Round, frozen, hard, white.
Watery now, shedding your ice.
Patting, drying, there-there.
(Heating butter, adding garlic, a dash of oil.)
Take a teriyaki bath, there you go. Scrubba dubba.
Time to come out now!
Lift you, Sea Scallops, gently out of your tub.
Thrust you into the searing, flashing, firework pan.
Scorch your edges.
Throw some acid on top.
Press you into the hot metal until you squeal.
Grab you with shiny tongs and turn your unharmed side down — to the point of the burn.
There there, now. All done.
Cradle you, lay you down.
When I was 15 I worked in a bar for three hours each Sunday, clearing glasses and making coffee, for 1.25 an hour.
I had a boyfriend and I used to meet him on Saturday afternoons. I would catch a red council bus (0.45 each way), all diesel fumes, red vinyl seats and poor suspension, that trailed through my town and a whole other neighbourhood on the outskirts of the next town over. It took over half an hour to manage a 10 minute drive. I had a walkman and I listened to 80s Scottish pop: Hue & Cry, The Proclaimers, Deacon Blue until I knew every beat and pause by heart, and until my tapes grew warbly. If not too many people got on at each stop, I had time to run up the hill to the train station just in time for the train that ran at five minutes past the hour (1.05 roundtrip) to go into town and meet him for coffee. Otherwise, I’d hang around for half an hour at one station, ten minutes up the line from where he was waiting, all white trousers and poufy hair and slip-on shoes, at our destination. There were no cell phones, so he just had to stay there and watch the world go by. He spent a lot of time waiting for me, poor boy.
We window-shopped and talked, sometimes argued, before making our way to Oliver’s coffee shop where we nursed our big thick brown coffees, in their big thick brown mugs, for as long as we could. He’d buy us cake — a green frog or a pink pig made from a square of sponge cake a blob of cream and some clever icing that made us smile — because he earned more than I did, playing piano for a dancing school.
Then we took long walks by the river, through the woods — arm in arm — until it grew dark or cold. We talked about music and people we knew (everyone’s lives are very dramatic at 15) or our plans for the future. His plans always involved getting away. Mine never did. But we were both going to be fabulously successful in our chosen creative endeavours. And rich, of course.
Funny how things turn out.
Snow delay for the kids today. It was barely worth it for a dusting.
There was no policy for this when I grew up. Here, now, everyone knows that a delay means the day starts two hours late, A snow day means everything is canceled but work.
Growing up, there was just snow, and people gazing out of the window at heavy skies, and frantic phone calls among the people who decided things. I was sent home early once, as the snow coated the hills between my home and the school, the bus crawling and sliding through muffled afternoon darkness.
Photo: Lex In the City Used with permission
Yesterday I bent down and slid legwarmers over my feet for the first time since 1985.
Instantly, I was 13 again; in my bedroom in my parents’ house, faintly worried. Will I look stupid? Is my hair right? Will he notice me? Where’s my electric-blue eyeliner?
But these were a modest brown, not the fluffy white monstrosities of 25 years ago. My hair’s fine, he loves me and I don’t wear eyeliner any more.
Later, I again remembered my schooldays vividly as, after a day of wearing a skirt in winter, I huddled and tried to warm my bones.
I want a fresh start.
Isn’t that what the New Year is supposed to be all about?
But it’s not.
It’s half way through the school year. It’s a third of the way into a work commitment. It’s almost seven years into one son’s life, five for the other. It’s us on the way to our 15th wedding anniversary. It’s another Sunday, the same old friends, the bathroom still needs someone to clean it, and all my unfinished projects still need to live or die.
And sometimes all those things are wonderful.
And sometimes I just want to run away.
At the Helicopter Museum today, saw a diorama all about ‘vertiports’ and how, in The Future helicopters would ferry everyone from the city out to the airports or nearby cities.
The skyline behind the artist’s rendering of the Heliport was New York pre-Twin-Towers.
So where’s my vertiport? Where’s my hover car? And where the hell is my robot butler?
But wait, I have a Roomba, and it’s cleaning the floor in my kid’s room while I type. OK, so maybe living in The Future isn’t so bad after all. I do have a Star Trek-style communicator too…
So here we are on a cold and mercilessly bright New Year’s morning.
I kind of hate New Year’s Eve, but as soon as midnight rolls around I have the happy, fresh-slate feeling that comes as a surprise every time. I’m always very pessimistic, fatalistic, on Hogmanay, which is not like me. But maybe I’m just using up the old year’s store of pessimism. Unused misery needs to be wrung out and not carried over into the shiny New Year
My eldest son was certainly using up the dregs of his 2009 Badness allowance over the past few days!
One hundred words. One hundred ways to catch a day and frame it.
I grab a moment, bruise its wings and pin it, still struggling, to the page. If I do my job well, an observer in one hundred years will still hear the echo of the moment, still see the smudge of colour; breathe in and imagine she can smell the — taste the — moment I describe.
If I am clumsy, it will lie there, faded and flat, looking sad and pitiful and regrettable, something no-one ever cared about; something that should have been left to fly forever free.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I haven’t written anything here this month. I didn’t even sign up. So sue me. I’ll write my 100 words for today and I’ll write them for the next four days, and no-one will ever know. It’s all the same to me. When I first tried this, years ago, 100 words seems impossibly short. Now, after two years of Twittering, anything over 140 characters seems extravagant. I love it. Brevity. I’m not good at it in real life, but on the page (digital or otherwise) it is my friend, my buddy, my best amigo.