Thursday, October 23, 2008

Now and Later

I couldn't eat the perfectly heart-shaped tomato from the farmer's market. It was too pretty, and anyway it was a gift. So I lovingly arranged it among the cluster of pumpkins and fresh flowers currently serving as my dining table centerpiece. I knew it was going to rot, so eventually I moved it to the granite countertop in the kitchen where it would not destroy the tablecloth. Now it has officially rotted—but I haven't yet tossed it.

If there is a message here, it might be similar to the one contained in those email forwards, in which so and so was killed in a car accident, and when her daughter was going through her belongings afterward, the daughter discovered some of her mom's most beloved possessions—some kind of unburned candles or unused fancy soaps or something—that the mother never got to enjoy in her lifetime because she was too precious and was saving them for a special time, but never determined a time to be special or perfect enough as a consequence of always planning for the future and not living in the present, and so the daughter uses them in tribute or something.

The blue-eyed boy told me recently: "I have watched you sometimes waiting for a fabulous time to pass to that you can tenderly memorialize it, and then safely enjoy the memories." That was pretty astute; I do do that. I adore my memories, but I like to think that I am also wont to exclaim how wonderful a wonderful thing is while it is happening. Like college, for instance, and Coachella, and my Caribbean travels.

Really though, I don't like tomatoes except in other things.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rainy-Day Schedule

No, it's not exactly raining—this being Los Angeles and all—but today feels amiss.

In part that is because I am editing stories at a cafe on Sunset Boulevard, instead of in my office on Sunset Boulevard, because our Internet has had persistent problems for about a week, and I was teetering on the brink of sanity trying to work within our Web-based publishing tool there under those circumstances.

So I am editing stories in a big leather arm chair—fantasizing about that time within the next 10 minutes when I will buy a cup of chai tea—with my laptop in the place for which it was named. It is gray outside. It feels like Berkeley. This could be Cafe Strada or Milano, if there were more students and fewer models in the neighboring seats.

At Warner elementary school, when it rained, we could not go outside for recess, and instead played games inside at our desks as part of an alternate plan known as "Rainy-Day Schedule." The only game I can remember was called Heads-Up-Seven-Up, and had something to do with hiding our faces in our hands, heads down on desks, until something happened, but I can't remember what.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Lord's Day

I don't typically work out on Sunday; it's my day of rest.

But tonight I felt I should go to the gym, because I couldn't work out Thursday on account of work, and I couldn't work out yesterday on account of a V.I. birthday brunch, and I couldn't work out this morning on account of a pumpkin festival in Calabasas. So I tried to get into the gym this evening before it closed at 7, but I only succeeded in getting there at 6:40, which was only enough time to take a steam—which I decided was a delightfully deserved thing anyway, and a thing I never do during the week when the pace is not suitable for soothing oneself with steam, which would add 10 minutes one does not have onto one's routine.

But tonight there was time only for steam. And, beginning in the steam room, and then continuing into the locker room until long after closing time, I had what may truly be the most surreal conversation I have had ever at the gym, which is saying a lot. I want to retell it here, this conversation I had with the Thai trannie, but it was very unusual and would not stand up to translation in blog form, I'm sure of it. I just have never heard such strange words uttered. I just— I— Weird.

I will say that there is something to a slow-paced Sunday evening, and to devoting a time block to myself without any expectations of particular greatness or specific achievement. The driving without traffic, the parking in the prime ground-level spot without competition or the necessity to slither through the 12-inch gap left between mine and the next car (which not infrequently happens to be a Yukon parked in a compact space), the quiet, the steam, the not rushing back to work or to dinner or to the store or to quickly style my hair for this or that thing—it's nice.

No, this is not much of a story. But it had been forever since I'd blogged and apparently I needed to dip a toe back in before I say anything sensible.

Is anyone still out there? I'm sorry I left you. It's just that, these days, the best of my stories are not suitable for publication on the Internet.