Friday 24 August 2018

Weeding is Good for the Soul

Poor Benedict Ambrose has taken the week off work and has been slowly wrapping up glasses and plates at the Historical House. He took apart the leather-top table and then, having read my splenic post, decided not to bring it home. Still weak from radiation therapy, he's done only a quarter of the packing he hoped to do.  We are still not sure how we are going to get everything down three flights of stairs.

I worked off my vague fury by digging dandelions out of the lawn, before or after work. It is good to be outside and smell the earth. The harling on the walls reminds me of my childhood home, even thought that was white, and these row houses are brown and ochre.

The fury is partly frustration with the circumstances of our move, but partly the content of my articles. The news is by turns sad and infuriating. Pondering the meaning of Single Life between examining dating strategies was a lot more fun, it must be said. Thus, it is great to get out into the garden where life is much simpler and the battle lines are more clearly drawn: woman vs. dandelions.

When the weather is dry and even slightly sunny, I wash and hang out the laundry. This is also refreshing--especially after nine years of hanging laundry indoors.

Last night BA and I went to see Suzanne Vega at Edinburgh's Queen's Hall. BA first heard SV when he was a teenager, obediently making a tape of her songs at the behest of a friend. So among BA's hundreds of classical CDs, there are a few Suzanne Vega albums.

As a teenager of the 1980s, I knew "Luka", of course, and hearing it live was my second shock of the evening. My first shock was seeing the 20-something Suzanne Vega of the "Luka" video instantly age 30 years when she appeared onstage. She is still waif-like, however. The first set was the entire Solitude Standing album, of which "Luka" is the second song. Hearing it live was like being jolted, for a few moments, back into 1988.

Nostalgia is a funny thing. On the one hand it would be splendid to be a teenager and have all that opportunity before you, but on the other hand I acutely remember groping around blindly for all this supposed opportunity. I enjoyed writing stories, but there were no obvious clubs and programs around for girls who enjoyed writing stories. But above all I was helpless and terrified before the sheer cliffs of Math class and Chemistry class, partly because I didn't understand how work could substitute for talent.

For that reason, it would be a terrible thing to find myself once again a teenager in 1988. Naturally it would be great to go back knowing what I know now, even if I didn't remember to buy shares in Microsoft. As that is quite impossible, it is comforting to know that I am better off now--with an "upper villa" of my own,  a good-natured husband and the knowledge that most human beings can do or learn almost ANYTHING we put our minds to, as long as we work at it as assiduously and as long enough as it takes. As the framed Polish poster on the kitchen wall reads, "Naprzód (forward)!"


  1. Having failed my driving test this morning in the most miserable miserable fashion Mrs BA, I find your final paragraph comforting.

    My plan is to forget about it for a fortnight and take a scrubbing brush on my hands and knees to the wooden stairs in the meantime. There is peace in housekeeping.


    How do you pronounce that Polish word and are there copies of the poster online? I like the sound of it.


  2. "NAP-shood" is basically how I pronounce it. Sorry about the driving test. I hope you pass it next time. The poster I have is a copy of the advert for an art exhibition in Krakow in 1900 or so. I'll have a look online.