“What do you think,” she said, “about the state of things, about shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings, about the price of tea in China?”

“Well,” I said, inhaling deep, “I think a lot of things, but not always before I speak. I think it's a lovely day, but that a hard rain's gonna fall.

“I think Biden's lost a step, but the president never even had one, and damn, those clouds look grim. Those kids better get inside.”

A siren wailed. “I think Corvettes are wasted on ancient men with more money than they need,” I said, “and that they make hungry young men sad, but I still want one. I love the purr of a big V-8, but I know it's the sound of suicide.

“I think I'll let the milkweed grow and hope the Monarchs come, but it's getting kinda late.

“I think Greenland's nice this time of year, that land's a sound investment. I think I have a 301k now, and I'm tired of winning.

“I think I saw Satan dancing with delight the day David Koch died, but they say we shouldn't speak ill of the dead, so I'll take back what I said about Charlie Manson, too. I think God is great, but absent. I pray for Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and I wonder what would Willie do?

“If anyone's going to build a wall, I think it should be Pink Floyd. I'm comfortably numb, but I don't think it's legal. I think I'm hungry for Oreos.

“I think health care is killing us, that I'm my brother's keeper, that lifespans shouldn't be measured in dollars. I think we ought to invest more in education, but smarter voters frighten powerful men.

“I think we have a legalized system of bribery, that Diogenes' lamp has flickered out. I think Kelly Armstrong ought to relax, that Cramer's doing the best he can with that lobotomy, and that John Hoeven should blink three times if this is a hostage situation.

“I think I'm conflicted about doing business with China, but I like the food, and I want to support the soy sauce industry. I do think General Tso is up to something. And I think if Patton had issued orders by tweet, we'd have lost the war.

“I've never met a member of a well-organized militia, but I think you can get Kevlar backpacks now, so that's progress, I guess. I think I'm proud to be an American.

“Sometimes I think all is lost in a hopeful sort of way. Sometimes I despair, and sometimes I wonder at the silence of the lambs and their flatscreen TV's. Sometimes I don't know what to feel.”

We stepped over a homeless man, and she dropped a dollar in his cup. Crocs were on sale in the window. I exhaled. “So, what do you think?” I asked, hoping for hope.

She smiled a wan, sad, silent smile and looked at the sky. “I think you're right,” she finally said, “I think it's gonna rain. But it'll be good for the daisies, and it will clear the air.”

Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.