There was a strange baby that sang at midnight

A long line of strangers’ cars in the darkness, headlights off, idling or moving slowly. A little moonlight. People walking beside and amongst the cars.
Strangers all.
Near you, a strange woman has a baby and a lot of other things to carry. Maybe she is pulling a wagon. You hold the baby for her.
You want to comfort her and the baby, so you comfort her by comforting the baby.
You hold it gently to yourself, protecting it, and hum.
There in the night, among strangers, you hear a beautiful noise and it takes a while to realize it is the baby singing.
The night is quiet, people murmur, engines idle, tires grind on gravel. Footsteps and your tinnitus whining and whirring and jingling.
The baby’s song rises above all of it like wind whistling through a canyon.
You share a look with the mother. How wonderfully it sings, your eyes say.
How wonderfully the strange baby sings in the night.
What is all this, you ask the dream.
The necessary coexistence of the strange and the beautiful, says the dream.

The smallest man in the world and high voltage rock ‘n roll

The Smallest man in the World is down to about eight or nine inches. Sometimes he finds himself trapped in a bad comedy routine.

Sandy and Mandy, at some dying hotel in the Poconos (?), performing, by popular demand, their This Couple Gets Lost In The Big City On Their Way To Pick Up Their Daughter’s Wrecked Car In The Middle Of Winter And Start Bickering.

I told you to bring the GPS, sez Sandy.

[Laughter]

We’ll be here til Thursday, remember to tip your waiter.

Finally, the Smallest Man In the World is alone in the wrecked car. We all have a place we belong. Maybe you belong at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, or feeding scrofulous pigeons in Venice. The Smallest Man in the World belongs in his daughter’s fogged-up wrecked car.

He’s idling the motor, waiting for the window to clear before he leaves. The radiator seems to be at an angle, so he has opted to take the slow way home and not the freeway, because this is what strikes him as the best idea.

Driving a wrecked car at freeway speeds strikes him as somehow unwise, due to things like overheating, and parts falling off, and explosions, and so on.

Two Slavic types in long leather coats ask him if he’s leaving soon, because a guy is coming to give them a jump because their battery’s dead. “As soon as my window clears up,” says the Smallest Man, but then their friend comes and is blocking traffic so he leaves early, with just a tiny patch of clear glass to see out of, being a nice guy.

Also, he’s the Smallest Man, how big a piece of clear glass does he need?

The slow way, he thought, would be fast due to everyone wanting to go the fast way, but it turns out to be slow.

One thing he doesn’t do is listen to high voltage rock and roll. He has the heater on, and the lights, he doesn’t want to run anything else, just in case the alternator is fried. He’s sitting, stuck, at a million lights on the way out of town, but the engine is cold and even covered with ice and snow, so it’s okay until he gets out of the city.

Only then does it start creeping up, the needle.

Otherwise, it’s a sweet little car. Too bad it’s a ’95. With this damage to the hood, radiator, bumper and grill, it’s totaled.

Still, he counts his blessings. Both headlights are busted, but it’s not entirely dark yet. The radiator is smooshed, but it’s a cold day.

And moreover, his kid is okay. Just a few bruises. She’s okay.

And that needle isn’t in the red zone yet.

Of course, there is this mountain. The needle goes into the red right at the top of the mountain. The Smallest Man puts the car into neutral and coasts down the other side of the mountain, watching the needle go back down.

There is nothing else he’d rather be doing. This is it. Janelle Monáe could be sitting by the side of the road waving a headscratcher and he’d coast right past.

This is it.

Sorry, what?

First, before I forget: is the Nissan Cube a good car or is someone playing a joke on hipsters? We test drove one on Saturday and it seemed okay, but it also seemed as if there were a premium being paid for extra design and coolness, sort of like with the MacBook.

Which I also have, of course, and like.

We decided to wait a while and think about it. Chances are I’ll get a van, which would be larger, and yet cheaper.

I have a year or so with my current car, a Mazda 2, I figured. Then this morning the clutch and transmission got very weird all of a sudden, so maybe not a whole year. I’ll be happy if I can drive home, goddamn it.

I hate cars. At least the ones I can afford.

Two guys came into our house this morning and installed a very large television set. This is apparently connected to the guys who came to our house last week and installed a satellite dish on our roof.

Listen: I remember when dad could go to the store and come home with a box, and take a television set out of the box, and plug it in and you were done. You got maybe 3-4 channels, (not over 1000) and sometimes you had to stand there moving the antenna around while someone on the sofa said, “a little more, no, a little more, no, hang on, it was better before, move it back, no the other way,” but that was it. You didn’t have to communicate with a fucking satellite. You didn’t have to have a guy come to the house because he could navigate twenty different fucking menus. You didn’t have to go back to the store to get a different cable to attach your DVD player because there were no DVD players.

And so on.

When I left for work, my wife was watching a show about weather in Germany.