It was going so well, too.
You work hard to make all the right choices and everything is looking pretty good. Then something happens that puts the whole enterprise in doubt. It’s enough to make you scream.
There was the impressive attention to details: The dark blue camo workout shorts from Lululemon. Stylish. Good brand. The black hightop Nikes totally worked. Discovering Levis 511’s was a major moment, too. And those outstanding chukkas from Thursday Boot Company—found on Facebook, no less. My oldish SUV is a bit of a lapse, but my wife’s got a sleek Lexus coupe, so I use that when it matters. Even the bead bracelets seemed like they were working— worn every now and then for that touch of Buddhist insouciance. I know they’ve been out there for a while, but rockers still wear them, so I’m in.
It was all hanging together reasonably well until the other day when I noticed the leaves had fallen off the Japanese maple in our front yard. There, hanging from one of its denuded branches was a freaking bird feeder. In the front yard. And that’s how the whole thing fell apart. There is nothing casually indifferent about a bird feeder. It asserts its presence like a raging zit on a teenager’s forehead. I’d forgotten it was there. Normally it’s hidden by the foliage; but there it was, a hopelessly tidy 18-inch cylinder of wood with holes drilled in it for suet. The woodpeckers dig it. All of humanity, however, recognizes it as undeniable proof that the owner of this house has thrown in the towel.
Now, I’m not saying I was ever very cool. In fact, my wife would argue that cool and I can’t inhabit the same paragraph. Still, people who know me confirm that I care at least to be, well, modish. I may not accept all my wife’s clothing recommendations, but I try to have some sense of personal style. I pay attention to popular culture. I know parts of some Kanye songs. Maybe none of that rises to the level of cool or hip or woke (still figuring that one out), but I felt like I was fighting the good fight, beating back the advance of time with the fierceness of Jon Snow hacking away at white walkers.
Stupid me. I left a flank unguarded.
I thought about taking that bird feeder down—or moving it to the back yard. But, as I said, the woodpeckers love it. And if you’re sitting on the couch in the living room, you get a good view when they’re pecking away at the suet, plus there’s already a thistle seed feeder in the back for the chickadees…