Love that song.
I started this post two nights ago and it is a long and winding road of incongruity:
A few months ago I wrote about a friend who asked me to identify my worst quality. I couldn’t – not because of my impeccable character, but because of my inability to assign superlatives to most things. Tonight I’ve honed in on one thing I’d love to change over all others, and that is my compulsion to worry. I come from a long line of worriers. My paternal grandfather, who lived to be 99 years old, was my touchstone. We grew up with a German Shepherd named Lovable (stop that. I had nothing to do with it.), and when Grandpa was over he’d often say to Sister and me late in the evening, in his gravelly, Ukrainian accent, “The pooch is hungry! Maybe now he can eat?” and we’d shout (GPa was very hard-of-hearing) “GRANDPA, WE FED HIM THREE HOURS AGO!” Once Sister was heading out to a party at the all-knowing age of 16, and he saw her to the door and called after the turquoise Trans-Am in which she fled, “Don’t drink!” When he wasn’t audibly worrying he’d observe the situation at hand with a furrowed brow, which I’ve proudly inherited.
Sometimes when I’ve expected to hear from a loved one and haven’t, I furrow my brow and contemplate everything that might be to blame. And the possibilities are fairly boundless. Blech. Who needs this? I certainly don’t. I wish I could let things take their course and convince myself that the fact that I worry does not mean that there is anything to worry about.
Ukrainian Grandpa was an exceptional man. He came to the States on the Mauretania in 1908, traded molasses, married my grandmother, had five children, lived until New Years’ Eve 1992. In 1989 I studied in Paris for a semester. When I made my triumphant return stateside I called him, the first time we’d speak in five or six months. The conversation went as such:
L: GRANDPA? IT’S LAURA!
G: … … … Ca va?
He’d studied French as a young boy and, 85 years later, remembered that bit.
A couple of years ago I decided to study Russian. I taught myself the Cyrillic alphabet and learned a few words and phrases. I mentioned this to an uncle who informed me that Grandpa was, in fact, from the Ukraine and did not speak Russian. Least one of us does.
I learned a new word yesterday: chthonic.
Devilish, isn’t it? It means “concerning or belonging to the underworld.” Apparently the “ch” is silent. Vestigial, really. There’s a limerick in there somewhere – about a man from Taconic who drank gin and tonic and started to act kind of chthonic.
I went to a football game last weekend, something I’ve been doing since I was a slip of a thing, and I think I actually started to understand the game this time. Much to the dismay of my rather boisterous date, I’m not a cheer-er, which belies my enthusiasm for the spectacle at hand. Thank goodness they don’t do “the wave” anymore – good lord, what a mortifying display of forced audience participation that was. I used to rifle through my pockets or handbag and pretend not to notice as it was going on around me. Exhausting.
Next week I will be taking an unexpected and last-minute trip to the aforementioned Paris, a city I love so much it hurts. I’m blessed to have this opportunity and will savor it. This blahhhhggggg pretty much took form when I was in Paris in April, as the three of you who read it back then might recall. So much has happened since then, so much has changed, and I am in a far better place than I was. That trip was the catalyst for much of this change, and for that I will forever be grateful. So many words I’ve written since then, so many songs I’ve listened to, so many times I’ve realized how lucky I am to be where I am at this point in time. And this point in time is all there is, really.
Grateful to you all, my dear friends.