Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fine things and my things

In my bright, echo-y living room two things immediately catch the eye. One is the upright piano that sits gleaming from several dustings. Of course, the sheet music is eye-catching too because it looks like a hundred mice ran across a sheet of paper shitting with every breath. Yeah, a nice little Debussy number that I told my daughter I could learn in a week. That wasn't even a cocky promise, it was just plain stupid. I'm three pages in and almost started playing "Chopsticks" before slinging the whole instrument out the window....
So, there's the piano. And then there is my "tv set" as I am now calling it. A few weeks ago, I hoisted (yes, by my f*cking self) a giant tv up the stairs and into the new place, dropped it on my foot once and destroyed the inside of my arms with all of that sharp-cut decorative, veneer that encases this monster. I purchased a DVD player for the dinosaur tv, the kids and I picked out a movie from the library (took an hour for them to decide, which I did eventually because the fighting did not cease and people were starting to stare), set up the "system" and then discovered that the tv is so goddamn old that it requires an adapter for the DVD player.
"Motherf*cker" I hissed under my breath, watching the angry bruises grow on my arm.
"What'd you say, Mom?" Anna was alert, and ready to scold.
"I said what a bummer."
"Huh, that's weird. It sounded like what you say in the car when someone is going too slow."
I had no idea she was listening. Yet another note to self moment.
The end result of the tv situation is that we now have a very tiny flatscreen successfully hooked to a DVD player, all of which is resting quite comfortably atop the old, giant tv.
You can't say I'm not resourceful. So far the reactions have been mostly confusion or laughter. My friend, the Sisco kid, was over last night. We mowed on pasta and ice cream and discussed the finer points of how messed up we are and reminisced about our favorite mind-bending drugs. Mid-laugh he peered into the living room.
"What the f*ck you got going on here?"
"It's a statement about technology and rebirth."
He gave me a very critical stare.
"I don't have any money to buy a tv stand it was all I could think of."
He shook his head. "You're not going to get any dates with that thing."
Yeah, no sh*t man.
The very sad fact is, that I do have taste, but it is constantly blocked by reality. Constantly. Of course I know what kind of black walnut antique German bar I want sitting in my living room. I know the worn-out throw on the back of my couch would be so much better if it were Persian wool. Do I care that my flatware was 8 bucks for the whole set? Am I allowed to care?
After all of these years of education, travel, living, loving and burying, I can say that the awareness of fine, gorgeous things will never leave me. But, the acquisition of these things has fallen quite far, almost to the bottom of a very long list. Yes, I still dream of returning to Paris just to go to a mustard shop I fell in love with years ago. But when I look around and see what is here, see the wind shake entire meadows when no one is looking, see the silhouette of the baby that will come to our family in the fall, see joy in faces that have grown hard with worry, what could be finer than this?
I will eventually make it back to the Rue for the mustard. Now, all of those fine things are wrapped up in daydreams.

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