Beating children in the toy aisle

Although it’s Christmastime, around here some of Jesus’ miracles don’t seem so miraculous. “Jesus walked on water!” Yeah, great, so could I right now, it’s frozen. I need to go somewhere hot, someplace burning, maybe a civil war. I noticed the other day that the jail in my town is next to the airport, which seems kind of mean. The airport is just a small private airfield, so it probably doesn’t have a departure board, which is too bad, because I always thought of them as being the things most symptomatic of optimism in any airport. I used to wonder, though, since flights are always listed according to their destination, if there couldn’t be, hidden between the lines of the departure board, a limitless ghost army of planes taking off with no destination, as invisible bureaucratically speaking as the angels climbing Jacob’s latter even if they are hulking steel cans like any other.

One of my best friends from high school who is also frequently possessed by fits of wanderlust has just come back to Colorado from that depraved den of iniquity London, though he only remains among us for a couple of weeks, probably fearing that to absent himself longer would give the mold growing on his walls time to colonize his floor and perhaps take up arms against him. I think he should leave it be: with little money and jammed into some back-alley, it’s probably the only way he will be able to cultivate the famous British love of gardening. He’s only been away from here for a few years, but he has already become detached enough from the genius loci to deliver himself of such judgments as he did the other day when he said something about how Mexicans make “good food.” I had to remind him that in this country Mexicans don’t just make “good” food, they make all the food. Nonetheless, he has the irrepressible compulsion to make invidious comparisons of a man comfortable only in open relationships. He started going on about how strange it seemed to drive or ride a bike when going out at night, since in London one generally walks or takes public transportation. I implored him to tell me more magical stories of the exotic East. Whatever, his idea of a nice city is St. Petersburg, where you risk being menaced by the depradations of wandering noses and disgruntled statues.

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