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Random Notes of the Season (newsletter)

Hi Everybody,
Spring has sprung, the crocuses are in bloom, and the sparrows are making a racket.

Here in New England, the gray winter days are gone but a lot of grayness remains on the streets. Not the pavement; I’m talking about automobiles. A few weeks ago it struck me that most of the cars I see driving, parked by the curb or filling parking lots are essentially colorless. Around here at least I’d say close to 90% of them are painted in shades of white, gray, and black. The darker ones may have a tint to them, but you need strong light to tell what it is. The most popular color seems to be blue, followed by red. The gaudiest ones are the primary-colored jeeps, but they’re far outnumbered by cars in formal attire. Now, of the ten cars I’ve owned, none were black, one white, and the rest mostly earth tones (if Puce is an earth tone). So either tastes have changed or colored cars are harder to come by these days. Take a survey, next few times you’re out and about (thanks to the weather and the vaccine). Are colored cars as rare where you are? What do you make of this car conformity?

Speaking of vaccine, I’m all shot up. Thought it might come with a Pfizer tattoo or a congratulatory sticker or at least a lollipop. Maybe we should wear color-coded hospital bracelets; red for vulnerable, orange for had it; yellow for almost immunized, and white for all set. Anyway my provider, a non-profit hospital conglomerate, set up clinics around the area. The competently-run one they assigned me to was at a Jewish Synagogue in Boston, conveniently located near the medical area should anaphylaxis or something set in. I was in the geezer cohort, shuffling through the line in about ten minutes for an overall rate of 400 a day, my nurse told me. “Go ahead,” I told her, “punch me in the arm, I dare you.” Well she did, and it got a little sore next day, but that’s all the wear and tear I suffered from either injection. But you know, it feels weird to be immunized. I only need to go around in a mask so as not to freak out other people, and while many of them are in the same boat, everyone still shies away. Can’t wait to hug my sweetie at a movie.

Another thing I’ve recently noted is how often NPR’s newscasters refer to Trump as “the former president” or his minions as “the former administration,” as if he were Voldemort. Did they do that to Obama after his stint? I tell you, there’s a mass- and social-media fake news conspiracy to bury the man before he is dead. But gawd, is it ever sweet relief from four years of gray days.

So I’m sitting her late yesterday afternoon and I hear the sound of thunder. I look out and the sky is perfectly cerulean, not a cloud in sight. Aha! tomorrow is recycling day, and the growl was only the resonance of my neighbor wheeling out his trash and recycling bins out his driveway. Here’s what my street looks like every other Tuesday, when unsightly vertical coffins render the block a no-parking zone. I became depressed the day they got parceled out from a huge truck a couple years ago, and it still gets me that we need 96-frigging-gallon bins to discard all the packaging we now encounter, a lot of which isn’t recyclable because it’s too complex or not the right stuff. And then what happens to it? So I looked into it and wrote up my depressing findings in an article in The Technoskeptic magazine called Talking Trash. We feel virtuous that we generally fill up only an eighth of what our blue bin can hold, but there’s plenty more stuff like black and styrofoam food containers, multi-ply cartons, plastic wrap, chip bags, and such we direct to a landfill as the recycling mills don’t want them. (If you don’t believe me, check the Massachusetts Recyclopedia to see where your discards end up.)

As for what I was doing while sitting here, it was proofreading the fifth draft of Her Own Devices before sending it down the wire to a publisher who wanted to see it. Word’s not likely to filter back for at least three months, so I’m not holding my breath, but I’m happy to exhale a copy to you if you want to take a look and are willing to return some feedback. For your efforts I’ll send you a copy shortly after it’s minted (if you can stand having it). The novel has 92,100 words broken into four sections and 31 chapters, with a Foreword and Afterword narrated by my intrepid protagonist, Anna. Take a look at this description of it and if you want a PDF to read, submit the form at the bottom of the page selecting “Love to” under “Would you like to be a beta reader,” or simply reply to this letter to let me know and I will happily send the thing and put you on the acknowledgements page no matter your reactions, the worse the better for my purposes, but please be kind.

A Votre Santé!

From Perfidy Press Pronouncements, a quasi-monthly newsletter on March 23, 2021

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