THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #174

LOVE:

Last Girl Before Freeway:

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I have been putting off reading the latest Joan Rivers autobiography for the longest time because I knew that I would sob at the end. I was right. I sobbed. Joan Rivers is the love of my life. No man will ever compare with her in my heart. They can try, and I do hope they try, but if they aren’t like her…well, I don’t think I’ll have time for them. There’s just something marvelous about Joan’s bravery, her passion, her dedication, her ambition, her love for life that I find intoxicating and inspiring. She, out of all the people on the planet (save for Joanna Lumley who is on an equal tier with her in my heart) inspires me most. I don’t know if I will be able to properly explain why. Let me try. I wrote about this shortly after her death. In 2010, I saw her at a casino. I didn’t know what I was getting into really. I didn’t know it would be an introduction to a world and a life I never grasped. Of course I knew who she was and I knew her comedy, but I didn’t think that I would fall head over heels in love with her. I really did. She was everything to me. And then after that I watched every single bit of her I could find. Instead of going to sleep before work, I would watch old clips of her on The Johnny Carson Show and I would watch her talk shows and pirated copies of her stand up. I would listen to her radio shows, read her books, read every singly thing I could about her. And I only loved her more. I went to the documentary of her life. I watched Fashion Police religiously. Joan Rivers gave me a masterclass on how to be alive. Shortly before she died, I was on the Amtrak, in some godforsaken part of western New York in the bar car, cackling with a couple gin and tonics as I watched her podcast. I was captivated by her joy and her love of living. And the satisfaction that she felt when she made us all laugh was palpable. I wanted to experience life the way that she did. I knew that I would never be an iconic stand up comic, but I could find delight in life. And I did. And I do. And I credit it to Joan Rivers. So, when she slipped into the coma, I knew she was gone. And when she died, I have never wept for another living being quite that way. I’m still not over her passing. I miss her every day. I feel like she was my family. And so, this book, which details her life from her earliest desire to be an actress to the ghost that purportedly pops up here and there is wonderful. It’s not the best, dear reader, but it tells us so much about that wonderful woman. If I ever die, and I assume I’ll have to at some point, I can’t wait to hang out with her in the next realm. She is my soul mate, we just never had the chance to realize it.

Longer Days:

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I don’t know when it started, but the lengthening of the days is a slow imperceptible process, so when I noticed that it was bright when I went to work and dusky when I went to dinner, I could have cried. I am never myself in the winter. I have done so much better this winter, though, which I can’t properly understand. Maybe it’s the insane amount of Vitamin D3 and B12 I take every morning? That would make sense. But it’s more than that, too. I am actually in good spirits, which you will read about in the next bit of this post. I  am confused about it all. I wonder if perhaps I have had Multiple Sclerosis for much longer than I guessed. Is that the reason I was so miserable for so many years? I have so many questions that I will probably never have answered. Anyway, the days are growing long, and I just could not be any happier. It’s only the middle of February, but I am already getting ready for the delicious days of spring and summer. I will go on walks through the countryside that last for hours and many multiple miles. I will till the gardens and plant pumpkins that will inevitably disappoint me and herbs that I will let be overgrown with weeds when I go off to California or Europe or wherever the winds take me this summer. And I’ll lay in the vineyard with my gin and the sun and a good book and I’ll weep happy tears. My muscles will be sore from laboring, which I only like in the summer. I will collapse, truly exhausted. I’ll daydream about moving to a place where the sun never sets. It’ll just be fabulous. The days are long and life is worth living again. Soon the weather will match the long days, and I will be the happiest man. I would be happier in Luxor or Paris, of course, but I’ll be happy.

