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2008-12-01 - 12:54 p.m.

So I did a long drive by myself on Friday and yesterday did it in reverse, and as a result I've been thinking about some things:

1. The likelihood of remembering with whom you saw a movie, in the theater. The likelihood is high (Scream 2 = JY, from home, while The Life Aquatic = SS, and so on). I think that the intersections of things and people or the intersections of things and memories are big ones for me and that I shouldn't fight them though at one point I was worried they were becoming an obsession. Sometimes we are bundles of small obsessions and sometimes they make us glow like Christmas lights seen through the branches.

2. I had lunch with an old coworker a week and a half ago, and her name is Jenny. Which got me thinking about all the Jennys I've known, which got me thinking I'd write something here. So I started writing it but I had to go home before it was done. And now it's eight days later and I'm still working on it and so I'm trying to make it good and I suspect it's got a foot in full-on Essay territory.

3. But, really, what is it about that name, Jenny? Are any of you, out there, a Jenny? I bet you know some. Does Elvis Costello sing about any Jennys? Not that I know of. But Nick Hornby, I bet he's a Jenny guy. Tom Petty? No. But maybe Roy Orbison.

4. Went home for a few days. Cold and rainy. The hills, up there, this time of year, are all light-hued darks: browns, grays, the trunks ashen. The leaves are all down and so you can see straight through to the hillsides underneath. Those hills, those slight and soft and unimproveable hills, remind me of close-cut scalps, this time of year. The flesh that is otherwise covered, now open to the air, unveiled, raw and tender. The little towns up there, in Maryland but also all over western Pennsylvania and into Ohio and then down through West Virginia and into Virginia and farther than that, as far as I can tell, have been scratched into these hills, scratched out from between them, producing a two-lane highway, slick and narrow when it rains, low-rent convenience stores selling Grandma Utz potato chips and cigarettes and Skoal and hot, bad coffee, the hills producing low and mostly straight chimneys beside half-straight single-story wood-siding houses, the chimneys spitting out streams of white smoke, the smoke lazing up and then catching a little soft November breeze, drifting into the neighbors' bare dogwoods, their early front-yard Rudolphs, lights not yet turned on but ready.

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