This was the sight outside my sister’s back door Saturday afternoon. It doesn’t quite capture the heaviness of the snowfall, nor the sideways angle it took as it fell. But I hope it gives you an idea of the landscape outside, and suggests how I felt when I checked the weather radar and discovered…
…it wasn’t snowing in Detroit.
Fragile paranoiacs have snapped on less evidence.
But like a toddler’s tantrum, the snow was simply gone by 9 a.m. the following day, when it dawned sunny and warm and springlike. Winter always thinks it deserves the last word. It usually gets it.
In this case, it did. Saturday was my sister’s birthday, and we’d planned a standing rib roast with the whole family (meaning, “us, plus my brother”). But brother Charlie got up with a headcold, looked outside and called in sick. So curse you, winter! Because of you, I had pepperoni pizza for dinner Saturday night, instead of roast beef!
I’m sorry he was sick, because one purpose of this trip was to teach Charlie how to use his new computer. His first computer. Yes, his first. And his first after being innocent of pretty much the entire digital revolution. They still exist, these virgins — in this case a small businessman who always found a pencil, paper and calculator adequate to his bookkeeping needs, books and newspapers for his information and a deck of cards for entertainment. I was interested in where we would start, remembering the story a friend of mine told me in the mid-’80s, about a man who came into the Radio Shack where he worked, bought a Tandy and took it home, only to return it the next day. It didn’t work, he said; he’d typed, “How much money should I put into my truck?” into it and hadn’t gotten an answer.
I figured we’d start with the concept of an operating system, progress to files and folders, explain applications and RAM and ROM, and then wing it from there. It’s so hard to learn how to think like a computer. Another late-adopting friend of mine took weeks to learn that e-mail addresses weren’t like U.S. Postal Service addresses — that while you could send a letter to “Mr. Hodson” at such-and-such an address and the Mr. Hudson living there would probably get it, leaving the underscore out of an e-mail address meant it went to the dead-letter office.
Next time, I guess.
Oh, what did he buy, you ask? An iMac G5. I told him it’s like someone who waits until 1960 to see if this horseless-carriage thing is going to last, and then goes out to buy a Porsche.
(By the way, in case you’re wondering, my sister’s getting quotes on having that puddle drained.)
Me, I dealt with the weather in the classic way — retail therapy. I bought an antique glass-doored Mission bookcase, and I told Alan after we reloaded it, “Time to let the well refill.” We got the bass-drum coffee table in place, our framed chart of Lake St. Clair by the back door, our new bookcase, and the house looks like it’s ours, which is to say, it looks occupied by some fairly eccentric people and their goofy dog.
Amy is cementing her place as the Only Catholic Blogger Worth Reading by keeping up a fast and furious pace in this inter-papal period, even though she’s on vacation, crazy nut. (She’s no New York Times, which was on strike for the ENTIRE PAPACY of John Paul I. Damn unions.) Her readership is like her — orthodox Catholic — so for the most part I stay out of their discussions, although I dip a foot in every so often. One thing she asked her readers is, what do you hope the outside world sees of the church during this period? I have no answer, but I hope one thing I see is this: More journalism, less bathetic bullshit.
For me, the tone of JP the Deuce coverage was set very early, when my alma mater sent an old Catholic editor to cover his first American tour. My memory is Swiss-cheesey and faulty, but it tells me that every story began the same way: “His face beams love to all who look upon it,” or some such variation on the theme. It continues with the furrowed brows of anchors who don’t know a pope from an ayatollah, and inform me how bad I’m feeling: “The world mourned today for a man whose face beamed love to all who looked upon it.” Nothing queers me on a story faster than being informed of how I’m feeling.
I’ll keep reading Amy. Although I’m sure, sooner or later, she’s going to link to Peggy Noonan.
I really wish these snooty fashion writers would stop hatin’ on my homegirl Camilla. Although the NYT story at least cut her a bit of slack: This type of English countrywoman values looking “practical and tidy” above all else, Ms. Higginson noted. That’s because she often has more important things on her mind than what’s in Vogue this month: caring for her horses, gardening or taking her dogs for a walk. Such women are often great animal lovers, Ms. Higginson said: “Their Labradors and their horses are up there with their husband and their children in their affections.”
Mark my words: This woman’s going to die with more fans than Diana. Maybe not so many gay men, but certainly every woman who’s rather walk a Lab than a red carpet.
Long weekend. Long week ahead. See you then.