q & a: 4
how was your fourth of july?
Oh, just fine. We drove to a blueberry-and-wheat farm outside Hillsboro and hung out by a reservoir until it got dark, and then a nice lady with a banjo showed up, and even though the electric tuner confused her so the banjo ended up sharp, we all played blues in G sharp for an hour or so while the kids shot enormous quantities of illegal fireworks over the water and periodically stopped to stamp out the brush fires.
If you could relive one single day from your past exactly as it was the first time, what day would you choose to experience all over again and why?
I've spent a lot of my best days on highways. The best part about moving is the time when you are actually in motion, your worldly chattels gathered around you; it's one long moment of anticipation and hope. Like the first day of driving to Iowa was pretty great. We saw a lot of beautiful mountain scenery and made it as far as Rock Springs, Wyoming. The next day harsh reality, in the form of Nebraska, set in; but I love the beginnings of journeys. It's about to happen again.
If you could recover one thing you've lost in your lifetime, what would you wish to find?
From age 5 to 7 or so I had a green plastic Tyrannosaurus rex, no more than two inches high, whose name was Mr. Tyrann. Mr. Tyrann was a regular passenger in my pocket for those years; I'm pretty sure I took him to the first grade every day, and so forth. Inevitably, one day I came home from school and discovered that Mr. Tyrann had not come home with me; I was inconsolable. If I had him now I would keep him on my desk next to Penguin X, the windup blue penguin.
Describe your ideal mate.
I am not old enough, nor have I performed enough mating dances, to have the first clue. If said mate can't handle the sound of guitars feeding back or the arias I sing in the shower, it's probably doomed to failure. I tend to go for idealists, neurotics, and misfits; the pragmatic and well-adjusted are somehow uninteresting, or at any rate seem to inhabit a separate and incommensurable world. That might not be the greatest command decision.
what are the best things you've seen at night? best five, maybe?
1. A big old colony of Bewick's Swans (Cygnus columbianus) hanging out in the rushes of the River Cam; I belonged to a kiddie ornithology club in England, and one night we got to go out and watch them from a blind.
2. Moonrise over the Catalina mountains. It's difficult to explain the quality that the crags and cliffs acquire under strong moonlightboth jagged and ethereal. Lizards and small rodents dart through the underbrush; you can only hear them. With enough distance the city turns into a glowing amber bowl.
3. The Andromeda Galaxy. Not that it looked particularly impressive through my binoculars from the backyard, but locating it on my own was a great triumph.
4. A small and very affectionate puppy in Tucson; and if drugs were involved with this one, perhaps you could make a tedious argument that the experience had more to do with my perception that any quality inherent to the puppy in sich; but it was less than a month old and it was pure love. I spent hours with it.
5. A girl of my acquaintance jumping without warning and fully clothed from a wooden raft into a seasonal lake.