Saturday, June 17, 2006

Love at a sensible 50 mph

I recent developed a 10-minute crush on someone during my commute home that was of such intensity I can feel it now.

As I pulled out onto 22, I saw him: a nerd on a brand-new Vespa.

At first, I thought, how annoying, how pretentious and vile, thinking of the hipsters in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side cluttering the sidewalks with their little European trophies.

But here, in New Jersey, with no one around to marvel at how clever he is, this man was obviously riding a Vespa because he really wanted to, and maybe he was even doing it for altruistic reasons, like saving gas and helping the environment!

His little messenger bag flapped majestically in the breeze as he valiantly tried to keep up with traffic speed, and his Hush Puppies looked so vulnerable as the Vespa teetered slightly. I wanted to wave, to shout a greeting and a word of encouragement, but I had to keep my own eyes on the brake lights in front of me. My lane advanced before his, alas, and I lost sight of him somewhere in Bound Brook.

I actually considered publishing a missed connections message on Craigslist to look for him, but now I'm just thankful for the memory. New Jersey is never what you think it's going to be.

Books that should stop getting published

Mysteries involving cats

Chicken Soup for the X Soul (my "favorite" example: Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul. What *is* a NASCAR soul, anyway?)

Hot Chocolate, Latte, Espresso, or Any Other Hot Beverage for the Mind or Spirit

Rich Dad financial advice.

Mysteries not by AC Doyle involving Sherlock Holmes, especially when he teams up with other fictional detectives (recent example: a mystery that chronicles Holmes joining forces with Father Brown)

Mysteries about how various celebrities/historical figures solve crimes (Groucho Marx? Prince Albert? huh?)

Religious fiction that at first glance looks like mainstream fiction

Chick lit (yeah, we get it - being single sucks but your escapades are hilarious)

Celebrity-authored children's books

Memoirs about how someone had a disease

Memoirs in general

Editions of the Holy Bible (recovering addicts, single moms, married men, hardcore for young people...)

Illustrations of how famous book/movie/TV show is religious/philosophical (seen recently: finding religion in Harry Potter)

ANYTHING about the DaVinci Code. Or trying to be the *next* DaVinci Code.

Books on how baby boomers changed the world.

Beans, beans

The theme is beans, as in "where have you bean?" and "what have you bean up to?". I was going for three beans, enough for a salad, but concluded that I didn't want to be a has-bean.

(crickets)

Anyhoo, I just didn't have too much that is newsworthy to tell anyone. My birthday was quiet and uneventful, and I quite enjoyed it that way. It was peaceful enough to where I could finally start writing again, and I've made a little progress on the albatross I think is going to be a novel someday.

The one thing of note that I did want to mention was rediscovering my leafy bower, i.e. the balcony, and making more use of it. Last night after my walk I went out and sat until after dark and finished Other Voices, Other Rooms while the bugs came and found the flames of my citronella bucket candles and the ice in my cosmopolitan got smaller and smaller. I'm on a Southern writers kick again, something I do whenever it gets hot and sultry. I am still digesting portions of Eudora Welty's complete short stories, a volume of over 600 pages, and will move on to the short novels of Flannery O'Connor after that.

Here's what else is on my "to-read" pile:

Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster (so far it's warm and sentimental, something his regular readers complained about, but it may be enough to keep me with it);

Snowed In by Christine Bartolomeo (about winter in New England, when I get tired of the South) - thanks to Karen for the recommendation;

Women and Love by Shere Hite (I'm not convinced her reports are scientific, but the anecdotes are fascinating and reassuring);

Body Learning by Michael Gelb (I got curious about the different "methods" of posture and breathing and bodywork that are out there - this is about the Alexander Method).

My reading group has just decided on reading The Terrorist by John Updike. I'm not too thrilled, but I forfeited my right to choose when I didn't show up last week (I was still hungover from the night before with coworker S. and his Rutgers pals - long story short, college boys can sure drink a lot).