Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mercury is retrograde, and I'm scraping paint. Specifically: I'm scraping the paint that I applied so zealously two weeks ago. Why am I scraping it all off? Because it's the wrong paint. It's latex paint instead of oil-based. I was really industrious getting it all on there--covered quite a bit of the kitchen. Now every inch of that work has to be undone.

It's humbling. I'm sure it's a good spiritual exercise. I can just imagine some senior monk giving it as an assignment to a novice monk in Nepal. "Here, paint this room. When you're done, scrape all the paint off. Repeat as needed until you have no ego left."

Last night I put out tons of the trash we had out back for a Big Trash pick-up. I mean there was a toilet back there, (and FYI, those things are HEAVY!) there was a sink, and various other big things. I used the dolly and bent my knees and went slowly and did it all by myself. C was off picking up the new toilet and doing other necessary errands. He was suitably impressed when he got home. I was tired and cranky. This task feels never-ending. It's Sisyphean. And invisible.

I'm living very much like a monk. Well, a monk who's having sex and going to jazz concerts and eating chocolate chip cookies and watching police procedurals. Okay, scratch that monk metaphor.

I went with G to hear Carla perform Friday night at Anna's Jazz island. She had had a bad fall earlier that day and had an ice pack on her shoulder, but she seemed to gain strength and ease through singing. It is something to see, the struggle of the life force to find a path, like a green shoot coming out of sheer rock. And the triumph of training and will--I was going to say triumph of the will, but it's not the will to power, it's the will to beauty. Her singing was beautiful, and the band was so tight and easy behind her. G whispered to me that he liked this concert even better than the one at Yoshi's back in March and I whispered back that we were sitting just five feet away from her and the band.

"I think she should do these small intimate venues," he said. "It just magnifies everything."

I wore my brown velveteen dress, and whenever anyone complimented me, I felt compelled to blurt out, "It's from Target! It only cost ten dollars!" (True: it was on clearance.) I have to learn how to accept a compliment graciously.

Monday night, C and I went to Kehilla for Rosh Hashana. It felt so nice to walk there with him, (we parked half a mile away: my fault,) dark of the moon, a nice evening, both of us dressed in our best clothes. He wore the green and silver tallit I had given him for Chanukah draped around his shoulders. Bethie sang at services, and Shulamit--it was very beautiful.

This is supposed to be the time of teshuvah--reflecting, reconsidering, reevaluating our past year. How fitting that it falls on Mercury Retrograde. What I would like from this next year is the freedom that comes from discipline. Not playing endless websudoku games at my computer. Not indulging in things that make me feel bad afterwards. Personal freedome from bad habits and soft addictions. And for the world: President Obama. That's all. Please God.

I talked with my sister--I'm going to see her next week, when I go back East for my Dad's birthday. She told me she had a little aunt-Alison-read-a-thon with her daughter Lucy. They hauled out the storybooks I wrote and illustrated for Noah, for Eli, and for her, and read them all, one after another. That made me feel so good! Then my nephew Eli got on the phone.

"What are you doing?" he asked with his best telephone conversation skills.

"Scraping paint," I told him.

"That sounds boring!" Uh-huh.

I'm going to visit his classroom and do a little poetry lesson with the students--we talked about that, and about him coming our here for the wedding.

"Oh, if I come to California, I'll have ten pages to write in my journal!" he exclaimed.

I keep getting emails from a group called Impeach Bush. I think impeaching is too good for him. I think Bush should be condemned to scraping every speck of paint off the entire White House. By hand. And then repainting it and doing it over.


Anonymous said...

You are such an amazing writer. I hope you know that. Joanna

Jessica said...

I think I snorted with amusement and self-recognition at the brown velvet dress comment. I have this great orange purse that I picked up at a street market in Malaysia with Kirsten. Every time someone compliments it, I feel compelled to chirp out, "thanks, total knock off, got it for $14." Must learn to bite my tongue and just say thank you instead.
Much cousin love, Jessie