“…of all states and religions, come together to…”
Everything has been all stirred up this week around here due to a certain visiting Prime Minister. I have lost count of the number of times the subject has come up in conversation during the past few days. The local association, in particular, has been enthusiastically speaking about how patriots across all states and religions, at various stages in their life, who have come to make a living here, are going to present an united front at the reception. I wonder what the Prime Minister has to say. I can understand the excitement of the diaspora, the tugging of bonds to their country etc. I still am not sure what exactly they expect to hear. There must be something in particular. All this enthusiasm cannot be merely for the sake of seeing the man or posing for photographs with him, though I hear that his sartorial splendour is something to behold.
I spend the day at home, reading Cryptonomicon, eating apples, and drinking copious quantities of hot chocolate. I have finally found the recipe for the best hot chocolate. I buy 100% cocoa discs from Whole Foods, grind them into powder, and then make the drink. It is so tasty with none of the sweetness of the hot chocolate powders have. It takes effort to stay off the internet, but it has been a worthwhile quest nonetheless. Life has been highly stressful due to work recently and any time away from hearing about everything else is a pleasure short and treasured.
I visited a neighboring holiday-town last week with a friend. She is an art-enthusiast, so we went to many galleries together and she explained to me the nuances that were lost on me. She took me to a steampunk art gallery and I spent a long time dawdling there, swooning over the pieces. Eventually, she got into a heated discussion with a curator and I wandered out into the sunshine and aimlessly walked by the shops. Then it happened.
A mannequin, in a full-length gown of black, shifted slightly. Oh, I had fallen for that classic trick of a lady in the window. I grinned at her and walked closer. She smiled back and waved, before going back to her mannequining. I walked in and waited patiently until she got down from the display window and joined me.
“All these clothes are overpriced and mostly useless for daily wear,” she told me, reaching across for a napkin to gently dab at the droplets of sweat on her made-up cheek.
“I didn’t come in to look at the clothes,” I told her honestly.
She was as beautiful as I imagine Shakespeare’s Portia had been. She gave me tea but I didn’t enjoy it since it was a very hot day and hot liquids weren’t on my list of desired drinks.
My friend eventually came and extricated me from the shop. She called me shameless and dragged me off for ice-cream. Later, she said something about needing to keep an eye on me so that I wouldn’t go wandering after beautiful women. For a moment, it was a harkback to Baudelaire and Duval, except that I am mostly harmless and only like to look at pretty things.
“Did you get her number? Did you add her on FB? What did you do?”
I opened my blog for her on her mobile. Aesthetics for aesthetics, and all that. My friend groans and I quickly change the subject to her art-inquisitions.
Rarely, there comes along a writing assignment that is pure pleasure to work on. This year, my annual Make-A-Wish has been a surprising, fun adventure. It is set in the 60s and in the 90s, two generations, and it has been a joyride from the start to now. I have done Make-A-Wish every year since 2008, but I think this one has been the most enjoyable one. I have had fun writing in snippets of the political scene during the time, because it is relevant to the plot, and because it is not every day I get to write something like this on request or for pay. The central chapter is titled ‘Come Together’, an ode to Beatles’s Abbey Road. I just finished writing it in the wee hours of the morning.
In general, it has been a productive writing period. I won’t go into greater detail since I don’t want to jinx the muse.
“Why did you go into this field? Did you know then that it was going to take off?”
When I think of eating two meals, carefully budgeted from seven-eleven, in the summer of 2012, before I was finally given shelter by a kind couple, I feel like crying again. Most of my life has been so cocked-up by bad decisions of self and others, terrible environments etc that I didn’t think anything was ever going to improve from the baseline permanently. Mostly, one keeps going on because there is hardly a choice there. If you have to meet your needs, you had best do something you can do, instead of something you don’t have a chance in hell of making work. At least, that was half the idea. Or all of it.
Sometimes, though, everything coalesces, without effort, and watching it all come together is not painless, because it is not the joy of the now, but also the pain of the yesterdays. The waiting is difficult and a constant thrum of anxiety until the day things change, but there is a lesson even in waiting, now that I am old enough to see it. It is incredibly hard to explain, and near impossible to do so without sounding like a pretentious piece of work, so I will just stop trying to.
While I am waiting, I will write pulp-fiction and make my own soap, because I can. I will have made a wish come true too, again, and there is something to be said about constancy in life.
“Why are you giving me six bars of soap?”
“Well, I made soap. When it comes together, it does so in bulk.”
“I don’t even want to know,” Sibelius mutters, grabbing the bars and striding into his apartment, saying something about not having signed up for any of this.
Then he comes back and drags me in, saying that he has been making waffles and I had best make myself useful by eating a few. It is a late breakfast of waffles and iced-tea (sweetened), and I am reminded of where we first met. He brings out his guitar and asks me what I’d like. I ask for Come Together. I sing along, and I can only remember the first few lyrics and the chorus, and it is ridiculous but life is remarkable for its ridiculous, rare moments of shared joy. He laughs and segues sharply into Here Comes the Sun.
I take that means I have been forgiven for the soap.