Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lash the Librarian

I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be.

That's just another brilliant thing Joan Didion said with which I'm in complete agreement.

Over lunch with a friend today, he pointed out how much I've "softened" since we first met in June 2009, how much more relaxed I've become. Talking abut life recently with a wise septuagenarian, she characterized my evolution as a result of opening myself up to life since mine fell apart.

So, yes, it's been some time since I bid farewell to the woman who allowed herself to be governed by rules and restrictions, the woman who used to walk the exact same route every day for years, never scrambling out onto a rock or scaling the ladder to the pipeline walkway.

What hasn't changed is my baseless optimism.

I say "optimistic" because I can still go to the Criterion this gray Sunday morning to see "Holiday Inn" and watch Fred Astaire dancing with various nimble-footed partners and think to myself that if I put my mind to it, I could learn ballroom dancing.

I say "baseless" because after dancing in cute shoes for three straight hours last Saturday night to Mr. Fine Wine, I had a fine blister on my pinky toe for days.

Nor am I being grandiose when I say I will read all the books I want to in this lifetime.

Three different people have recently given me books they thought I'd love reading. I used to limit my reading time to after I'd finished doing everything else I "should" be doing, until I realized reading is exactly that. Preferably on a beach, but I can make do on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate for now.

Then when I go back to see my second movie of the day, "Brooklyn," an exquisitely-shot coming-of-age story about an Irish girl who moves to America, I discover I need to read Colm Toibin's novel of the same name and probably a lot more Nick Hornby given his deft handling of the screenplay.

The film also reminds me of some key life goals: I need to get away from where I live more often. Write letters more often. Entertain more often. Say yes to some of the more unexpected offers I get.

One of the most wonderful things anyone ever wrote to me in an e-mail was, "It was great seeing you! You always seem to add laughter to a room." If, as the boardinghouse owner in "Brooklyn" said, giddiness is the eighth deadly sin, I want to be guilty of it.

I want to see the humor in everything I possibly can.
Walking past Sugar Shack Donuts under this afternoon's sodden skies, I notice that of the nine cars in the parking lot, three of them are cop cars. Surely there's a joke in that.

And with my O'Donnell Irish roots, I wouldn't even be wrong in making it.

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