I hope everyone had a good holiday. I did. It was freezing when I left New York. It was five a.m. and I woke up at my friend's house in Brooklyn and walked outside and everything was ice. I was pretty much asleep and I took a real spill on the ice, not as bad as when I went ice skating, but still a body-on-the-ice situation. Then I got on the plane and fell asleep and got to Maryland and it was already warm. My dad's friend's grandson from Mexico is staying with us. We went to the Hirschhorn and saw the infamous Ron Mueck "Big Man."
For Christmas I got a lot of books, maybe some other things, a pair of nice slippers, a nice shirt from Mexico, a bottle of mezcal with the worm in it, some prescription drugs that were my present to myself, and a jacket that isn't here yet.
Yes, lots of books. I got Mating by Norman Rush, Light in August by Faulkner, Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, Shadow Country by Peter Mathiessen, and maybe something else, I can't remember right now. In the bookstore I picked up a paperback of The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg, my favorite novel from 2007, and noticed that the quote on the cover is from my review.
I also saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Some beautiful, amazing moments, but they're isolated, and I didn't like the movie much. The deathbed framing device is damning... rarely have I seen clearer evidence built into the structure of the movie that the filmmakers lacked confidence in the strength of the story they were telling.
But probably the best part of the last few days was when I went to the doctor at NYU cancer center for a lump in the flesh of my lip. "Well, it's either a tumor or a mucocele," he said. "We'll just see." So he anesthetized my lip and then took a syringe with a huge needle and stuck the needle into the lump... which immediately popped and I saw a fat droplet of clear fluid burst into the syringe. Oh my god. Why are experiences involving the sudden, slightly painful extraction of matter from the body (pulling loose teeth, bursting ripe zits) so satisfying?