Work, life, lonely days
In the parking lot, a bit early for my 9:30 shift. I’m still wondering how I’m going to juggle working full-time now with managing the press and doing the yard work and gardening I want to get done at Mom’s. Once my new position gets the green light, I know there will be even more responsibilities and stress at work, though I’m trying very hard not to allow stress into the picture. After 4 ½ years at the other store, it took only three months here to be moved up into the ops supervisor slot. Part of this is circumstantial and part is of course due to my having more experience now, but I can’t deny that the overall environment here has been much better, with more consistent management from B than I ever got from J.
Went to IHOP for dinner, though I wasn’t all that hungry, just to see if the manager who had been so very friendly in the store earlier today would show any further signs of friendliness. I’m sure nothing will come of it, but it was very nice to feel, even erroneously, that he might have been showing a friendly interest. I’m so very tired of feeling invisible. But when I came in tonight, a couple came in right behind me, and he came up to seat them, leaving another employee to seat me. So. Anyway. A pocket cub, stubbly, shaved head. Nice eyes, Signs of life at 55.
Missing R is something I try to compartmentalize, shove aside in the busyness of whatever moment, whatever project I’m focused upon. Until the feelings ambush me and I’m capsized, awash. But I wonder if this setting-aside reflex isn’t exactly the same compartment I tended to place him in while we were together? Especially the last few years? And what would keep me from doing this to someone else, should I be lucky enough to find someone new in my life?
Last night, via Netflix (on my phone), I watched a 90-minute film, I Do, with a gay protagonist who had to choose between family/green card and love (new love interest who had to go back to Spain to care for his ailing father). The actor who played Mano, the Spanish lover, is actually Cuban (I looked him up but have forgotten his name). His performance just cracked my heart open: so open, so matter-of-factly there, supportive, spontaneous, fun, yet grounded in what’s important (i.e., family above work). I want, I need, a Mano in my life.
B mentioned that we should cross paths when he left today and that he would mention a number; as it turns out, he’s unable to key me in as ops supervisor because Robin is still in the system and won’t return from leave until the 16th. Any chance of making it retroactive? I asked, and he said he wasn’t sure but that he’d make it up to me somehow. I suggested 27 virgins.
Went to Lebanon with Mom today: she wanted to check out the new Goodwill store up past Lebanon on 48. It was new, clean, organized, but not any larger than the one on Loveland (which I’ve been meaning to go back to). I did find one shirt.
I suggested we stop in Lebanon on the way back and check out Miller’s Antique Mall, where we didn’t have time to shop last month when we ate at the Golden Lamb. We spent an hour or so. I bought a beautiful small wrench, circa 1902, for $8; a good vintage pair of hedge trimmers for $16; and two books: a small Maeterlinck volume from 1905, Old Fashioned Flowers, for $5 and a slipcased illustrated edition, Seven Voyages of Sinbad, for $15.
In the mailbox when we got home was my order from Sibling Rivalry Press: Michael Klein’s books, The Talking Day and When I Was a Twin, along with a free issue of Assaracus 19. I wish I could afford to subscribe; I so believe in Bryan and Seth’s press (and I daydream that someday they’ll publish a book of mine).
We had lunch at LaRosa’s in Loveland and capped it off with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, divine cookies, warm and gooey on the inside and crisp on the outside, and we were both ready to nap before we got home. I helped Mom carry bags in, went straight to bed, and didn’t wake until after 8:00. S was in the living room talking with Mom but left almost immediately; I was so groggy I don’t know if we even said hello.
Of course it’s clear to me that my blood sugar is out of control. I haven’t been to the gym in months. Even though I often garden for hours on my days off, and I certainly work on my feet all day long five days a week, my diet has been influenced too much by what Mom eats (bread, cookies, cereal). I need more fresh fruit and vegetables. I don’t even want to look at my body in the mirror: today at Goodwill I found three shirts and tried them in the dressing room, looking but trying not to see my aged and sagging body. One of the shirts does fit.
Yesterday at work I bought a dozen plastic storage bins at $5 apiece; I’m thinking about getting more tomorrow because I really need to move my things out of the glass storage building (the old garage at the top of the hill) so Sandy can have that space for all her things. Also, Mom would like me to move my things to the back corner of the pole barn so she can use the cubbies up front and not have so far to walk.
S had brought over my mail; I found it on the kitchen table: Galway Kinnell’s Strong Is Your Hold in hardcover, with a CD included, from paperback swap. I remember checking this out of the library at Bucknell the semester I taught in Smith Hall. I remember going up the hall to buy a drink from the soda machine in the laundry room, and trying not to look at the boys in their lazy shorts.
Also in the mail: Leaf and Beak: Sonnets by Scott Wiggerman (Amazon, $15); Christopher Gilbert, Turning into Dwelling (recommended on Facebook) and, finally, On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks, who died last week, whose interview with Terri Gross was replayed on Fresh Air the following day, and when he talked about grief hallucinations my heart nearly stopped. The rational dissecting the ineffable. Knowledge versus belief. Science versus mystery. On which side do I stand? I heard Randy, heard him clearly calling to Sadie at the foot of the stair in our house that day. Of course I did. Or did I? To say no would be to negate all he believed in.
The People in the Trees
Finished the last 30 pages of The People in the Trees, and though I had thought Norton to be a terribly inept human being, I was surprised, in the postscript, to read that he had indeed raped Victor repeatedly. What a mess of a human being. What a delicate line to tread: what is the measure of a great person, a person who does something significant even to the point of advancing humanity in some way, if he turns out to be a kind of monster? He was not so much a parent as a self-styled demigod. Yet his longing was palpable and sympathetic. A complex book.
J and B are here, pressure-washing the front porch: Mom had said something this morning about his promise to do this the weekend before the picnic (next Saturday) and how it was just another thing he’d promised and that it looked like he was going to ignore. Not five minutes later, J phoned to say they were coming over to do it, and I got up to start carrying everything from the porch to the deck, but not before I heard Mom say Oh, I forgot about that. Talk about your complicated characters.
Cleaning off my desk, logging receipts. Sandra is supposed to come over to play Canasta but I don’t know when the porch job will be done. I want to nap but I’m trying not to.