Monday, March 14, 2011

Day in, day out

I have been struggling to write a post. This is rare.

It is not for a lack of material. There are stories from South Africa, stored as photographs on my aging laptop:  the river at Stanford, lunches in Cape Town, walks in the mountains. There are meals here in Brooklyn waiting to be explained, to be turned into recipes. But every time I start in on some pictures the impetus evaporates and it all loses meaning. It is a difficult time for the world, and the expressions that make sense in our individual lives lose credibility. So I will retreat to an easy place: cooking dinner, where the chopping and sauteing and sniffing of smoke and then steam from the pan, the sound first of sizzling, then of bubbling, the slender stem of the flute of prosecco in my left hand, the wooden spoon stirring in my right, dark outside where last night I fixed the light on the terrace, the one that's been blown for at least a year, where the seeds sit the cold in their domes  - these things from the outside pull me away for a while from the inside...

As I wrote those last three words last night, my laptop's screen flickered once, twice, then died. Black.  

I write this on Vince's desktop. A new top-of-the-line Mac would be nice, but that isn't going to happen. My Toshiba, which was top-of-the-line SEVEN years ago, lasted longer than most laptops.  It was a good friend. I would like to bury it somewhere with a rose at its head. Like the lady who walked into the Chelsea Garden Centre years ago and asked for a big pot so she could bury her best friend, a pet ferret. I discouraged her, gently. Best to remember how he was, I said. Where is your ferret  now? I asked. In the freezer, she said tearfully.

Last night I put myself in the freezer and read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air in its entirety, save for their descent from Camp Three. Coming hot on the heels of Alexandra Fuller's brilliant Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, and another book which showed me how not to write,  I have traveled far in three days.

And now we must travel to Best Buy, that oasis of electronics. I need a camera, too. Maybe we should auction the Cat.

Make me an offer.
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