“My advice to media consumers is to take responsibility for your behavior. Everything that they want and need is out there and they have to stop thinking that media is just cable news. You know, it’s usually when people are hysterical over something, it’s because of cable news, which has disproportionate impact for its tiny numbers. Really. And so my view is that if you don’t like cable news, you can go through your life and be incredibly informed and never watch it.”—Brooke Gladstone, host of On The Media and author of The Influencing Machine, on PBS Art Beat. (via cmonstah)
“I was a father now. All day and all night of every week of every month of every year since becoming one, I’d felt surrounded by love, responsible to it, careful not to hurt it, and so grateful to get it. To punch another man in the face was to punch another father, was to punch some father’s son.”—Andre Dubus III, Townie (via wwnorton)
“I know we’re gonna meet someday in the crumbled financial institutions of this land. There will be tables and chairs, pony rides and dancing bears. There’ll even be a band
‘cause listen after the fall there’ll be no more countries, no currencies at all. We’re gonna live on our wits, throw away survival kits trade butterfly knives for adderall.
And that’s not all. Whoa! There will be snacks, there will, there will be snacks!”—"Tables and Chairs" Andrew Bird
in which i experience an unexpected homecoming and tears tucked away
Amelia Cain has been my friend since the 4th grade. But the funny thing is that we took a dance class together in either the 1st or 2nd grade. (You could ask her. She knows, but I can never remember.) We just weren’t friends yet when we were in the same dance class. The only reason we even realized this hilarious coincidence was when she came over after school on a half day in the 4th grade she looked at my refrigerator.
There was one of those god-awful magnets from a photo taken of me after a dance recital in all of my made up and costumed glory (or demise), and Amelia looked at it right before we started eating macaroni and cheese and said something along the lines of “Hey! I had the dance recital costume too!”
My mom was probably equally skeptical and intrigued. Lo and behold, she found the photo that documented the entire class in our horrible, horrible cupid themed costumes and there was Amelia’s face smiling just a row over from mine.
That was the first of many play dates Amelia and I had.
And then when I was 13 years old I had to move away from my beloved West Chester, PA when my dad was fired from his job. Needless to say, I eventually lost most of the friends that I had in Pennsylvania, even some of the ones that I thought would be by my side forever. But Amelia remained ever-vigilant. And so did I.
* * *
Amelia is one of those remarkable people has an obscenely kind family and is talented and kind beyond measure. She makes you question what on earth it is she likes about you, but you wouldn’t dare bringing it up on the off-chance she might realize how much cooler she is than you (of course, she is far too kind and gentle to ever think she is better, kinder, gentler than anyone even though there’s undeniable scientific evidence that she is).
* * *
The first piece of mail I received at my New York address from an invitation to Amelia’s college graduation party. I’ve been invited to several (if not almost all) of Amelia’s family functions directly or indirectly relating to her since I moved away, but I always smiled and then politely declined because of distance at the invitation which was always received by mail and and always handmade by Amelia.
My brain almost exploded out of my ears six times when I realized I could actually attend this Cain family function. I ever-so-happily RSVP’d that yes I would indeed be there with bells on.
I counted down the days, not because I have few social engagements in New York, but because I was going to see the love of my life in the place in which I fell in love with her.
* * *
(One of the most adult feeling things I have ever done in my life is successfully navigate a trip for one from one state to another without fucking it up.)
* * *
When I get to the Cain’s house it took almost everything I had not to cry. I had been over to play at Amelia’s house countless times after school. We would jump on the trampoline. We would swim in the pool. We’d color on the deck.
Here I was. One of the popular places of my childhood and it was decked out for her college graduation party.
I finally met her boyfriend. I hugged her parents. I helped finish setting up.
The party started and people politely introduced themselves wondering who I was. When I would say, “I’m Sam. I’ve been Amelia’s friend since elementary school, but I moved away in middle school, but I was lucky enough to be able to come to her graduation party,” people would go, “Oh! You’re Sam! I’ve heard so much about you! How wonderful that you’re here.”
I had a positive reputation going for me at this party full of mostly strangers.
I saw friends from middle school. They hugged me and wanted to know all about how I was doing and what I was doing and what I was doing at the party and if we could be friends on facebook. I saw friends of Amelia’s that went to high school with her that I had never met who were excited to finally meet me.
It was this weird homecoming that I had never expected.
* * *
Amelia, Marie, Rick, and Amelia’s parents twisted my arm and got me to stay in West Chester until this afternoon.
I went to see a movie. I helped clean up from the party. I was taken out to a really nice dinner. I ate ice cream on many occasions. I was invited to Marie’s parents’ house for dinner because they loved that I was from Michigan (they are from there too) and that they were finally able to meet the girl that their daughter and Amelia had driven so far to visit so many times. (Amelia and Marie road tripped out to see me the past two summers and it was amazing. I was nervous on their first visit because I had never been friends with Marie in middle school, but I knew it would work out if Amelia was friends with her and it meant I would be able to see her. Marie is wonderful. Obviously. I mean, come on, she’s got family in Michigan.)
Her mom sent me back with a sack full of cookies and brownies and a ziploc bag filled with flour because I had absentmindedly mentioned that I didn’t want to buy flour since I didn’t know how long I would be in New York and I could only ever find at least one pound of flour and no less.
Amelia made sure I had a lunch to eat on the bus ride back to New York.
* * *
You guys, I had a family for the weekend. And I was so reluctant to leave. I was loved and cared for by people who know me.
* * *
The Cains said I can come and stay any time I want.
The most delightful thing is that I know that they mean it, and that I fully intend to take them up on it.
“Samy cowers on Svensson’s shoulders, his mother tries to reach him, but then she too hangs on Svensson’s words, suddenly real tears can be seen in her eyes (the book was never meant to be a children’s story). The children’s book author seems surprised by his own story, he doesn’t read on, he only whispers,
Fips isn’t coming back.”—Thomas Pletzinger, Funeral for a Dog