Monday, June 13, 2005

Spit spat

B and I have had our first ugly little spat. Things had been running oh so smoothly and then yesterday I suggested an evening run to Borders. Once there, I did indeed intend to leave him to his own devices. At Borders, I like to be unencumbered. B took offense. Something about liking to be by my side – chained is the way I viewed it. Well okay, but I’m not a chainer. I trust that at the end of our separate time, B will be there and I will be there for him and we’ll do our thing and the world will be a cool place.

I was miffed and so I went alone. I was even more miffed because my summer-of-no-car resolve meant that I had to hike to Borders and back, thereby wasting valuable time. When I’m with B, I never consider that time wasted. I am energized. Time flies. My soul is nourished.

This morning I was still slightly put off by the entire episode and so I gave B the cold shoulder. I not only went walking alone at dawn (sacrificing that tickle on the tattoo), but then I ran an errand by car and ignored B’s reproachful positioning of himself, almost as if to block my way out. “How could you be doing this…” B seemed to be saying. Suddenly, in that moment, B looked sad and old to me. I left, but I felt that I was being too unforgiving.

By afternoon I’d melted. I needed an espresso, B was around and so off we went together again. Things are better and there weren’t any significant bumps along the way, but you know how it is: once you have had that first spat, you’re wondering how long until the next one.

Where I am still preoccupied with a yukky phone conversation from yesterday

I read this wonderful book called 2016. Did you read it?

You should. The author takes you through the next presidential elections – shows how the death of Castro just before November would unseat the Republicans, because of Florida you know… and then all the way to the 2016 elections.

No, it’s not fiction, it’s for real.
Anything that describes what happened in the year 2016 cannot be described as "for real."

You don’t understand, it is for real. A third party will unseat both the Republicans and Democrats you know. That’s after the Republicans carry it away once Osama is surprisingly captured.
(tempted to say “whatever” but instead, offer up the following:) Ah.

But am I being unfair? Let me see: could I write a post that would describe my life in the year 2016 and not call it fiction? Here’s a stab at it: from Ocean’s author in the year 2016:

People tell me that the sixties are the quiet before the storm. I believe they are talking about the sixties age-wise, not calendar-wise. My sixty-three is definitely quieter than the year 1963 was for the country as a whole. The turning point for me, I know will be 64. It will feel weird to pass the age of the song “When I’m sixty four.” The need me, feed me bit sounded then rather poignant. Now, of course, I’ve learned that being needed and being fed are sort of opposites. What you want to aspire to is feeling needed and not needing someone to spoon food into your mouth. It’s worked for me. And I do predict that next year, when I turn 64, I will get both birthday greetings and a bottle of wine, so that’s good.

Someone said to me that they like the place I’m living in this year. I think people say things like that when they first enter an uncluttered house. Clutter is never visually appealing, especially someone else’s clutter. I remember being stunned when I last visited my old family apartment in Warsaw – mountains of clutter, piled high, to the ceiling, all significant to the resident therein but terrifying to the visitor who is standing there worrying that one little move will disturb the balance and it will all come crashing down on everyone in sight. No one likes thinking that any second they may be gasping for a last breath from under volumes of political essays and postcards received and read more than 70 years ago.

Some people think that my clutterlessness is born in part out of my moving so much. But I have moved only eighteen times in my life, which means that on the average, I move every 3 years, but that is so totally misleading because by far the vast majority of my moves took place before I turned 32, meaning in the first half of my life.

The irony is that during the time of all those moves, I experienced the greatest amount of personal stability. Not that I am spinning in some incoherent direction right now. Becoming a grandparent has given me a schedule for one thing. And I stick to it. Little toddlers and big daughters expect that of you. But I think I have to admit that something happened after fifty that blew up the notion of predictability. I would not have predicted ten years ago where I’d be living now, for instance. Nor what I would be doing. It shocked everyone. Most of all, it shocked me.

There – it’s fiction, isn’t it? Isn’t it?