Lord, I am heartily sorry.
I have been shamed. Not more than twenty minutes ago, I was clutching a book to my chest and having a cry because the book in question seemed so good and true. The shame part comes in because I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks publicly decrying the author as superior and unkind to her townsfolk and completely unable to string together a satisfying non-fiction narrative. And this after five years of being more silently contemptuous of her, in no small part because she was writing about Indiana during my era and she had the gall to have a nickname too close to one I had.
Also, I once went to a workshop she led and was annoyed beyond repair by the way people gushed over her when she was a mediocre teacher at best. So talented, so clever, so unique, they said. Bleh. I began to loathe her. I began to feel she had stolen away some title I deserved. The fact that I have not written a memoir of my Indiana girlhood for critics and readers to gush over did not alter my sense of injustice. The fact that I loved her fiction did not strike me as being a contradiction when I would curl my lip if someone dared mention the name Zippy to me.
So anyhow, I was fairly surprised when I slammed shut She Got Up Off the Couch and promptly burst into tears. All I can figure is Haven Kimmel got something right—some alchemy of description of a blizzardy Hoosier winter or growing up in the 70s or loving common items shrunk down to miniature size—that made my heart shift positions and not turn so bitterly against her.
I feel much better now that I have confessed that sin.
Other things that have been disturbing me today: I think Paris Hilton is robbing me of quality time with Z.
Since Z, I have a laundry list in my head of things to tick off until I see him again. In fact, when he was here last month, healing me of terminal hypochondria, I even happily ticked off his departure because I knew that meant I would see him all the sooner.
My shrink would say, “Why do you think you are this powerful—to speed up time?” and I’m not sure why except that my maternal grandmother soundly chastised me once for
wishing away my life, something I should never do, even if it was for a truly good thing, such as I wish summer vacation were here. (That one, I still contend, is not bad because life in the confines of the public school system was not worth living.) My grandmother’s belief that I had the power to fast-forward thru my life must have made an impression, because I do. I do honestly believe that when I see Z on Tuesday morning at the airport, it will be in no small part because I thought so long and hard on how to get through the minutes more quickly until I could see him again.
But then there is this: not only have I been wishing away my life, but it occurs to me, I’ve also been, with my desire for speedier clocks and quicker reunions, wishing away other people’s lives—Z’s, my mother’s, my aunt who dreads the passing of time because it removes her further from her recently departed husband, my other aunt who is now—with no thanks to me—down to about nine thousand heart ticks of her own—and so on and so forth. I’m pretty sure this makes me a selfish, bad person.
And the wages of such a sin is this: this flagrant speeding up of time that I have caused means that at the end of those paltry few days I’ll have in Seattle with Z, he flies off to Zimbabwe for…oh, I keep hoping there will be some papal dispensation that will make this untrue!…two months. No nightly phone calls; no reliable, multiple-times-a-day e-mails; no possibility of a mid-way weekend meeting place if the Travelocity deals are superior. Just me, my suitcase of abandonment issues and the void sprinkled with occasional emails when he has electrical power and occasional phone calls when I can manage to punch in the international codes correctly and the phones on his end are actually working, and daily news reports of how things in his homeland have slid so far past “pear-shaped” that they aren’t even in the fruit category anymore. That’s what I have to look forward to for not taking heed when Grandma told me to stop wishing.
No. I must require of myself and insist that others—including Paris Hilton who is no doubt in a hurry to get out of the L.A. County jail—QUIT WISHING THE DAYS AWAY. I believe if we are all united on this front time can be slowed to a crawl and Z will never leave my shores for his native ones. I’m not sure what the pay off will be for Paris or how she can be convinced to cooperate, but I’m working on it. Her money, power, and connections give her an unfair advantage in persuading the earth to rotate a bit faster, so I’m hoping she’ll see reason & find peace in her current unfortunate circumstances.