I got in the elevator with someone today. It’s been nice knowing you.

This never happens. I’ve been living the life of a rich and privileged person, now that I think of it: private elevators every day, no stops at other floors, an office to myself. But today there was someone else. She got in and beeped her floor, and I said this was a new one for me, seeing someone else.

“Please stand on the circle!” I barked. “The circles are there for a reason!”

She laughed and scooted back an inch until she was on her circle, whereupon I stood with my face in the corner of the elevator car and sad “I won’t breath for the duration,” and then we chatted about how we had the floors to ourselves. She was up on 13. She just came in now and then to get something.

Also talked with a guy in the office I haven’t seen since March; he was in because the IT people only show up on Tuesdays. He missed the office a lot. Then he said what I hear from everyone, me included:

When this is over I want to come back. Just not every day.

That will be the longest-lasting effect on office culture, I think. The five-day stint at the office is done. The amateurs will choose Friday as their day to work from home, not knowing that the way to give the weekend meaning is to work on Friday so there’s relief when the whistle blows and you slide down the dino’s tail. Also, go to work on Monday, because it’s like getting up and putting on a shirt with a collar.

I’ve gotten back into wine, or rather wine has gotten back into me. I usually shy away from reds, because they make me sleepy, and I do not like to be sleepy. But I have an easily-pleased palate, so I don’t need something that’s complex and full-bodied as a belly dancer with multiple personalities. As long as it’s not the sugary swill of a Valli carafe, I’m fine.

The main thing that keeps me from really learning a lot about wine is the price. I’m sure there’s a memorable experience to be had by drinking a $90 bottle with friends, but at the end of it, the bottle is empty, the $90 is gone, and only an hour and a half has passed. The same amount applied to a fine scotch lasts so much longer, and has more rewards.

But I am having a glass now, and it reminded me of something I saw in the furniture store last weekend. The store had a “Marketplace” section full of objets you can place in the rooms in your house no one uses very much. Spare bedrooms, the second family-room mantle, other places in those suburban castles with a nice neutral decor and tasteful furniture that doesn’t really belong to any period. The vases, the sculptures, the bespoke arrangement of dried sticks, and the motto boxes.

You know what I mean: distressed wood, painted grey, white script lettering in the typefaces you associate with Live Laugh Love or other expressions that fall under the Spiritual Yoga Mom genre. Sometimes the category is expanded to Spiritual Yoga Wine Mom. The upper-middle-class catalogs we get at Christmas, all an offshoot of the local Public Radio Network’s Keillor-era marketing department, are aimed like a Tomahawk missile at the SYWM demo.

The motto box that caught my eye:

IT’S NOT A HANGOVER
IT’S WINE FLU

Bad timing, that. I imagine it was designed and consigned a year and a half ago, pre-pandemic. No one wants a decorative box that says FLU on it. To be honest, I don't know who would, ever; if you have to decorate your house with bric-a-brac that waves away your inevitable hangover in advance, maybe that's not so good.

Would Beer Flu be different? Maybe. I don't know why there aren't more words for a beer hangover. Man, I got a brew-skull today.

You too? I got a real lager-pounder too.

Whiskey Flu would never be on a box put on a table, because no whiskey drinker would associate the stuff with a virus. The next day they might softly say, wincing, "I have a wee bit of the head from the last dram of an angel's tears," because whiskey drinkers are poets and romantics, don't you know.

Anyway. The problem with wine is this: I cannot write after one glass. And now, having had my glass, I will stop.

NOTE: perhaps I implied that the Wednesday Review of Modern Thought would return today. That was the plan, but what I wrote needs to sit for a while. Spend a week in the cask, so to speak.

 

 

It’s 1926.

A horse makes the front page?

A horse fell in the drink and it made the front page?

 

 

Yes. Most of the google returns on Big Ben refer to a horse born in the 70s. This Big Ben was an 1800-lb beast who lauded a “dump wagon.” He was hauling snow, slipped on an inclined road by the bay, and went over.

The opening of Boardwalk Empire in real life:


For every story like this, I’ll bet there were ten no one knew about, because the finders weren’t damned fools, and didn’t tell anyone.

A Cunard vessel, launched in 1922. Troopship in the war. Transported immigrants afterwards from old world to new. Retired in 1956.

Leaving Liverpool:

Beautiful. How I miss them. I can't tell you how much I miss them, and fear I will never take one again.

   
 

Dude, just fess up.

Or find another job.

Unless you’re really, really attached to extracts.

   

It’s the editorial page! SET ASIDE AN HOUR OR TWO.

There’s little of interest here to modern eyes. But this is timeless.

   
  Good luck.
   

Finally, one of the millions of comics that looked like this and read like this:

About Fred: He drew the daily comic strip 'Cicero Sapp' from 1921 to 1928. In 1943, he briefly drew 'Homer Hoopee’."

There has to be more to the man than that.

That'll do. See you tomorrow.

 

 

 

 
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