual will seem quaint.

    Ironically, Charles Stross’s Accelerando was the first novel I downloaded.

  • Took Hunter, the family’s Shetland sheepdog, for a walk through the neighborhood on Saturday. We passed spacious homes – like my parents’ – with massive bay windows on half acre lots. Meanwhile, the house my father grew up in, built in Wilmerding, PA in 1891, sold a few months back for forty thousand dollars. The “rags to riches” story may be a cliche, and an article of religious faith among this country’s conservatives, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

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