Thursday, August 07, 2008


First, thank you all so much for your kind and thoughtful comments. It's times like this that my virtual network of friends is so valuable. While I can feel at loose ends during this time, I felt like that many times back in DC. Emotionally, I was really hit by my cousin's death. It's the suddenness, of course, and the empathy I feel for her closer relatives. This heightens my urge to connect with someone and thus I reached out to that certain person--which was fine. Then, I get all my feelings mixed up: why am I sad? Because plans were canceled (that happened yesterday)? Or because of the loss to my family?

Pele quite rightly advised me to compartmentalize. It's good advice and very hard to follow. I am not good at compartmentalizing; all my feelings slop over and muddy things up. I figure I'm not alone in this.

I am good at avoiding. When I first read the email about Catherine, I wanted to sleep. I told my mother and she said it was a good instinct. I don't know why. Now, I have to write some condolence letters. I know that I just have to sit down and write. I'll find the words. I have written several such letters, sadly, and somehow I can manage to say the right thing--even when I didn't know the person who died (I'm thinking of when a friend's mother died). You don't have to say much, usually. In this case, I should say more. The prospect is daunting.

Today, I'd planned to go on a field trip to see a Gothic cathedral in a town about an hour train ride from Paris. However, I slept and slept and didn't wake up until 10am. Then I puttered and puttered and it's too late for the trip now. Well, it's not too late, but it would be silly to make the trip for such a short time. I'll go tomorrow. Plenty of time. Getting moving would be good.

Yesterday I did those mundane tasks that are so essential to the forward momentum of life. When I first got here, I enjoyed these tasks. I still look forward to them because they give a structure to the day. I did my laundry, did a little grocery shopping and bought a light bulb (I had to visit three stores to find the right one!). I came home and hung up the laundry, did some knitting and then went to visit my conversation buddy. Oddly, I didn't tell him about my cousin. I don't know why I choose to share with some people and not others.

Sadly, I seem completely incapable of having even a simple conversation in French. But I can feel good about giving my buddy a chance to practice his English. He did speak to me in French but I could not catch the flow of what he was saying. Yeesh.

After, I went to a movie. A terrible, terrible movie: Surveillance. Awful, creepy, violent, cruel with seemingly no redeeming purpose at all. I don't get it. I don't understand this kind of movie. Why? What is the point? You learn nothing, have nothing to think about after and it's not funny or entertaining. I guess the performances were good, but so what? Ugh.

What about a nice, lightweight comedy? I could use a little of that right now. Not a single new one seems to be playing. Unbelievable!

Luckily, I'm in Paris and I can find an older comedy, my favorite kind, in fact. So, in lieu of my out of town field trip, this is what I'll do today:
  • Get ready to leave the house.
  • Leave the house and walk to a museum (I'm going to try the Musée Zadkine).
  • Pick up lunch there or on the way.
  • (Oh, I bought cereal the other day and ate it with some ridiculously rich milk this morning. I don't know when cereal has ever tasted so good. Also, the way the box reseals? Completely unlike the way we do it in the States. I have to take a picture.)
  • Tour the museum.
  • Sit in a café and do some writing--letters first, then some free-writing at Nancy's suggestion, if I'm so moved.
  • Walk to the movie theater and see my comedy (Fifth Avenue Girl--with Ginger Rogers, one of my favorites.)
  • Eat something sometime. (I have enough food at home for dinner, so if I go to an early show, I'll cook at home tonight.)
  • Sleep. Get up early enough to go on my field trip on Friday.

The end.

Grateful for: routine and excellent friends.

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