Sunday, July 7, 2024

Notes from an Alternate Reality

First, I need to just get this out of the way: I don’t like the version of reality we all seemed to be trapped in, the one where the world is boiling over and the supreme court is off the rails and the presidential race is let’s just say it, cuckoo nuts. I don’t want to write about this. I don’t want to think about this. I suspect you don't want to read about this, at least not from me, so here we both are. 

A much more pleasant reality is the mini vacation I'm on with my husband in Washington DC where our daughter and son-in-law live. So far we have eaten many gourmet meals courtesy of our son-in-law, who is a chef, (a special shout out to his turkey burgers—so good!), taken early morning walks through their neighborhood’s impressive community garden, and played indoor mini golf. (I won! Okay, I tied for first place with my son-in-law. My strategy was "what the heck, just hit the ball and don't worry about it," and that seemed to work for me.)

We also went to a Washington Nationals baseball game. During the three innings we were there (it was 97 degrees with a heat index of 105 and we're lucky we lasted that long) we got to see two homeruns, snarfed down Dippin Dot ice cream before it melted, drank multiple bottles of water, and took many sweaty, red-faced pictures of ourselves. It was fun! 

And then we headed back to the apartment to do what we all really wanted to do, which is watch the Tour de France. I had never watched the Tour de France, and up to this point, knew nothing about it. I still don't really know that much about it, but the gist is every year teams of bikers bike around France for three weeks. Our son-in-law grew up in Paris and is a huge fan and was a big help explaining the finer points.

Like, why there are some bikers wearing different colored shirts. The yellow, for example, is worn by the fastest rider, but that can change throughout the race depending on your time. And white is worn by the best performing younger biker. And then there's a multi-colored polka-dotted shirt for the best sprinter? or is it the best climber? Never mind all that. 

What I like about the race is how mesmerizing it is to watch the group of bikers moving together as one. They look like a flock of birds, diving and soaring, as they swerve around sharp turns through quaint-looking French villages and climb up into the Alps and then it's back into the villages with the teeth-jarring cobblestone streets. 

While we were watching, we got to hear the dubbed backstories, the previous years' harrowing moments when bikers banged into each other or someone's bike broke and they skidded out and caused a pile-up and the time a biker had to have his face rebuilt. It's brutal when it isn't so beautiful.

Which is a good tagline for life these days, don't you think? with the extreme weather and the dismantling of human rights and so much depending on a contest between a bumbling elderly gentleman and a carnival barking wannabe dictator, and meanwhile, over here you have someone carefully tending their cucumber vines in the community garden and perfectly seasoning a gourmet turkey burger.

I know no one asked me, but I want to live in the place with the cucumbers and the burgers, the homeruns and the frothy minigolf waterfalls, the world where everyone I love piles on one enormous couch together and cheers as the bikers roll by.  


  1. I love your mini-vacation, Jody! Yes to the tagline. You always have a beautiful way with words.

    (Previous comment deleted due to typos.)

    1. Thank you, as always, Yvonne, for reading. <3 And thank you for the kind words.