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I don't know when I've laughed so much at a meal, without copious amounts of alcohol or playing Look-See. His personality is strong, very much one to be in the lead. I could ramble on, but what would be the point? There is no doubt that this is someone who would stand up to me. And yet be someone who would kiss my fingers, send me an Imbolc card.
Imbolc. Lupercalia. Candlemas. Groundhog Day. The first outwards signs indicating the renewal of life after the dead of winter. From dusk tonight, a day's celebration of fire and light. How appropriate.
It was a warm, sunny day for Imbolc here on the Island, literally and figuratively. That probably helped my honest attempts at removing various manifestations of negative energy, filling the void left behind lest negativity simply return, with thoughts of spiritual focus, purification, protection and wisdom echoed in thought and deed, hand and heart.
When you really connect with the power, there is no doubt about it. In those moments you can feel the air around you shimmer, see it vibrate with an energy you can reach out and touch. To share that with another would be a marvelous thing.
While everyone in the city tries to cope with the snarled aftermath of Verizon's eleven-digit dialing conversion, I am left in relative peace. For a moment I am caught by a thought that is familiar yet not entirely recognizable, like the glimpse of your reflection in a store window. As I trace the patterns that extend outward from the thought, some old, some new, it is clear that the internal landscape is more changed than I had previously understood or hoped.
I may yet be fragile, not completely recovered, but I am no longer broken. In more than one way.
On the train home, I gave up working to watch the sun seemingly set buildings afire with the warm rosy gold hues of latest afternoon, my favorite time, the gloaming. After a few lingering moments, the remaining sunlight cooled as sunset began, painting the few clouds with crimson streaks as we moved out of Jamaica. I returned to my work, but then looked up again as twilight began to settle across the sky. I had forgotten what a journey the evening ride home can be, it has been so very long since afternoon turned into night on the train home.
Unsettled. Nervous. Impatient. All day, for no apparent reason, on the inside I am a tiger caged. I cannot focus on the words in front of me, articulate the appropriate thoughts. I sit longer and longer, as I rail at myself for inattention. By the end of the workday I am sore and ache all over, my head most of all, as I realize the utter lack of productivity of my time. As I sit dejectedly, news comes that Crimson will be in town this time next month. From the nadir to the zenith seconds, I am breathless with delight.
Thursdays are supposed to be easier than Tuesdays. Even with a reprieve, several appointments cancelled I am not able to keep up. Looking at my typical schedule, a regular Day in The Life, I don't know how I did it, survived and even conquered, for months, for years on end. Part of me doubts I'll ever be able to survive that marathon on a daily basis again. Yes, I know in a few more months I should be feeling much more "myself" again, that's what the doctors tell me - but from this perspective, that is a rather frightening prospect.
The silence echoes back from all directions. I know I am still feeling bruised from yesterday so I try to not focus on the silence, to not interpret its meaning or intent, though without much success. The snow falling outside seems to add to the silence, the massive flakes insulating me from the outside world and its chaos, the unsettling reality of a heightened security alert. At least the quiet allows me to be relatively productive and I tie up several loose ends for the office. Now if I could just manage to do the same in my personal life.
In the middle of a domestic afternoon I pause as I realize this is a very comfortable day. Out early on errands, I glimpsed Peter David at the still empty bookstore, almost asked him if he'd be at I-CON this year, but gave him peace while I located the new William Gibson. The brain dead ditz behind the Information Desk had apparently never heard of Gibson, had no idea there was a new release, but I eventually walked out with Pattern Recognition and the latest Yes album in my hands. Good book, good music, good eats - who needs men?
Crossing Sunrise Highway on an overpass this morning I nearly ran off the road. Perched on a post supporting the fence next to the sidewalk of the overpass was a large hawk. Don't ask me what kind, I don't know these things like some in my family, but the distinctive size and shape of the bird, the proud head, was unmistakable. Unruffled by the cars speeding past him (her?) on the overpass, he was intently eyeing the highway below. Eagles have made homes in the eyries of NYC skyscrapers, but this evidence of urbanization of wildlife was nonetheless quite startling.
