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2006-11-30 - 2:50 p.m.

So here's how The New Yorker drives me crazy and makes me want to drink Busch Light.

I had tacos for lunch today. They were good. I sat in the place and read a story in The New Yorker about a guy who wrote a book called "The 48 Laws of Power" or something like that. It was fine. Rappers are big fans of this guy's kind of back-handed maneuvering. And then I turned the page and saw a black-and-white photo of a young girl. Here's the lede to this article about this French poet: "If you mention the name Minou Drouet to your French friends in Paris...." And I stopped there.

My older brother's a flake. Every holiday, for Thanksgiving and Christmas, since he doesn't have a car and since I do, it's assumed that I'll give him a ride to the mountains. And I do, of course, because he's my brother and my friend and because I love him and all that. Last weekend, we left there Saturday night. I dropped him off in a restaurant parking lot. He said friends were going to pick him up. Sunday night, 24 hours after dropping him off, his girlfriend text messages and calls and emails, asking, do I know where he is? My girlfriend said to call her back but I held off, mainly out of loyalty to my brother. He's done this before, saying if she calls, don't answer. So he's sort of disappeared. He's 34 years old. Next day, Monday, she's sent more text messages before I wake up. She's called my parents' house, asking when we left. My mom says Saturday, and then I get an email from my mom, saying, what's wrong with your brother? He showed up Monday, apparently, and he told me he hasn't done drugs in a year and I believe him, but what's the deal here? I've been having lots of dreams lately where I'm just angry with him. In one, I told him to "suck it the fuck up." He's depressed, I know: low-grade. But who isn't?

I think, in general, I'm trending (?) away from optimism. Is this natural? Should I be worried? It doesn't feel like something I should be worried about, in the same way that I'd be worried about my car, for example, making metal-on-metal whanging noises when I made left-hand turns. It's not like that. It's pretty matter-of-fact. Examples: I can stand fewer people. I get annoyed more often. I feel more put-upon than I used to. Is this just growing up? Have I run out of sunshine? Is there no more tanned-throat shouting at the branches because the branches are branching? I don't know. But every good novel I've read has got both: jumping and crying. I am, however, looking forward to where it's taking me, this new way of mine. Maybe that's what happened to my optimism. Maybe it threw out its old jeans.

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