Thursday, April 29, 2010
When I was a little girl, I used to adore those glass garden globes, the one's people put out on pedestals to reflect flowers or what-have-you. If I had one now, I'd gaze into it, playing the seer like I used to and, swirling my hands about its aura, ask into its depths, “Oh, Great Universe! Tell me your secrets. Reveal, Oh, Great One ... WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING???!!!”
We tried a second time to get to Ireland, five days after the first shot. That flight, too, was canceled.
I woke up the morning after we arrived home vacationless feeling lobotomized. I stared at the suitcase I refused to unpack like it were a dead man's closet. Touch nothing, you hear me? This denial will be here a while.
I have been trying and trying to think of something I could write that would be interesting and worth your time. No one is going to weep for us, the poor babies who didn't get to go to Europe.
No one really wants to hear the blow by blow about the airlines' series of screw ups that left me wishing I'd fought in the Battle of the Boyne rather than stood in line one more time at the US Airways ticket counter. (In the end, I'd managed to limit my orange wardrobe to one sweater that could really pass for a peachy-pink and one little hoodie for Isaac – surely they wouldn't harm the small ones – though the benefit of the doubt I offered our kinsmen of the Emerald Isle would go untested, or course.)
I could attempt to describe the look on the face of the man at curbside check-in when he asked if we needed assistance and I told him no, we were on one of the canceled Europe flights, and he sprung back from our luggage as if it were on fire and offered a head shake and a “Good Luck with THAT!”
Maybe you'd get a chuckle if I mentioned that on the second try, five days after the first, while driving the hour and forty-five minutes to the Philadelphia airport from my mother's house, as the traffic slowed in Mullica Hill, NJ, I caught sight of a rather prominent name on a rather large mailbox beside the road. “ASH,” it said. Ten minutes later my phone would ring and the robo-voice would regret to inform me of what I already knew was coming.
“I just want to eat donuts. Lots and lots of donuts,” Mike said at one particularly stressful moment.
Escape can happen in many ways, and so I've been reading. Reading, reading. Sidebar update forthcoming. For now, here's a poem, of sorts, not exactly about reading, but about reading book jackets and the descriptions they offer.
"From Out of the Rubble of the World We Rise, Thanks to the Praise on Book Jackets"
Infused with a clarity of vision,
our day-to-day is dwarfed under the masterpiece
of the book jacket praise. At once plain and melodic,
it is the human being at his best, shot through with
unmistakable intelligence and original voice;
they bring us a fresh source of inspiration and insight.
And could we ask for more than a wildly funny, infinitely wise,
near to tragic tale?
Well, come to think of it,
I've always been partial to something that goes with everything,
a real foundational piece for the reading wardrobe,
and for those of you with me on this, why not something
audacious, controversial and hilarious.
So rapt in itself, each collage of words must outdo the one before,
and, moreover, the one inside, draped superfluously over 347 pages.
Anyone worth their salt knows that in telling one's truth
we have one chance and little space.
Our dear species. Fraught though we are
with our tangled loves,
our penchant for self-destruction,
with just a touch of help from book jacket verbiage,
the most impressive collection yet.