The great part was that the next thing after the speech I was whisked to the Santa Barbara airport and flown by private Lear 60 jet to Orlando. Let me tell you that there is nothing better on this earth than flying, all by yourself, on a private jet. No lines. No security. No crowds. No waiting. Just pull up in your car, get into the jet, and bam, you’re on your way. I had the plane catered with fried chicken, and I ate some, and went to sleep. No noisy fellow passengers, no lines at the bathroom, no delays on landing. Just land, and a limo is waiting and takes you away. It is the way I always wanted to live.
I often remember a book by Norman Podhoretz. He talked about how long it takes to adjust to being rich (although he had a very humble idea of what rich was — student at a high end English university). He said it takes about thirty seconds. I think it takes one ride in a private jet. And this is my third ride this year, so I am rockin’ and rollin’.
Anyway, today, I am not on a private jet. I am with my wife on a Boeing 757, a miserable, narrow body, very long, ugly plane, and heading off to Washington, D.C. again. I love going to D.C., mostly because I still think of it as my home town. Plus, I still own my apartment at the Watergate that my parents left to me and my sister (I bought her out of it). In my mind, my parents are still there, puttering around and watching Murder, She Wrote and the Redskins and my mother is offering me grapes. So, when I go there, it’s like I am seeing my parents again. I did not throw out my parents’ clothes, and they still have my mother’s scent and my father’s aftershave on them, so it’s all very nice.
The flight was fine, although the food was literally disgusting. I brought cashews, as always, to tide me over, and they worked fine. But here comes the funny part, the part that is eternal Washington.
Our driver was a large black man named Mr. Mack. I have often had him as a driver and he’s always great. He was a news reader for years on an early black R&B station that Carl Bernstein and I used to listen to long ago. It was called WOOK, or as they called it, “the Wookin’ man’s station.” Now he’s a happy driver for a limo company. He was waiting in baggage with a sign, and as soon as I saw him, he asked me about Arnold’s ballot measures for California. In great detail. Then, in the car going along the magnificent night-time route into D.C., along the Dulles access road and then along the Beltway and then along the George Washington Parkway, he grilled me about outsourcing, the balance of trade, tariff policy towards South America, chaos in Haiti, and Bush’s military record. Oh, also about gun control and legalizing drugs.
He was a straight-up-and-down liberal. That was fine. But the great part is that in Washington, even the limo drivers are policy wonks. We got to my apartment, paid him off, thanked him for his aggressive nagging of me, and then entered my apartment. Alas, it had been worked on (the “condensate pipes,” whatever they are) and the workers had left a huge mess. It took me a while to straighten up, and then we grabbed a cab to the Vietnam Georgetown Restaurant. The cab driver, a Senegalese, was listening to NPR, where some poor woman from Time was being interviewed from Port-au-Prince. In Washington, the cab drivers listen to NPR. After dinner, we took another cab back. The driver, a Jordanian, was listening to “NP,” that awful show from Canada where everyone tries to prove he’s more holy than the next. Don’t get me wrong. I love Canada, but that show is a bit off-putting. The driver asked us how we thought U.S.-Jordanian relations were. “Great,” I said. “Just great.”
In Washington, taxi drivers want to discuss Near Eastern affairs. It is great.
MY REFRIGERATOR AT THE WATERGATE has everything good in this earth. Fudge from Julia Long. Orange juice. Eggs. Bacon. Sausage. Arnold bread, the best bread on earth, English muffins. It is all perfect. I sat in my father’s chair and answered e-mails while I looked at the lights of Virginia.
Then I rummaged in my father’s desk drawers. I came across a fragment of my mother’s diary from 1981 when she and my Pop were on one of their endless trips to Europe. She was talking about how worried she was that my Weimaraner, Mary, was sick with cancer. How Mom loved that dog. She often told me that the happiest days of her whole life were when I left Mary with them for two weeks in 1976 when I went to L.A. to look for an apartment that would take a dog. She used to just sit on the couch with Mary, talking to her for hours and looking into her beautiful blue-gray eyes. But why didn’t they get a dog of their own?
Probably the biggest mistake anyone can make in this country is to fail to have a dog. And a cat. And then a second dog.
If I ever run for President, which I will not, my main plank will be Right to Life, but second will be legal rights for companion animals.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?