I reward myself with a lunch break of Pattern Recognition. Somehow the fact that Gibson's got it nailed, those fragmented, surreal moments of inner distance that return to haunt you, does not discomfort me, perhaps because the events of that recent fall, towers burning into collapse, unbelieveable as they are to us, naturally fit in the world of Neuromancer and Burning Chrome. The bleak future he initialized nearly 20 years ago, technology run amok and infiltrating the core infrastructure of daily life, has arrived. Does he yet know that those Gothic Wonderland moments have a half-life apparently equal to plutonium?
I have echoed the years of feedback in brutally honesty, not so much what I believe as the Truth, but what I know is their perception of it, their reality. I do not spare myself or seek to make myself look good, but lay the unflattering comments out like a corpse ready for dissection. And he is so pleased, "like a proud papa" he says. He now knows that I have understood what they have been talking about, that I grasp the greater significance. Whether or not I can actually do anything to change the perception remains the real question.
Gibson and Crimson, Burning Crimson Overdrive, what a day. I finish reading Pattern Recognition today, amazed and replete. I lock in tickets for both Crimson shows, an indulgent payback for missing so many opportunities last year.
Otherwise, I resolutely maintain my radio silence. Or its equivalent in this post-Neuromancer age, where everyone actually is connected and nodal points are no longer fantastical imaginings. The Wizard has gone to ground, perhaps hiding from the terror alert, seeking refuge in the western fields across the Hudson. Aiken is simply MIA, but that is his problem now. I have my limits. And pride.
The ceiling has huge chunks of peeling paint; the chairs are predictably instruments of torture packed impossibly tight together, a shiny metal box for lemmings; the crowd an expected blend of young and old technogeeks, the same sort to expect next month at the Crim shows. Standing in line for facetime with the last of my Gods, I'm not sure if I'm being chatted up by the guy next to me, Paul, that was the name on his yellow Post-It. Then the twinkling blue eyes are looking at me and my name in surprise. He says he likes the challenge.
Bizarre images linger in the surreal, detailed manner of dreams: laying down next to my beloved for one last bittersweet tryst. Knowing behind his dark beauty, he is evil. Then seasons spinning forward inside the white cottage as I run to block the door, to keep him out; it is kill or be killed. Overcoming him somehow, I triumph and shove his bloody body on the dining room table to finish the job, severing his head with a slotted metal kitchen spoon.
I do not understand why I believe this is connected to the situation with the Wizard.
The new Saturday routine is becoming quite comfortable. Leave sleeping in for Sundays, the early morning pool workout has me energized and I again complete the day's errands by noon. The long yawn of afternoon stretches before me and I realize there is time to take for myself, an hour or two of reading or knitting or whatever, while I'm awake and its daylight, with absolutely no guilt. Of course, that also means there's time for thinking, a dangerous proposition these days. Disappointed again, this time I do not hope for an explanation: Aiken has simply left the tourney field.
Early afternoon and the grocery store is packed with people pushing overstuffed carts, racing through the store, mindless of possibility of running into someone else or completely running them over. Not behaviour I've seen before in this upscale, civilized hamlet. Is it the threat of Armageddon raining down on them, be it via biochemical agents or crystalline water, that has them so wound up today? The Superbowl is long past and these are serious supplies people are laying in, not just the junk-food munchies of game day. Did we somehow go from orange to red alert and I missed it?
Snowbound. That Sunday in January 1996, when the city came to a complete halt by decree of Mother Nature, not the mayor. Mountain climbing at intersections, rappelling over the still white bergs that towered above my head to get to the subway on Monday. And St. Paddy's day weekend 1993, waking to discover the bedroom window had acquired a screen, of sorts. Trudging through the snow up Second Avenue to Fitzpatrick's, braving the ice and careening taxis in search of warmth in various forms. Today, my house was snowed shut until I was rescued by a neighbor with a snow-blower.
Monday afternoon brought neighbors with a shovel and snowblower to release me from my snowbound house and clearing a path to the driveway and the driveway to the road. Today I join in the cleanup, redefining my front steps and the narrow corridor to the driveway. Twenty minutes later Garrison is freed from his cold and white prison, although the barrier between the street and driveway is still standing. Leaving that for the afternoon's entertainment, I go inside to rest for a bit and minutes later discover more neighbors taking matters into their hands, demolishing the wall for me. Thanks.
