Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"All happy families . . . ": The Meridian breaks bread with a fellow blogger

For your listening pleasure: "Wichita," by the Jayhawks.

What I am about to relate occurred back on Friday, but only now have I found the words to convey the experience to you.

Some of you also are regular readers of the inimitable R. Sherman's blog, Musings from the Hinterland. Thus, you know of his recent post announcing the Sherman family's vacation to the Grand Canyon and Moab, Utah. What neither he (nor I, for that matter) failed to report is that their journey would bring them through Wichita last Friday and that we arranged to meet for lunch at one of the city's fine dining establishments.

Now we sort of know how Dick Cheney feels when making one of his unannounced, reported-after-the-fact trips to Baghdad. Sort of, in a very tangential, indeed, barely-vicariously-experienced sort of way.

But still, you may be wondering, why are you only now reporting on this? Well, as I said above, only now am I able to convey adequately the experience.

I suppose I should get the difficult part out of the way first: R. Sherman and the Official Family are completely, certifiably

normal. And not just "normal"--the dreaded "nice."

You see the problem, don't you? A blog's lifeblood is the anecdotal, the weird and quirky, or stuff you can loathe or at least snark or complain about. But here they come rolling out of Missouri, not only looking nothing at all like the latter-day Quantrill's Raiders Kansans tend to think of Missourians as being, but to all appearances looking like happy, well-adjusted, even intelligent people. The sort of people, as Tolstoy in his wisdom intimates, people don't write novels about. I mean, really, Randall: How do you expect me to get a post out of "normal," much less "normal" and "nice"?

But, you know, sometimes we must make do with the materials at hand; and, speaking as one with few intellectual resources at his disposal and a navel too shallow for gazing into besides, I've managed to scrounge up enough baling wire to keep this blog going. So. I can do this, I'm sure.

"Normal." "Nice."

Um . . .

::scratches head::

Well . . . Randall and the EMBLOS and the Official Children are attractive and intelligent and socially-adept people. They even expressed concern that their route would take them through Greensburg (the Kansas town destroyed by the tornado a couple of weeks ago) and didn't want to be perceived as gawking at the misery of others.

Clearly, these aren't the sort of people who for entertainment hang up bug zappers and watch it while drinking Keystones and call it good. You can't even make fun of them properly, not even once. Ergo, they are close to being un-blog-worthy.

But, we soldier on.

We talked about our respective lives and work, the difficulties of raising busy young adolescents. At one point I encouraged the Official Daughter to take up blogging (for the uninitiated, here is a sample of her wit as reported by her father). However, her parents, wanting a better life for their children than they themselves have had, quickly discouraged her from doing so. But they did so lovingly, with no threats, and with no hurling of invective in my direction (read: they still paid for my lunch).

Ah-ha! One weird thing! The Official Children chewed their cheeseburgers with their mouths closed AND let their parents converse with me--wait: That's TWO weird things. That would seem to stretch the bounds of normality, wouldn't it?

Oh--and another weird thing: we didn't gossip or speculate about other bloggers!

And that's it, really. It was a most-pleasant hour or so during which no one that I could tell embarrassed him- or herself.



R. Sherman said...

I'm only now back.

Of course, you didn't mention the electric "good behavior" probes we use.

Thank you.

Oh, and the EMBLOS and I spent a good two hours after the fact, discussing your dissertation: me trying to explain it and the EMBLOS helping me along. I knew it was a good discussion when, in the midst of talking about Toni Morrison's Song of SolomonM, the Official Younger Son asked, "Is there anything on the radio?"

More later.


Ariel said...

Heh he he.

I, on the other hand, have little difficulty in finding things to rib Randall about.

I like the quietly snide way you mentioned "Wichita" and "Jayhawks" in the same breath at the beginning of this post.