Saturday, January 24, 2009


Thinking about the need to refinance my condo makes my brow furrow. It’s as if everything worth complaining about right now is, in one way or another, linked to that process of refinancing. I know, in the scheme of things, a mortgage is only a mortgage, but as I said – many strings of worry can be pulled from this one little pile and by the time you’d pull on most of them, you’d admit that I have myself a nice bundle.

It’s not as if I am made snarly or grumpy by this – not like this guy at the café, whose brow is even more furrowed, or the bull that’s positively fuming…

002 copy

…but I am more than slightly preoccupied with the idea that I should be more careful in the way I proceed in life.

I have, today, a diversion and it is getting myself and Ed to an Inaugural Ball (not official, not even in DC, but large and formal nonetheless). When I downsized a few years back, I gave away all that I could not imagine ever using again. However I envisioned my life, it was not with formalwear. What formalwear I had (one glittery sweater) found its way to Goodwill.

Still, I can fake formal by slipping into something black and short. Ed, however, presents a problem.

If you want to go, you must dress up, I tell him. So, do you want to go? Do you want me to go? You don’t have to go. But you’re going? Yes, I am. So do you want me to go?

We have had some version of this conversation on and off for the past several weeks. Today we finally reached the end: So are you going? Okay.

And now we are on round two: can you please wear your black turtleneck? (Ed does own a tie: he never took the price tag off of it: $3.99. I love beautiful ties. This is not one of them. ) The black turtleneck? The one without the ridges. Why not the one with ridges? Because that one has little rips and the color black has faded to a streaky gray. I’ll have to see if the other is clean. I’m near the bottom of my clean clothes so it may be unavailable. Let’s make it available. And no jeans please. Should I wear a jacket? (This is a leftover from a funeral.) Yes please. It has cat hairs. Get rid of the cat hairs. You sure I should go?

Living in Madison shifts your attention from concerns with how clothes look to concern with how warm they are. Spending time with Ed erases preoccupation with appearance even more. He tells me “you look wonderful” randomly. When he thinks he needs to score points.

But I miss thinking about style. I like looking up and thinking – wow, her shirt matches the painting. Nice.

003 copy

We leave the café. Down the road, we pass an empty train, standing, waiting, looking sort of magnificent against the blue snow of the late afternoon. You’re going to let that photo go? It’s too cold to get out. Really?

I get out and take the photo. An endless line of empty cars. Beautiful.

009 copy

It’s good to have diversions from concerns about refinancing.