Weekend Update:
On the Eve
Sunday, 31 August

Part of it is, I’ve gotten tired of the sound of my own voice. Part of it.

On this last day of July, I’m preoccupied by what Augsut will bring. Kathleen and I have agreed that we will aim to take the 4 PM ferry from Bayshore to Ocean Beach (why does the schedule say “Ocean Bay Park”?) to meet our landlord at the Fire Island dock. In order to do this, we will take a train from Penn Station and “change at Jamaica.” Thirty years ago, the last time we did this, that meant crossing a platform. I hope that it’s still so simple. We’ll have twenty minutes to make a five-minute taxi ride from the station to the ferry.

We expect to spend the night in the house that we’ve rented, and to return to New York early on Tuesday morning. I’ll probably return to the house on Thursday. Everyone else will arrive on Friday, some for the weekend and some for longer stays. Megan and I have blocked out a calendar that indicates who’s coming when.

Beyond that, I know nothing. I don’t know what the supermarket in Ocean Beach is like, or how long it takes to walk from the ferry to the house, which is not in Ocean Beach but Robbins Rest, a two-lane development off the western edge of Ocean Beach. I don’t know what I’ll want to bring out to use in the kitchen. I don’t know what kind of wireless reception we’ll have. I have no idea at all what I”m going to want to do with myself.  All I know is that I”m going to the beach for a month (with a few quick trips back into town), and that whole point of being at the beach is taking it easy. Which means letting go.

Letting go doesn’t come naturally to me, but it seems that I’ve been doing nothing else for weeks now. I’ve been reading instead of writing. And I’ve been reading books instead of reading feeds. I’ve sunk back into the old world of long reads and limited voices. That has perhaps inevitably meant spending time in the company of older minds, and I’m almost ashamed to say how congenial I’ve found that.

Sometimes, I think that I’m molting, shedding an old, outgrown skin. Sometimes, I think that I’m having a nervous breakdown in slow motion, too stretched-out to be painful. Sometimes, I think that I’ve undergone a Copernican revolution: I’m simply no longer at the center of my own life. My grandson is. This isn’t to say that I love him more than I love Kathleen or anyone else; it’s not really a matter of love. It’s a matter of meaning. To put it another way, Will is the future, and I’m not. They say that you don’t appreciate your mortality until your parents die. I’m finding that you appreciate it even more when your first grandchild is born. What can I give to Will that he’ll find useful to take into that future, even if its value isn’t apparent to him until long after I’m gone?

I have decided not to make a decision about posting here (or elsewhere) during August. Regularity means a great deal to me; it’s often all that gets me going. I’m thinking of posting very brief daily entries here — as one blogger years ago put it in deep shame, “What I had for dinner last night” — while keeping an ongoing diary, with the oldest stuff at the top, at Civil Pleasures. But that thought will have to contend with the realities that I encounter late tomorrow afternoon and the next morning.

Wish me luck. I wish you a cool and pleasant August.