The Breakfast Table

Lasky and Lavin

Good morning, Maud!

I hope this sleepy interregnum between the holidays and the New Year finds you well. Do you share my impression that the country seems to be fidgeting in a kind of time out while the Senate figures out the best way to discipline that incorrigible child in the White House? Will Clinton be chastised severely or sold to the Gypsies? I guess the answer is obvious. But what if the Republicans get it in their minds to sell him to Iraq? Will the price of oil go down even more?

Predictably, the lead story in the Times today is about consumer spending. Explaining an expected rise in December sales in big chain stores, Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., described holiday shoppers more as an invading army of giant mutant insects than people out to pick up a few bargains: “Nothing will stop them–not impeachment, global turmoil, or warm weather.” How I would love to see those words on a poster for–what shall we call the movie? Bad Day at Baby Gap? Target of Evil ?

As for the weather, you may have heard that a Pew Research Center poll revealed that Americans found the weather more interesting than the Lewinsky affair. I suppose we are meant to envision people watching cold fronts drift across the maps on local news programs and fret about the banality of our preoccupations. But consider the frozen citrus in California. Whom does this affect? Farmers, grocers, manufacturers of pleasant-smelling household products, those who would prefer to avoid scurvy. Everyone. And we haven’t touched on the effects of recent hurricanes, floods, or droughts. What does Monica’s icky blue dress signify next to my dry skin, which is getting pretty flaky these winter months. Not much, frankly. Presidents come and go, but frostbite is forever.