The first picture I took had a glass of wine on the little table next to my new, hand-me-down chair. But then, I thought, do you really want people to see what a giant pour that is? So I moved the wine glass to my desk so everyone could focus on more wholesome things like my mother’s Santa candles, my father’s typewriter, and the seemingly endless stack of Get Out the Vote postcards to be written.I love this space.I might be able to sell my 110-year old house without a backward glance, but this office would have to be boxed up and recreated someplace on a second floor, eastward facing, with Lake Michigan unseen but always felt just a few blocks away.
On the shelf behind the chair is a teddy bear with an interesting life story. My husband took the teddy bear to Nicaragua when he went to pick up our first adopted son in 1986. Two years later, when that little boy was four years old, I told him I was going to Nicaragua to bring home a second little boy and, because he wanted to be a good big brother, he gallantly offered his teddy bear to accompany the new boy on his trip home. But, alas, when I returned, the teddy bear was missing. It was probably left in the orphanage I told the first boy and it would make other children happy. And then years later, while packing for a road trip out west, I found the teddy bear flattened into the tight side pocket of the suitcase I’d taken to Nicaragua. By then, neither boy cared about the teddy bear but I did. Because it was lost and then found, which is kind of a recurring theme around here.
It occurs to me that when I die someone will put a giant dumpster on the front lawn and throw all of this stuff out the window. And I’m actually fine with that. “Man’s Search for Meaning,” the wind-up sheep that baas, the first eight Outlander books, the pillow that says, “A Woman’s Place is in the White House,” the unfinished GOTV postcards, my mother’s little ceramic skunk. Why do I have that? Feel not obligated, yon descendants. I won’t know the difference.
I would say I am very forthright, confident in what I believe, knowledgeable, and unafraid of other’s opinions of me but there is one thing I have a very hard time doing. And that one thing would be telling someone else to put on their mask properly. I sat in a meeting yesterday with a person I’ve known for a very long time and I could have easily said, “You need to get your mask up over your nose and mouth,” but I didn’t, and it was almost as if I was fascinated with her not seeing that everyone else had their masks fitted securely on their faces and I marveled at her sense of exceptionalism, which seems a harsh term to use because it isn’t what she intended, I don’t think. But the topic here is my reticence to speak and the mystery of this curious, peculiar boundary I seem to be unable to overcome.
You know when you are sitting in a rowboat and it’s early morning and the lake is very still and you bait your hook and snap the rod over your shoulder and cast as far as you can? It’s a pretty dim memory for me. But, I’d really like to get myself a decent rowboat and a new rod and reel. And catch nothing. Just cast.