Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stuff and Nonsense

There are big things in life: major illnesses, major events, momentous duties. There are things that cost a lot of money and things that, rightfully, take a lot of time. But mostly life is a drifting sea of puny ideas, passing moments, and meaningless flotsam and jetsam. I've always liked the concept of flotsam and jetsam. The former is the stuff left adrift after a shipwreck or, more generally, the stuff left adrift by our lives. Jetsam is stuff tossed at sea to lighten the load, to stay afloat or, generally, the things we eject from our lives. More intentional but just about the same at the end of the day.

Yesterday as I tried to bring a little order and less counter clutter to the kitchen I was sorting through bottles of liquor and liqueur. I decided to leave some whiskey, blended Scotch and vodka out at the ready and to stow away some things like tequila liqueur, some single malt Scotches and such. I wondered when we'd acquired some of this stuff and when, if ever, we or our guests would get around to sipping it. Last night when we got home from seeing an art film, I decided to have a drink or two. (Full disclosure: I had a beer at Roaring Fork before the show) I picked a single Malt that was out on a small bar cabinet we have in the dining area. The truth is that we usually drink outside the house and when we drink at home, my usual is wine (if FFP opens something), beer or a Manhattan (expertly mixed by FFP). Usually the lack of limes stops me from making a vodka tonic or gimlet I might otherwise mix. In any case, this ragged history of serving alcohol and drinking at home has left us with a number of artifacts. Some bottles are unopened and may never be. Yet, there is no beer and there was no chardonnay so FFP bought a bottle at Royal Blue last night.

When I was doing the kitchen puzzle, I found a coffee grinder. Funny, because, when our machine with the built-in grinder went to the shop, we went out and bought one because I swore we had divested of every one we owned in the move. Now the infamous and much-worshiped at this house, Capresso Jura Empressa E8, is back and seems to be functioning, grinding, tamping and brewing one precious cup of la crema coffee at a time. So the drip coffee maker and the new grinder and are tucked away in the cabinet. The old grinder? I put it in our storage cage. Why, I don't know. I suspect I'll never use it again. There was much incentive to toss things last spring and summer when we knew it just wouldn't all fit. Now, if there is a square inch in that storage cage or some cabinet, there is a foolish tendency to hang on to things.

It is all trivial, I understand that. Equally nonsensical is the way we spend our time. Last night I had my doubts about the art film we'd signed up to see: "Rape of the Sabine Women." But I must say, the lyrical choreography, the weird settings and strange score combined to make me happy and curious...that feeling I get when art stirs me. I'd been in a particularly low mood. It did pick me up. It made me want to study the telling of this tale in painting and myth and it made me want to think about the issues raised by the context of Eve Sussman's film (the '60's). (Most unlike her vision would be the Rubens painting I found on the National Gallery web site! Those '60's figures in bright, tight shift dresses looked very different than Rubens', um, rubenesque figures.)

Tonight we will go to an event. It involves a fashion show. Inexplicably I enjoy fashion shows. (Longtime readers know that I'm a living, breathing fashion emergency.) We chose the event over a meeting to plan another event. That event needs ticket sales and hype just now and we find the best way to generate that is to go to other events and find people who are interested in our other cause.

My entire life feels trivial. My regular Tuesday tennis date was rained out. Dad appeared self-sufficient during my morning welfare call. So I read the Science section of the NY Times while riding the recumbent bike for 55 minutes. I intended to lift some weights. But FFP made lunch (salad and tortellini) and I felt like sitting and reading. And so my days go...full of stuff and nonsense. I'm not thinking great thoughts, but rather I'm bothered and irritated then thrilled and enthralled by small things. Euphoria has been in short supply but it has been interesting inside my head anyway. As I type this, I'm listening to a play list on the iPod created from the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah" sung by k.d. lang. This is the only thing Apple calls Genius that is genius. It included Elvis, ABBA, Cream, Cheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd. Now there is music trivia in my head.

[A note on the photo: it is the side of a wine box that got stored in the move last year. From the looks of it, this one didn't have anything especially stellar in it. However, the photo with the box decoration and scribbling reflects my stuff and nonsense mood.]

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