The marine layer was back, and made for a moody start to our Sunday. I climbed the gravel road to the lake past the caterpillars and birdsong, a rustling in the grass and leaves. We all had to go back to the lice treatment center on Mercer Island but felt morally superior hurrying out past the others with plastic bags on their heads, knowing we had the all-clear. It’s like that feeling of buying porn or hard drugs in a public space, pressed in with others doing the same and not wanting to make eye contact, feeling debased. Lily saw a girl she knew from dance class and me, a woman I used to work with at Starbucks I had a crush on once, tried to date. She was with her kid, and older now: I quickly turned and went on my phone, but it was so small in there she had to notice.
We rode home with our hair slicked back, like Leonardo DiCaprio or a young Draco Malfoy. And then we went our separate ways: the kids to their bedrooms, Dawn and I to the back yard with our blanket, trying to relax. We just had time to kill before going out to the restaurant later, for dinner. I wanted to get there early enough we’d be sure to get a table and wouldn’t have to wait. In just an hour we went, ate, returned home—and then Dawn and I went outside again as the sun dipped down and it started to cool, and the mosquitoes came out. We undid the sofa pillows from the garbage bags (you have to bag everything for 24 hours so the lice will die), but Dawn tied the bags so tight we had to use scissors to get them open.
The film was thin plot-wise, but the special effects and acting carried it along. You could draw the story-line out in about 10 frames: it had 15 minutes of story at best with the rest, all fat. The first Avengers film (2012): Thor’s brother Loki uses a Tesseract to create a portal to Asgard and start a war, making Earth his new kingdom, starting with New York.
You could draw the story-line out horizontally, and then fill in each “pane” vertically. That was a technique I’d learned for speech-writing, storytelling, or messaging frameworks: establish a logic to help create structure.
And yet there was something so tempting about abandoning structure altogether because it felt more real, even though we needed structure to make sense of things, to understand. Life still has a beginning, middle and end, and stories are like waves that carry us up and down, giving us the sense we’ve been transported.
The ocean has no structure but the raft must, to get across.