21 December 2008

Coffee Barges

It's almost too much: the sight and scent and taste of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, Joni Mitchell's Misses CD on the turntable, a gray-sky Sunday.... How in the world to compose a coherent sentence with these historically potent influences and no cigarettes?

I'm grateful for the overcast skies today. To match my mood. Maybe not such a good idea to have started the day watching the second half of Recount.

I'm grateful for coffee. And inflatable mattresses. Although there are days when it seems like a measure of my immaturity, many days the whole process of re-inflating is one of the purest pleasures of the day: the little battery-powered Coleman air pump which cost so little and still works like a charm every time all these years later...the "problem" of sag that is so easily solved by the flip of a switch...and the serene Infinity I enter while waiting for the mattress to refill--there's nowhere to go, nothing to do but hold that pump and wait.

On my birthday, the thought occurred to take the day off. The day was also my 4 weeks smoke-free anniversary but in the end I settled for just allowing myself the luxury of taking the Louisiana bus from Tchoupitoulas to the St. Charles streetcar instead of walking as I usually do. There's a Rite-Aid at the corner and I dashed in and bought a bag of strawberry Twizzlers before the streetcar arrived. Twizzlers have been my cigarette substitute for a few weeks....I think that's ending today.

It was a pretty easy day at school; the piano girls joined the full band in preparation for the upcoming winter concert on Thursday so I had no full teaching duties and provided mostly a chaperoning presence for the hour.

After class, instead of waiting for the streetcar I chose to walk along the track and try to think of a way to celebrate and reward myself. Something I could purchase or maybe somewhere to go for dinner or some live entertainment... I couldn't think of a thing and wondered, as I often do when I can't figure out how to be good to myself, Oh lord, have I slipped into depression again?

The streetcar was a long time coming which allowed me a good long walk in the balmy New Orleans dusk. By the time it caught up to me I was several blocks down St. Charles and full to tearfulness with gratitude for the flounce of my skirt against my knees and my good strong legs, and the magnanimous elegance of sundown in New Orleans, and the breathtaking paradox of the beautiful faces and relentless mischief of the kids I'd just left, and the crazy incongruity of landing in the best days of my life with a full-scale recession underway globally.

When I stand in the World, it seems an enormous, wonderful surprise that Obama is president of the U.S.

When I breathe from my soul and stand in the deep waters of Time, the synchronicity and harmony of his election--not to mention me finding my way to New Orleans and countless other specific aspects of Now--are apparent and awesome.


There's something maybe clever or informative or amusing yet to be revealed to me about Obama's high profile smoking cessation attempt at the same time as my low profile attempt. Meanwhile, the specters of my two big heroines--Joni and Sojourner--hover nearby, with smoking inextricably woven into their life stories.

If I take a long stroll down some train or streetcar track, will the imminent insight come forth? Will I have a eureka moment and either resume smoking or never smoke again--but either way, reach an understanding that will settle the matter once and for all?





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