I'll be leaving in a couple of hours for my annual pilgrimage to America. One of my sons will be getting married while I'm there, good for him! And it is good too, I have met the woman, she's a keeper. There'll be lots of revisiting favorite foods; a trip to see my father in New Mexico on the eve of his 91st birthday; watching depressingly vacuous and counterproductive American "news" coverage; and the inevitable more or less enjoyable conversations with various significant others.
This is a world in which I can no longer easily sense my purpose. Too much has changed, there's so much now that I'm just not comfortable with. When politics is enough to make you long for Nixon, you know that you're in trouble. It sneaks up on you, the facts of this unlikely future catch you unawares (if I may speak generally, maybe it's just me). I'll be bringing a few extra packs of Marlboro Menthols with me, I get them for two bucks a pack, made in the Philippines, very good. Much better, in fact, than the Marlboro Menthals you get in America. I smoke a few everyday, a few, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Cigarettes in California go for almost eight bucks a pack now, and it occurred to me that the price per cigarette is forty cents. Forty cents! APIECE! When I was in the Navy we got whole cartons for $1.90. Who wouldn't smoke at those prices? (Civilians got a pack for thirty-something cents.)
Well, bon voyage to me. I'll be checking in, they have computers where I'm going.