Looking out at the grey sky, crisscrossed with yet autumnal-seeming almost April Fool’s branches whipping wildly in a noisily hyper wind, with that gust rippled lake below. We sit as high as a 5 story in this bi-level house with two stair sets and a small hilly jaunt leading from lower covered balcony to the shoreline with its half sunk “dock” well past saving after a zero maintenance decade or two. Just before the mandate, we decided we needed a shelter to remain in. Air BnB, not surprisingly, had some good deals. Our magically shabby cottage with two fireplaces, one of which is a brick pizza oven, is in the woods an hour from home and we have quarantined just fine, thank you very much.
I wrote about my living situation last year or the year before. For myriad reasons I’ll not delve too deeply here. But as it pertains to this slice, it is small, I have limited use of things one grows accustomed to after 10 years of owning their own home, it lessens the amount I get to be with my kids during the school year, and it was a blessing at a time in my life when I needed one. Despite all of its drawbacks, I am grateful to have a place for my things and a roof over my head.
If you’ve read me you know I go from tangent to tangent in an increasingly annoying manner. If you are me, you know this painfully too well. Anyways, I finally watched Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer, today, whilst also staring at the window I mentioned in sentence one. He just did The Favourite which won all the awards this year but that was his first “normal” picture and by normal I mean not like his two other English language films, the aforementioned Sacred Deer, as well as The Lobster, which also starred Colin Farrell. I separate these movies from the big normal one because in the other two, all the characters basically just recite their lines. Almost no affect. The stylistic result is beyond jarring but it does create a sort of tone or rhythm that you fall in step with as it goes. What I believe, after hearing Yorgos on my podcast, is that he believes in capturing purity with these films. Which means Mr Farrell, and the rest of these genius casts, are actors reading lines while being filmed for a movie which is telling a story, so, they deliver their lines as such. It’s a lot, I know, the movies are bomb though.
Ok but why that tangent? I don’t have the metaphor fully worked out but I think it plays both ways. Or at least I do. See, I am limited by the living situation I’ve been working with in so many ways. And now I am, in essence, faking it with this long run quarantine. I am not in a mansion or fancy lake house. It is about an approximation of what someone in my situation, same jobs, kids, etc, who maybe made one or two different choices in life, could afford. But, dudes, screw it. I am unabashedly in love with doing dishes and taking out the garbage and doing laundry. (Yes I do those on the reg but here it’s different)
Mostly, though? Cooking. We planned out the food thing and I have cooked every bite of every meal. Made my pasta, crock pot tacos, bbq marinated chicken, sausages with my famous cajun potatoes, and homemade pizzas which were literally some of the best things I’ve ever put in my face and I live in Chicago. And breakfast? Bro. Everyday something new, just after waking up and making the coffee from the pot I cleaned out and prepared the night before! That sentence almost made me cry a little. Today I had my first non-restaurant made sandwich, with bread, in at least 6 years. I stay away from carbs and buying lunch meat where I live is just not a viable thing unless I eat it with mustard out of the bag for dinner, cold cuts tray-style. I used lettuce and tomato and all the stuff. It was immeasurably satisfying.
And tomorrow I get to bring the kids here and they can see me in this habitat. A version of dad I know at least my daughter will never have memories of from before when it was real life. I can cook them all the food and tuck them in and take them fishing and not be limited to one TV when the middle guy wants to late night binge the kinda bad show I know he loves less than he loves talking to me about as it’s on, because big brother can play video games with his friends in “his room” while baby girl watches her old Nick shows in hers.
Corona sucks. This whole everything is scary and weird. I’m looting in a way I guess. Using the time of confusion and fog to grab myself some memories. And no, hell no, I’m not looting smiles and security from some past life long gone, I am 100 percent motivating myself to build this for real in the future.