Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Small Comfort



I'm finding that the smallest and subtlest of things now bring me the greatest pleasure.  I have lost the heroic impulse, I guess.  I read in Towles book last night a line about a character who seemed to have lost his passion for travel.  I read that in bed with a mug of hot tea beside me and wondered.  The juxtaposition of the man who has traveled widely and seen much and the young neophyte just beginning her explorations in the novel are archetypal, I guess.  We travel for different reasons at different times.

James Salter equated travel with the anticipation of romance and sex.  I understand what he meant.  It is not the actual thing itself but the possibility that something might change your life.  All travel, I opine, is meant to enhance our romantic quotient, to add more color to our plumes.  Listen to a fellow tell tales of his travels.

I once met a man who I remember as being near one hundred years old, though I am sure that is not accurate.  I was at someone's party, the family of my girlfriend.  It was boring.  I decided to talk to the old man who was left alone on a couch figuring if anyone there could tell some good stories, he could.

I was wrong.

He told me stories of singing for the church and of his travels with the choir.  He remembered the families he met quite well.  He seemed determined to disprove Salter's thesis.

I don't drink, and I don't screw, 
And I don't date boys who do.

Just remembered that from childhood.  Awful.

I won't be traveling for awhile.  The roofer gave me the estimate yesterday.  $13,000.  It is too much, but I don't know how much too much yet.  I have another fellow coming to give me a bid.  I wish I could go with the first company, though.  They've been in business for 57 years, a record for a roofing company here.  Most last fewer than ten.  It takes a lot to stay in the roofing business that long.

But I am now more than broke, broke being having no money.  I have less than no money now.  I despair of travel and of cameras of which there are many to desire just now.  And perhaps that is why I am finding pleasure in the simplest of things.  A book.  A cup of tea.  A small culinary delicacy.  The comfort of bed.  These are retreats, I guess, from the problems of our day and the troubles of our time.  It is an attempt to retreat from worry.

Perhaps I will wear a jacket to work today.  I love jackets with pockets in which to secret things.  A jacket is a bit of soft armor.  I shall, I think.  I feel the need.

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