Photo by Acabashi
I got home from my four miles to/from the public library and, lo and behold, after writing about everyone else’s roses still in bloom, I found a drooping flower on the climber on the south side of the house, one of the sunset-colored and mightily fragrant roses that smell of rain or cinnamon or cut flowers or maybe even grass. A good day. The silly novel project goals met. Rosetta Stone Italian studied for at least an hour. A long walk, a bike ride to score homemade chocolate chip cookies and a brownie, a nap, magazine reading in front of the gas fire including the Movies Rock supplement to Vanity Fair, Neil Young’s Ordinary People now after the soundtrack to Once (I love so much of that!) after hours of KBPS classical and the CD of Paul Potts arias.
Did I mention I also washed a load of clothes, got the trash to the curb, let cats in and out at least a dozen times, emptied and reloaded the dishwasher, shopped on the Internet, answered e-mail, cruised a couple of art blogs, opened mail, read a movie review in the new New Yorker, talked to one of my sisters and the son of a friend and J. in DC, read two essays about poetry and poetics in a collection put out by Field at Oberlin College, had a pizza delivered and ate two pieces, the rest will be leftovers for a few days, sorted and moved and recycled, finished the latest Adbusters with the article about Richistan, and that the solution isn’t to bring the poor up but to get the rich to go way, way down.
And throughout this day, I felt a bit isolated and inadequate, like I’m not reaching out, not connecting to my people, my tribe, my community, whoever they might be. But can’t it be enough to give a roll of nickels as part of a tip to the pizza girl, and an extra quarter to the now-pregnant waitress (maybe owner?) at Cup & Saucer over at 30th and Killingsworth? To compliment the hard word of Eric and his landscape crew to the next-door neighbor? To smile and say hello to every person I walked or biked by today, the ones who crossed my path, the ones who, for the briefest of instants, inhabited the same world as my own?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I tell myself. All this is possible because someone else does the dirty work of earning a living that pays the bills for me. But, but, but, haven’t we also made our choices, simplified our reality, so that time on my hands is desirable and possible? To pay attention. Be attentive. Present. Slowed down instead of multi-tasking. Listening instead of talking. Opening a sliding glass door to let cats out and back in again. Making progress on the stack of books and magazines on the coffee table in the living room. Mostly unplugged, unmediated, uninterrupted with huge swathes of quiet. That seems like Richistan to me.