Sunday, February 10, 2013

We are Still

...talking about the weather.

And it's fun, it is.  People on the streets of TO, and I'm on the streets of all of the cities affected by this storm, are still stopping in their tracks, whipping out cell phones, and snapping pics. The rest of us (glove'ed, mitten'ed, boot'ed, and COLD) trudge around them and try to stay out of their shot. We don't try that hard).

It's all over the Twitter-verse.  Some creative type in NYC made "snow books" instead of snow angels--the books are perfectly to scale and open to the middle page, splayed in the snow, looking like they belong on a lecturn somewhere.
Then he said, to anyone who would listen, that this was a dialogue on climate change and the impermanence of book. A moment of silence for the humble book. I do love it so. But there is paper in books, and trees needed to make paper, and we're in a bit of a conundrum on this revolving door planet.

In other news my apartment resembles a Best Buy outlet, where electronic equipment goes to die.
Two iPads (Mike's, mine the 2). Two iPhones (the 4something is Mike; mine is the 5).  A Macbook Pro, which I am typing on right now.  A Kindle, Mike's.  My ancient Dell laptop, needed for logging into work (something I unfortunately have to do today). And all of their cords and wires.
This "wireless" business is really quite the oxymoron. I mean it. My point is that it takes energy to run these power sources. Non-renewable at the moment. Is the book really to blame for all this? My silent collection points to a silent 'no'. All the used bookstores do to. Books are renewable, re-readable, share-able, and keep-able.

I managed to sleep past 9am this morning, and I'm feeling better from Round 2 of a knock-down, drag-out cold.  I didn't even attempt to make spinning. It just wasn't going to happen this morning.
Instead, I made coffee, a sandwich, wrote some catch-up emails to friends, cruised Twitter looking at snow pics, mostly from the northeast, towns on the map that are like little friends to me, I've driven through them many times now, and I've charted my progress on the maps in my car, places like Worcester, MA, Framingham, Springfield, Portsmouth, NH, and of course, my beloved Scarborough, ME.
I've started to unravel the clever state-shorthand of state initials.  So many M-states. So little time.

I stayed up late, because Mike is here, and that's what we do. I also napped yesterday, something that is foreign to me, but I did enjoy it. I took my niece to her art class at 9:30 that morning, after digging out the car haphazardly, and after getting her settled, I walked over to Queen for a much-needed Starbucks fix.  It was closed for renovations. Why? How? Where is the next available one in the area?

Oddly, I was so cold while walking I started walking aimlessly, the sun was out, but it was minus 7, and I was rapidly losing my wonder of "wow, look at all this pretty snow..." and thinking instead,      "I need coffee, I need it now. I need ....." 
I trudged along University. Walking anywhere in this mess of snow and slush is impossible, especially in flat, fleece-lined boots.  I had the memory of summer walks along this same route from 2010, visiting my dad at Princess Margaret (where they house a Starbucks, and I will tell you this--    I settled for Tim Horton's on University, I was unable to bring myself to walk the 2 short blocks further to the hospital, so unwilling was I to enter that building again).  I also (guiltily) delete all the PM email blasts about the house lotteries.  It was the last anniversary present we bought for my parents, tickets into the lottery, and it just felt like  a silly sham afterwards. I know it's not and I know it's all in the name of research and fund-raising. The rational part of me knows this, through and through. My heart whispers {they let your father die} even though they did nothing of the sort and everyone who worked there seemed like they belonged there. Compassionate, friendly, interested. But still. My heart, as that Lydia Davis poem says, needs to be told the same thing over and over.
This short story ends with me and a watery-weak-not-strong-Starbucks-but-coffee's-coffee, walking back to the art gallery, claiming one of the few comfortable chairs (near a draft so I kept my coat on) and reading for the remainder of the class while my niece and her fellow art students drew still-lifes--a vase of lilies, a collection of toys, pastels, charcoal, white paper.

Back to cancer-memories. I'm reading "Torch" by Cheryl Strayed, a fiction piece (I use the term fiction lightly, I can tell that this is her life she's writing).  It's a good book, full of beautiful turns-of-phrase, beguiling quotes that need to be read and re-read, slower this time, to understand their full impact, and it's an emotional read, as it always is when someone's parent is diagnosed with cancer.
I won't give away the whole plotline and spoil it here, but I will say; it distills regret, it opens up old wounds, it picks away at the dream of the perfect family. Families are flawed, hopelessly so, and that is part of the message--those flaws are what make a family so uniquely love-able, so dear. They can't be fixed, they can't be un-lived, they can't be made whole. The holes are the parts you remember the most, and can't live without. It's funny, isn't it? You can look back, and those Christmas mornings all disappear, but the birthday of your mother's, where the whole family had fought, and you accidentally dropped and broke a plate that had been a gift to your mother from her own mother, comes back to you in all its dreaded detail.  

I leave you with that to ponder on what will hopefully be an idle day, as Sunday really should be.

I'm going running.

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