a really great night

Last night was certainly one of the nicest evenings of my life.

It wasn’t a holiday — but it felt like one.

Sarah came home from Alaska.  Sarah’s boyfriend/partner, Matt, was also here.  Aaron came home from Boone.

Back up.

Yesterday morning, I put on my glasses (bifocals, of course) and noticed that the 4 year old, well scratched, left lens was missing. They were make-do frames anyway, so the lenses popped out a lot.  After spending the first hour of my day crawling around on my hands and knees looking for it, I started calling around — with one eye opened and one eye shut.

Here in Salisbury, I was looking at 7 to 10 business days for a new pair of glasses.

So I drove half blind to Charlotte and got a new pair of unscratched, awesome glasses.  I was a little worried about the doctor’s hyperactivity.  She only took about a minute finding my prescription.  But she was right on the money.  I can see!  Alas, those babies were expensive, and it left us sort of temporarily strapped.

And this with our whole family gathering for the first time in a year.

My wonderful children told me to stop worrying.  They went to the grocery store and returned with lots of nice stuff.

While I visited my Mom and my wife worked at her computer, the kids (who are well into adulthood) fixed dinner.  We had salad, incredible borscht, wine, awesome bread.

Then they took me downtown and bought me beer.

While we were at Brick Street Tavern, my oldest and bestest friend, Robert Jones, was spotted walking down the sidewalk on Fisher Street.  I banged on the window and he came in.  He’s like an uncle to my children, so that was a great reunion.

Later, we went to The Salty Caper and had more beer.  They talked to me.  And listened to me.  A lot.

It was really a great night.

Lost my hat. Broke my glasses. Who cares?

I’ve been watching CNN a good bit since the earthquake in Haiti.

It’s been fascinating to watch the coverage evolve.  At first, there weren’t even pictures.  Anderson Cooper arrived on day 2, and now more and more reporters seem to be filing reports each day.

The despair, and loss of life, the destruction, is beyond words.  As depressing as it is, we need these pictures — even though they offer only glimpse of the tragedy.

It puts cable news in perspective.

CNN has hardly cut away from Haiti since it happened.  Fox News reports it, but they have little coverage on the ground.  And, they report it along with other news stories — mostly political controversies that are basically news events being fabricated on the fly.

I have little respect for Fox News, not only because of their bias, but also because the emphasis they put on certain stories distorts the importance of those stories (or, non-stories).

CNN does the same thing.  They sometimes have online polls with weird questions and then report the entirely predictable results as news.

But Fox is the biggest distorter, and it’s most evident when there’s a catastrophe in another part of the world and they don’t send a team of reporters.  It makes it obvious that most of the drama they report 24/7 is being drummed up there in the studio.

It puts news in perspective — and it also puts my petty worries in perspective.

While the people of Haiti have lost everything, I’ve lost a few things myself.

Last Thursday, I lost my Tyrollean hat.  It came from Austria and has been my companion for 25 years.

I delivered Coffee News all day Thursday.  It was cold, but at one point my head got a little warm and I put the hat on the dashboard.  After a while, it was in the way and I threw it on the back seat.

That’s the last time I remember touching my hat.

When you’ve had — and worn — a hat that long, it’s a little like losing a pet.  The best thing to do when you lose a dog is to get a puppy, so I’ve ordered a new hat.  It’s a knock-off, made in America.  It’s not easy — and fairly expensive — to get them from Austria.  It should arrive next week and I hope it’s the same as the one I lost.

The other loss — possibly — is my glasses.

While wearing the 3-D glasses in order to watch Avatar, I took them off and placed them on my coat.

After the movie, I stood up and put on my coat.  My glasses landed on the floor.  I was apparently mesmerized by the movie credits and didn’t notice this.  Apparently, the movie was so powerful that I even forgot I wore real glasses — though they are bifocals and I need them all the time for everything.

So when I heard a crunch under my foot, I remembered my glasses.

I know there’s plenty of bad news in the world — all the time — and while it feels good to donate time and money to help alleviate suffering, it’s not a good idea, psychologically, to focus on human tragedy too much.

But it does put my own losses in perspective.  A hat?  A pair of glasses?  Who cares?

red cross