In what is becoming the expected pattern, the day starts off well, but by 2:00 I am tired and sore before I even get on the train. I nap on the train home, something I've not done before. Things like this make me feel like I'm getting worse, not better. That somehow, despite vitamins, eating my veggies, getting a good night's sleep and the rest of it, my general health is slipping away. I know that is not the case, it is a question of balance; days spent without the commute are significantly better than those spent at city speeds.
I am again stunned by their complete lack of preparation, execution and follow-through. How are they still in business? And they are one of the handful of Big Names in the field?? It seems impossible that they could be this far into the project and still be so frelling clueless, bordering on incompetent. No, on second thought, some of this distinctly crosses the line into incompetence. Again it occurs to me that I know better what needs to be done, generally and specifically; forget their supposed vast experience. It is no longer reality; I've somehow slipped into a Dali painting.
I should not have been so surprised; the sweater I haven't worn in five years fit comfortably on Monday. But putting on the black jeans today, simply being able to put them on, was a wonderful surprise indeed. I had not thought that I would have lost so much weight in two months, even with the pool workouts. Seeing a difference in how clothes fit has made me realize that the benefits go well beyond just how much better I feel when I get out of the pool. Getting out of bed early tomorrow morning will be so much easier.
An impromptu invitation to dinner arrives after I've completed my own early dinner. I need the social contact after weeks of isolation, and so I head out, taking with me bread fresh from the oven. Given the source of the invitation, I should not have been surprised at some of the other guests that arrived, but nevertheless am; they obviously were invited after I agreed. Matchmaking seems to be in progress, although not desired by either party. It is nonetheless an entertaining evening, with good food and conversation, but the seating leaves my back aching when I leave hours later.
A bad beginning but the day is rescued in several small ways. I am able to pin together the sweater pieces and determine it will fit, better than I'd have guessed although knitting together the pieces will be difficult with this mohair yarn. Next, several hours spent wrestling with mod_rewrite for the first time and the incorrect instructions from the hosting company but I finally figure out the correct string for my purpose. Ta-da: not only do I not crash the production server (a distinct possibility if you get it really wrong), I get it right on the first try.
The pot is boiling now. Trying to take some of the heat off, I contact the doctor's office. Discussion of the particulars of my job, the schedule, commute and my physical reactions to days in the city yields the confirmation that expectations of me being in the office 9-5 every day are unrealistic at this time. In another three months, everything should be much better, but for now, the pain and extended sleeping are calling cards of having over done it.
My conclusion: time to find a new job, one that doesn't mandate being in the city all the time.
The basic white hearth bread gets raves. Kneading until the dough passed the windowpane test was obviously the right choice - the crumb and crust is much better than the last time I made this kind of bread. I share samples with Rob and Lainie, give a whole loaf to Alan, who has brought latte and an array of breakfast treats, enough for the whole team. I resolve to bring in small loaves, the baguettes of pain a l'ancienne on my next trip: now that is bread worthy of praise. Perhaps I can start the Moonlight Baking Company's customer base here.
Pain. Even today my body radiates it, the aftermath of staying too long, far too long at the office yesterday. But I am not the type to leave while a project is still underway, so I saw it to the end, the bitter end. And of course there is the aftermath of yesterday that comes back to me in negative repercussions. It doesn't matter how much improved my deportment and attitude is, it is simply never going to be enough for the corner office. I have been painted with a black stripe, that is all they will ever see now.
Ten years ago I watched the smoke billow out of the World Trade Center on TV in horror while I desperately tried to complete the key paper to my MA degree, laying out a new methodology for determining Dynasty XIII sculpture based on a relief from Elephantine. After handing in the paper I headed to Fitzpatrick's, deciding I'd earned a night out and it was the only place I could imagine going by myself, a dive but comfortable. And so began the bizarre odyssey with Donal, Declan and the other Irishman, with Timmy, Gene and Johnny as referees and coaches.
I consider his words, his voice. How would I react if I were to encounter someone who reminded me at every turn of Jay, even in looks? I believe I would still be attracted, deeply, almost helplessly. I, too, would be wary of the known pitfalls, not trusting that I have grown enough to handle them or myself. I have not asked him who it is but I wonder if it is his ex-wife. And what would I do if I encountered someone who reminded me of the Wizard in every way? Would I open my arms or watch guardedly?
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