Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday in the Universe

Good morning, internet. I hope you've had a nice couple of days. I am one of only two people in my office today as the sky is sending down a shower of dandruffy delight and everyone else seemingly took one look outside and said to themselves, "Yeah. Right." My office window faces out onto a narrow courtyard which also serves as a sort of wind funnel, blowing the snow that just fell right back up into the air again. As a result, my little piece of the world looks like a snowglobe today. A snowglobe featuring a sleepy redhead clickety-clacking on the keyboard, feeling nostalgic, wishing she could get her shit together for the holidays. I bought lights. And this gold star wire stuff to wrap around things. But I don't have a wreath yet and I need to do laundry in the most desperate way imaginable and I don't have a domestic bone in my body and I'm turning 30 in a week or so and sometimes I just wish the world would slow down a little so I could catch up. On Wednesday night I went to see my second-most-favoritest band in the wholewideworld, Calexico, at Avalon. They're touring with Iron & Wine and, although I can appreciate a little Iron & Wine now and again, I don't believe that the distinctly Ent-like appearance of the lead singer is a coincidence. Their songs are long and slow and haunting and luscious and they will put you to sleep as reliably as a codeine overdose. Calexico, on the other hand, is all kick and sass, so I was disappointed that they played first as I was in an Ent-induced coma by the end of the show. When I arrived home there was a package from my Aunt Suzi that said "Open Now," the assumption being that any packages I receive around this time I will will stow away until my birthday or Christmas. Yes, I actually do that. So I opened it and there was a card from her saying that they are sorry they won't see me this year for the holiday and here are some of Grandma's Christmas ornaments. Well, I just fell apart. I called The Den sobbing and after an exhaustive cry I passed out dramatically on the couch where my roommate found me the next morning with dried mascara rivulets on my cheeks. It's the second Christmas without my grandmother and I'm looking out the window at the snow falling on a world that doesn't have her in it anymore. All of those little things that made her unique - the way she tucked her strawberry blonde hair behind her ears, the way she ran her finger around the rim of her wineglass, the way she loved too much and forgave not enough - are gone. They exist nowhere else in the world. We went to this latest war with Iraq soon before my grandmother died and when it began, she cried and railed, powerless, at the television because she had lived through so many wars, had served in the foreign service, and knew better than her children or her grandchildren what the real cost of war would be. And now there are thousands of people - American and Iraqi - who no longer exist in the world either. All of the things that made every single one of those people absolutely unique are just.....gone. I mourne my grandmother because I can. I can remember all of the bits of her that are lost - all the tiny, quirky things I miss. But I don't know how to mourne all of these other people that deserve no less than abject sorrow from each and every one of us at their sacrifice. This holiday is going to be a horrible, wretched time for so many families who remember the way their son or daughter or mother or father crooked a finger when making a point, ate soup in their favorite bowl with that wonky spoon, tugged on a necklace for comfort, sat in the car in the driveway for a few minutes to finish a song on the radio.....loved in their very own special way that will never be replicated anywhere in the world ever again. It's snowing on a world where so many people no longer exist. Our contemporaries, our ancestors, and someday, us. My friend Emily is going to give birth sometime next week. Cold and snow and death and's all so much bigger than one person or one war or one conviction or one sleepy redhead clickety-clacking on the keyboard, feeling nostalgic, wishing she could get her shit together for the holidays.