Friday, February 17, 2012

The city of rain and fog and coffee

Yes, that IS a tiger costume.
In a few hours it will be daylight and I will go get on a plane and fly to Seattle. This is a trip for work; it's the big annual event that everyone stresses over and plans for and prepares for. I assess my level of stress right now: moderate. It feels less like stress and more like "I have forgotten what it is like to ever sit down." Which is true. It seems like I spent most of my twenties either hiking through the mountains,  trying to figure out how I could be hiking through the mountains, or lounging around. With a heavy emphasis on the latter. Now I'm not even sure how it's done. Wait, you mean I just sit here? Like this? On the couch or what--a chair? Does this look right? Shouldn't I be picking things up or making someone some food?

At the far end of the plane ride there will be rain, and (presumably) seafood, and a lonely hotel room for which I'm simultaneously longing and dreading, and coffee shops. Oh, and lots and lots of meetings. I meant to buy a new suit of clothes for the meeting, something that actually resembled a suit, but on Wednesday, which was the last-minute day I had set aside for the task, I couldn't face driving through the rush hour traffic to the mall. Or trying on suits, or looking at price tags. Especially that last one. So I will be wearing what I usually wear, with some extra snuggly warm things thrown in. I'm assuming I will be cold and damp the whole time, although I don't really mind cold and damp. I also kind of thought about buying some makeup, but--well, that's just too complicated. I haven't bought makeup for twenty years. So I will be my usual slightly faded self.

After careful consideration, I whittled down my bringalong books to five.

1. Pulphead, Jeremiah Sullivan. Essays. Just came in from the library.
2. Lives Other Than My Own, Emmanuel Carrere. Another library hold item that came in just in time to go.
3. The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes.
4. Heavenly Questions, Gjertrud Schanckenberg. Poems.
5. Masque of Africa, V.S. Naipaul. Just renewed this for a third time so I could bring it along and maybe actually get a toehold in it.

So: hipster essays, memoir of the 2004 tsunami, a novel about death, poems about becoming a widow. Naipaul's book is the only one that won't make me want to hole up in a bar and howl. Well, luckily it's the fattest.

I'm still on the fence about whether Lewis and Clark will come. I'm getting rather fond of them both, with Lewis's continual but competence-induced fretting ("a terible calamity , the last thermometer got broaken and that was the most uceful pece we owned I beggan to dispair") and Clark's untroubled report of events ("horse fell 32 feet doan the montan was hurt verry bad destroyed my desk. shot 3 deer 6 elk a white bear") and the deliciously awful spelling. However, I'm near the weight limit for my baggage and my copy of the book is very fragile.

Well, daylight is almost here and I have a quick run to fit in and a shower and a hairwash. I may try to bring the camera, although I fear I'll be cramping Helen's creative output if I do so.

1 comment:

Erin said...

I so relate to the realization that you don't know how to lounge around anymore. I feel like that's such a COMPLICATED thing to do. Like I put my feet WHERE? And I talk about WHAT? How long does this last?

The spelling in the Lewis & Clark journals is THE BEST PART. I cannot grow up enough to stop getting a kick out of the spelling.