Driving crosstown after an Eastern Market stop on Saturday. I had just had my hair cut, so I was feeling the blowout and the sunshine and everything else. Stopped at a light. There was a young man holding something…a sign? No, a painting. Median-strip hustling is pretty common here, but I couldn’t figure what he was selling.
He walked past my car. I rolled down the window.
“Are you selling that painting?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
It wasn’t great, but a long way from terrible, sort of Thomas Hart Benton with about 20 percent of the technique, but he had the eye. A man playing an undulating keyboard with a woman hovering nearby, kind of like Lauren Bacall and Harry Truman in that photo, but more abstract.
“Two hundred dollars,” he replied.
“Sorry, I don’t have that much cash, but I wish you luck. Keep at it,” I said. The light still hadn’t changed.
“I always need money for art supplies,” he said. “A dollar would help.”
Reader, I gave him five. It was a perfect October day, after all, and of all the things I’ve been asked to help finance at stoplights, art supplies was a first. Points for originality.
The rest of the day, I played. Picked up a friend and we speculated on the work we’d have to do if the president croaked overnight.
“It’s going to be a 4 a.m. call, I just know it,” he said. “And I’ll have to write the obit.”
So we drafted a lead there at the table, in a heated restaurant tent with flow-through ventilation, built out onto the road, because of the pandemic that is still with us, because of the incompetence and failed leadership of the man whose death – from the same disease – we were anticipating. It was sort of meta. I went first:
“The improbable presidency of Donald Trump, a failed businessman who played a successful one on television, ended in reality-TV fashion early Sunday morning, as the 45th president succumbed to a disease he spent most of the year downplaying. He was 74.”
(I don’t know why obits always have the age as the second sentence. Probably because like I just did, writers try to cram everything in the first sentence.)
We went back and forth like that for a while, but I told him no way would that p.o.s. die overnight. He needs to survive to see an overwhelming election loss, then go to prison, then die of something like flesh-eating bacteria. As he has so much flesh to eat, it would take some time.
I believe we also discussed my idea for a new children’s TV show. My friend does a lot of dog sitting for a beautiful collie, whose coat is mostly black. His owner said when she walks him in Detroit, often people will see him and say, as they pass: “Hey, it’s black Lassie.” I said we need a new version of “Lassie,” set in the city instead of the country. “Black Lassie” would protect children from street dangers, not falling down wells or getting swept into fast-moving streams. Timmy, needless to say, would be black or brown (and not named Timmy).
This weekend I learned this dog lives with an all-white cat that sometimes climbs on top of him and naps in his abundant coat. SIDEKICK, I hollered. Black Lassie and his cat friend would talk to one another in their secret language and use their keen senses and animal skills to gather intelligence.
I feel very strongly this has potential. Look at these two movie stars and tell me I’m wrong:
That was Saturday. Sunday was rainy and gray, but I got my fall clothes rotated into the main closet and I tried to be ruthless in culling the summer stuff. I have no idea what I’ll be wearing this fall; I saw non-athleisure bottoms referred to as “hard pants” the other day. I’m on a crusade to lose the few pandemic pounds I gained, with all the tiresome stuff that goes with it — My Fitness Pal, mindful eating, blah blah blah. When I lose these six pounds, I’m going back into hard pants. I can’t live my life in quasi-pajamas. They’re comfy, but not conducive to my work style. Goddamn this stupid fucking president and his incompetent administration, anyway.
On Friday, the state Supreme Court overturned the governor’s emergency authority, and the GOP Senate leader stepped up to say no more mask mandates statewide, and that we’d just “have to learn to live with” this disease. Local entities – counties, cities – could do what they want, but no more of this top-down shit. Wonderful. A state version of Jared Kushner’s national strategy. Which has worked so well. Because no one travels between states, or within states. I can tell you this right now: I will not shop in, or otherwise patronize any business that doesn’t require masks, and enforce it. I want to wear hard pants again, and before 2025 or so.
This stupid country, I swear.
OK, time to put this to bed. Tomorrow is Monday and I hope I can start it off right.