Weird Inner Peace:

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I’m not entirely sure what it is, but I think the scarab I was made to run around in Karnak, the hieroglyphs I was to touch, the water I was supposed to drink, the sands that were flung at me, the prayers that were sent my way, and all of that is finally beginning to take effect. Or it could be that the Vitamin B12 levels in my body are finally normal. Or it could be the return of springtime. Or it could be the classes I’m taking. It could be anything, but for whatever reason, I am feeling fabulous. I feel peaceful. This hasn’t happened in years, and I was suspicious that this was a one day thing, but it’s been lingering now since the beginning of February. I’m enjoying life, and it’s bizarre. I don’t know what it is, but I like being my age. I feel like I totally know myself. I know my ambitions. I am well aware of my limitations. I know what I want to put myself on the line for, and when it’s okay to just enjoy a dusty old book about Victorian travelers on the Nile and sip a martini. I understand the world I live in very well, and it’s given me terrible freedom. And even though the times are dark and they are infinitely bleak, I feel as if we are on the edge of some wonderful precipice. Something is going to happen, and it’s going to be grand. So many people are angry and won’t settle for what they’ve been given. It’s going to be glorious. I know that this little installment doesn’t make a lot of sense because it’s a bunch of disjointed thoughts, but I’m just really enjoying being alive. I have energy I didn’t use to have, a dedication that I was always looking for, and my ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ attitude is really helping me live my best life. I hope it lasts.

Black Bean Pasta:

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Last week, on my weekly pilgrimage to ALDI, I was living my very best life. I always do. I suppose I should probably get a job there someday. People there must be the happiest people in the world. Do you think they get a discount? Can you imagine how cheap my Winking Owl merlot would be with an added discount? They might have to pay me to take it off their shelves at that point. I like to try at least one new thing each time I go, so this week I bought a box of black bean pasta. I looked at it with incredible suspicion, reader. It was organic and gluten free and all those good things. But I didn’t understand how it was made. The only ingredient is black beans. How do black beans hold together without gluten or some other kind of binding agent? So I looked at it in my cupboards for a long time before deciding to give it a go. I was worried that it was going to taste like black beans…since it’s made of black beans…which wouldn’t be a problem, but would be peculiar. I decided to make the world’s easiest tomato sauce (lightly simmer 1 can tomatoes with half a peeled onion, a big pinch of sea salt, and two tablespoons of butter for forth-five minutes. Purée this and then gorge) and see how it’d be. The pasta cooked up easily and tasted of nothing strong — like pasta — so I tossed it with the sauce, topped it with goat cheese, and stared at it. I don’t fear food. But I was certainly wary of this dish. The purple and grey noodles were not the most beautiful I have ever seen, but I was brave and took a bite. Reader, the noodles were amazing. They tasted like a thin soba noodle, and my pasta sauce was amazing. The goat cheese melted into the sauce. I was shoveling it into my face. I have no regrets. I’m going to make it a hundred more times this week. Get to ALDI, dear reader. Live your best life.

Warmth:

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This ties into the earlier comments I made on the longer days, but it’s distinct enough for me to break it down for you. Iowa is in the midst of some wondrous kind of false spring. It’s the middle of February, but it was seventy degrees the other day. Isn’t that fabulous? I took complete advantage of it, and have spent more time outside over the past three days than I have inside. I have absolutely no regrets about that. I want to live in one of those marvelous homes in the hills of Los Angeles where they’re half open to the outdoors at the flip of a switch. Would it not be the chicest and most elegant thing in the world to suddenly have the wall of your living room rise up and open up to the warm breeze? I have goosebumps at the thought. I need that kind of living. I’ll have it in my future Egyptian villa for sure, even though I’d have to fight the desert sands from coating every surface of the house. I’ll make it happen. I can make things happen in Egypt, I think. I don’t know if I’ll ever have Hollywood Hills money. Anyway, Iowa has been so sunny and I have been at my very best. When the sun is shining warmly down, I feel like a completely revitalized person. It’s the most delicious sensation to walk outside without thinking about a coat, having to decide which sunglasses to wear instead of which scarf to swaddle your frozen face in. Oh the sun is radiant! I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when the regular weather returns later this week. I hope I don’t sink to the depths of deepest depression. But this has reminded that spring will indeed return and everything will be fine. I can’t wait to go on a walk this afternoon. I’m thinking six miles at least. I love being outside so much!

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