This is my first experiment in using my laptop as a laptop. Typically it sits on my desk, fettered by numerous cords, attached variously to a monitor, speakers, and a keyboard, its portability--perhaps its proudest achievement--ignored. Today though, in a sudden writerly frame of mind, I've rescued it from the living room and brought it to the kitchen table where I was already sitting with my tea and a book next to the apartment's best window. I think of this as practice. This computer and I will have stories to tell from an international assortment of kitchen tables this summer: a window in Amsterdam, a cup of tea in Glasgow, a book in Berlin.... It is fitting to begin at home at what was one my grandmother's kitchen table. Some 35 years ago, it used to live across town in a dark kitchen facing a wall, but now enjoys a view of a cherry tree just beginning to bloom in a neighboring garden. Though the table may miss the radio broadcast Giants' games and the solitaire games of its young life, the two of us are equally delighted by this bright kitchen. If we move, it will be the room we miss most. Framed in the window: stark branches, pink blossoms, and a backdrop of pale blue sky. This city every bit as famous as those I'll soon be visiting. I am grateful when I remember that my quotidian is someone else's romantic daydream.
Today is Superbowl Sunday, a thing I had steeled myself to endure, certain that the boys upstairs would find this an irresistible occasion for group drinking and communal bellowing. Instead, the two loudest are away, as indeed they were last weekend, and the one who remains is my dearest dream of an upstairs neighbor: whatever his solitary pastimes, they are quiet indeed. To my astonishment, the loudest thing in the building just now is the ticking of my own kitchen clock. God bless absent neighbors.
In yesterday's quiet I wrote a fourteen-page letter and finally finished the last hundred pages of the Charlotte Brontë I'd been reading for weeks. Today, I began Patti Smith's M Train, which has been assigned by my book club. I was very resolute in my disinterest in this book, which, much like every time I exhibit a resolute disinterest in something I know nothing about whatsoever, has left me sheepish. Oh. Right. Try first, judge later. That lesson, despite being offered ad infinitem, continues to elude me. I have barely begun the book, but the first chapter is something of a melancholy travelogue, and a ghost of a love story, very much in concert with my own typical Sunday frame of mind.
I set it down, looked at the cherry tree and thought about places I've been and men I've loved--the ones who knew and the ones who didn't. And the ones who knew and were unmoved.
Quiet Sundays are dangerous like that. Perhaps that accounts for the popularity of football.