Not in Brooklyn, though. In Lombok.
So far includes a loaf of bread (yesterday) and blondies (today). Which means that I’m okay and have power. I found the storm itself surprisingly terrifying, worn down as I was by anticipatory anxiety (did I make the right decision to stay home? What if I needed to get to work on Tuesday? — a question that seemed absurd by Monday night, but on Sunday seemed worth considering) and little sleep, and the long wait. The winds howled, strange lights flashed through the skies, trees scratched and flying objects banged, the streets’ quiet was broken only by emergency vehicles. My bedroom, with its windows on three sides, felt like a turret at the end of the earth. In the morning, I learned that the water of Buttermilk Channel rose over the piers and the street as far as the corner building. But I was hugely lucky.
I still can’t understand that Avenue C flooded. And 125th Street. I sort of understand the tunnels all filling with water, although it’s never happened before — they are low, after all. Well, we’ll all have our points of bafflement.
Walking with Z in Prospect Park, I poked myself in the eye with a tree.
No serious harm was done. We saw a bridge, a wedding party, a construction site, carved fruits, and some trees (most of them non-violent), and then we ate vegetarian roti on the next block after the Holiest Block in Brooklyn, with six storefront congregations.
For the first time in my life, I made pickles.
Pretty, right? Even more so in person, where you can tell that some are orange and some a delightful Pucci pink. Maybe I should make the headline “Mod” instead of “wholesome.”
On the one hand, I feel productive and housekeepy. On the other, “pickles” was not on the very long list of things I meant to do on my day off.
My cranky orange sweetie died today. Yesterday she could jump up on a chair; this morning she could barely walk. I took her to the emergency vet and there wasn’t anything to be done except to put her to sleep.
I sang “The Golden Harp*,” and I remembered the wonderful little book (a favorite of my father’s, too), The Cat and the Coffee Drinkers, by Max Steele. It’s about a rather eccentric kindergarten in South Carolina seventy or eighty years ago. “Only the five-year-old children who were sent to the kindergarten of Miss Effie Barr had any idea what they were learning in that one-room schoolhouse, and they seldom told anyone, and certainly not grown people.” Miss Effie teaches very important practical and moral lessons, and the last lesson we hear about is — well, Miss Effie says: “‘When I dismiss you, you’re to go straight down the drive and straight home. And if they want to know why you’re home early’ — she stopped and studied the ground as though she had lost there her cameo or her words — ‘tell them the only thing Miss Effie had to teach you today was how to kill a cat.’”
*From the First Ireland Convention, 2011:
At Last is the last (apparently) of a series of five novels carrying the life of Patrick Melrose through a rich, brutal childhood and a disastrously messy maturation to whatever point he has reached on the day of his mother’s funeral. This passage I fear does not do St Aubyn justice. Try the opening pages, a witty and horrible old friend of the family accosting Patrick on his entry into the funeral home; you’ll know whether this book is for you. (I was dazzled.)
(I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to see if the publisher had offered the first chapter, but I find that they did, so it’s linked now.)
Patrick is in the funeral home basement, inspecting the surroundings as well as viewing the body of his mother, Eleanor.
ELEANOR had expected to meet Jesus at the end of a tunnel after she died. The poor man was a slave to his fans, waiting to show crowds of eager dead the neon countryside that lay beyond the rebirth canal of earthly annihilation. It must be hard to be chosen as optimism’s Master Cliché, the Light at the End of the Tunnel, ruling over a glittering array of half-full glasses and silver-lined clouds.
Patrick let the curtains drop reluctantly, acknowledging that he had run out of distractions, He edged toward the coffin, like a man approaching a cliff. At least he knew that this coffin contained his mother’s corpse. Twenty years ago, when he had been to see his father’s remains in New York, he was shown into the wrong room.
At Last, Edward St. Aubyn, p 42.