Where’s My Dinner, Pops?

03/17/2020 6 By BuddyCushman

I was on the phone with my boy Gavin this morning, me in self-imposed isolation up here in Portland, OR, him down there in Oakland, CA, pretty much under government commandment via Alameda County to stay at home, fool. Actually the seven California counties ordering folks in did not add the “fool” part, even if it’s silent, sort of implied, as in we really aren’t in a trusting mood for all you cats and kitties to be making the proverbial “good choice” like, say, every moment of every day of every week for who knows how long going forward, so we have made it for you, but yes, go ahead and leave your house/apartment/building and walk around the lake. Fresh air is good, the virus don’t like it. Sunshine is even better, the virus don’t like sunshine but really has an issue with Vitamin D, which gets translated into your Bay area bodies by hanging out under that lucky old sun (old Ray Charles tune which I have always loved, I have a line from it in my story “Summahs” in my forthcoming collection of fictional tales, “Collected Strays”, if you’ll take the word “forthcoming” with a lot more than one grain of salt), back to Lake Merritt and the lucky old sun and Vitamin D, which does something that makes it harder for the virus to attach on to cells in the lungs, meaning it doesn’t get to do its potentially deadly thing as easily, and therefore it should also be an order of all governments and leaders wherever you find one to get your ass outside everyday unless it’s pouring down raining. The virus doesn’t like heat all that much either, that’s a ‘whatever’ I guess.

So, I’m on the phone with Gavin and we’re catching up – been a few weeks which is way too long though I did send him a cool letter a week ago, me running out of stamps rapidly means it’ll be email soon enough. So we are catching up and he sends me a YouTube link for a guy named Russell Brand, which I watch later then share with my wife Susan, and we’re talking about how quickly life has changed and me with my vision that there is a virus dust which has or will settle over pretty much everything, which means I could move into the closet for the next five weeks and a week from now my wife could bring me in a book delivered that day, one she knows I’ve been waiting for, Kerouac’s “Dr. Sax”, and unbeknownst to us both, our mailman, and this is a theoretical example, I know nothing of the sort, but just say our mailman isn’t all that hip and okay with missing hanging out with his boys, and girls, and has maintained a running regular nightly gathering of all the peeps at one bar or restaurant or someone’s house or the other, and excuse my French (which is a strange saying since it has to be clear this sure sounds like something made it America) and that fucking geek is literally drenched with the virus, him being young and strong and gonna catch a bad cold, and he doesn’t wear gloves and my wife has delivered me what could very well be a death sentence, though I hope not, kind of hate to spend the last month on the planet in a closet.

None of which is what I wanted to write about with the phone timer running – began at 22:59 – and no self-editing allowed, type the next thing Holmes, because back there in the conversation I mentioned to Gavin that my son Spenser is not exactly a Rhodes scholar in the understanding and intellectualizing departments, as he has lived his entire life to date – and hopefully there’s a whole lot more of it – under the auspices of Down syndrome – and so had a real big problem when I told him he wasn’t going to be having Subway for dinner Thursday, you see he has Subway for dinner every Thursday, going back to sometime like Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims, well nearly, he’s 27, and one of his particular, say, quirks, is an OCD-like devotion to everything always needs to be exactly the same – his mouthwash in the same spot, his sweatshirt on the floor in the middle of his room, in the same spot, the two tv controllers exactly in the same positions on his bed, and fucking Subway for dinner on Thursday nights thank you very much. So I was perhaps whining a smidge to Gavin that it’s hard, though surely correct in that if you think about it all those doors and counters and table tops and gleaning steel things and pay machines and, well, just maybe Subway might be a place the virus could be habitating, and Gavin said maybe you can find a video or a book or something that focuses on talking with your child about the coronavirus, which was a great idea, of course not a surprise since Gavin is way smart – I always feel I get smarter when I couch surf at his place a few days, kind of an ambiance thing never mind all the convo – but I immediately had a flash that I myself could, no, should go ahead and create such a tool, a device of comfort, a major league help to parents the country, heck, the world over, and I would call it this book – “How to Talk to Your Down syndrome’d Son About Why the Coronavirus Here Now Means He Cannot Have Subway For Dinner Thursday”. And don’t worry, I’ve already started working on it. In my aging mind. Outside the closet. Safe, for now, (he hopes) in isolation.

Yeah – hold the ham and cheese deluxe.