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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Emboldened by Nostalgia

Having felt no inspiration today, I thought I'd check my archives.
Two years ago:

David Suzuki, you have a lot to answer for!

by Lorna on Thursday, March 12, 2009
Today, among the many boring errands I had to pursue, I stopped at Bridgehead, the fairtrade coffee place, because, although I had had a coffee, I had had to dash out of the house before breakfast, and I was growly.
When I got in, I realized I hadn’t been in that particular Bridgehead store before, so I stopped to look around a bit, noting that it was full of interesting-looking people, who looked as though they just finished talking to David Suzuki Photobucket
or Salman Rushdie and were having a moment of support for developing countries before going out and chaining themselves to endangered trees.
Then I thought that I actually saw David Suzuki, fully dressed, drinking coffee in the back of the store. Not wanting to look like a fan, and afraid he’d caught me staring, I did a quick about-face, and ran into the Bridgehead equivalent of a barista. He was about a foot taller and 80 pounds lighter than I am, and he had his hair pulled back with a hairband just like the one I had taken off after washing my face this morning. Quite naturally, I thought, I reached out to see if he was OK, and he must have thought I was keeling over, because he sort of swooped down on me, and propelled me to a nearby chair.
He didn’t actually say, “put your head between your knees”, but he did look like he’d been caught kicking puppies. We mumbled aplogies indistinctly to each other, and I was annoyed with myself and flustered for thinking that he was just the kind of almost-misfit interesting-looking guy I would have been attracted to when I was in my 20s. Not wanting him to scream, I didn’t mention that.
After a minute, I casually swept my hair back out of my eyes, adjusted my glasses, and toddled over to order something…..anything actually.
He: Would you like to order something?
Me: (eagerly) Yes, I would, that’s why I came in….
He. ???? expressed by subtle movement of the eyebrows
Me: Well, I’d like something that isn’t coffee or tea, but is hot.
He: (turning his back to read the list of Other Stuff) not coffee or tea????
Me: (interrupting) Oh! Oh! I know what I want—a non-fat steamed milk with a shot of vanilla
He: Vanilla?
Me: well just half a shot actually
He: (stifling giggles and kicking the guy beside him) what size?
Me: Whatever constitutes a grande
He: (silence and bafflement)
Me: a middle—a medium, I guess
He: For here or to go?
Me: For here in a cup. No, No, did I say for here? What am I thinking? I’m driving my car so I’ll just have a medium for here to go. In a cup. I’m doing my errands.
He and buddy (smiling slightly at each other) To go then?
Me: (in my head) Just kill me now.
Me: Just kill me now. Oh, did I say that out loud? (hysteria rising)
He: Thank you ma’am—that’s a medium steamed milk, no fat, for here, to go. anything else?
Me: You betcha!
He (hesitatingly) Aaaaannnnnddd that would be?
Me: how much?
He: For what?
Me: Oh, never mind, I’ll just take the coffee.
Then I paid, stumbled past the line of caffeine-deprived citizens and left the steamed milk on the bar.

And five years ago (I obviously didn't take this as seriously in the long run as I did at the time)

The distorted mirror

by Lorna on Sunday, March 12, 2006
….You mean never again?
….For the whole rest of my life?
….Never again…..Do you think you can do it?

….Yes, I can do it…but I don’t have to like it.

So that was the end of our discussion. I had been to see my doctor about the diffficulties I was having with depression, and in the course of telling him what my life had been like the week before I ran into trouble, I mentioned that for two days in a row, I’d had a great time. Both days, Dave and I had been out to dinner, and both days, I’d had about four glasses of wine. I seldom drink more than two glasses on any day, and often drink none, but apparently, that was too much.
So I am not able to drink wine (or beer or liquor, which I wouldn’t miss anyway), since it nullifies my medication. Aaaarrrrggggghhhh!!!!
It’s not that I crave wine—it’s that I had a picture of myself as a genteel retired person who sat reading with a cat nearby and a glass of wine at her side. Now, I’ll be that retired person who sits reading with something else—something not as interesting or as potentially intoxicating or as depressing as a glass of wine.
And when I later went up to my mother’s and couldn’t remember my user name for Blogger for 4 days in a row, I blame it on the discovery that I was going to have to adjust my mental picture of myself…..

And six years ago---caught in a moment of total and cleansing honesty:

Long, long ago…..

by Lorna on Saturday, March 12, 2005
I have a friend who, after a few false starts, fell totally in love; I asked her how they met and she sent me a charming and romantic story, and at the end said, “You?” I don’t know if she meant how are you, or how did you guys meet, but I chose to interpret the latter. Here’s the story:

I am 32, and it is an age of unprecedented sexual freedom, and for me, unprecedented growth and awareness.

At 32, I am married to a man I love, but whose childish need exasperates me and drains all my energy, energy I need for my children. Replenishing my energy takes the form of what for me is harmless sexual activity—play really, with people I like who know the limits: most especially, no falling in love.

What makes it wholly selfish is that I am playing with someone who is loved by the woman I love most among my friends. He likes me, he loves her in a way that isn’t satisfactory; I like him, I love her because she is the person I most look up to, the person who encourages me to write, to explore my thoughts, to respect myself and to think about my options. And we talk about the options I have chosen, and dryly, she tells me that although she is hurt, she knows it’s not about me, it’s about him, that I am not targeting her and we come to a kind of weird peace with it. I try to look at myself through her eyes to take my cues, I back off the sexual activity and our friendship stabilises. I even advocate for her with this guy—also a thoughtful person who unemotionally explains his side of things, which I dutifully pass on, all the while thinking how mature and worldly we all are, two households complementing each other.

My husband goes away, and I realize that I can’t resume my life with him—Dear John comes to mind. After much thought about our family’s well-being, I think: this will be not surprising, not callous, not casual but totally logical, so I write to tell him, and begin to live a new phase: Wife harassed by spouse.

During this time, I grow even closer to the people in the other household, needing their wisdom, experience and compassion. I realize that they form part of the fabric of my life, that we’ll always be close. I treasure their advice and the haven of their home and this is where I meet David—someone I’ve known through discussion with others and over the phone, but never met until he becomes part of the household.

He is so much younger than I am, 25, but mature; so unexpectedly wise, so funny and so willing to listen. We go to movies, we talk about how I can avoid harassment and protect and nurture my children, we go walking, we take my kids to fly kites, we go to bed, but only after we have agreed to my conditions: no fatherly relationship with my kids, no talking about each other’s appearance, no falling in love.

If only I’d said: no joy, no measured advice, no deep friendship, no endearing home-made lunches with radishes cut like roses, no improving my self-esteem, no asking my opinion about books, no understanding how I still love the man I’m leaving, no drives in the countryside in that ratty truck with the benches and foam in the back, no getting up at 4 in the morning so my kids won’t ask about you, no making promises that you always, always keep.

We never, ever talk about each other’s appearance.


  1. This is quite a day/date for you, I see.

    I'm not sure I can process all of it (there's so much), but I am really, really having trouble with the steamed milk shat with vanilla.

  2. I am with Anvilcloud: THE steamed/milk/vanila gives me some thought.

    Happy blogging....

  3. and this is why i like you so much - kindred spirits me thinks.
    and i think 1 (or 2 ) glasses of wine on the wkend would not hurt - but not 4.( 4 gets me every time) :(

  4. Wow, now this is an entry I can love even more than most ... so personal, so interesting, and a great love story.