Sunday, April 8, 2007

652 days, 1 hours, 28 minutes, 45 seconds

She stopped on the thruway to e-mail him she'd stopped on the thruway. They now have Wi-Fi available, free, at all the rest stops. He e-mailed her from the airport in Lauderdale to say his flight's delayed nearly three hours, something about the plane being detoured to San Juan, but he has free Wi-Fi as well. And please don't wait up for him.

652 days, 10 hours, 36 minutes, 31 seconds

Not all those ones back there, but a virtual parade of ones, in pairs. If she didn't have that sort of marriage, where they're together but sacrifice nothing of themselves, she wouldn't be here. No, that sounds so selfish. She means they can be together, share everything, yet hold onto the parts of themselves they value most. Not to mention friends they had before knowing each other. In so many other relationships she saw the women changing, playing games, pretending to be what a partner wanted so long that they actually became that. If that's what was needed, she'd prefer to be alone. She's upstate. He's in Florida.

652 days, 10 hours, 54 minutes, 13 seconds

More trash.

652 days, 11 hours, 11 minutes, 11 seconds

Easter Sunday upstate. Brown grass, white snow patches, and the red breasts of four robins she sees out her kitchen window make her think of Global Warming. It's starting to snow again. She has to drive home today. 11, 11, 11 – all the ones in there. She's alone.

652 days, 11 hours, 41 minutes, 3.1 seconds

"Each image must lead, directly or indirectly, to the next image," she's been telling students for years, quoting Charles Olson. That's how she sees this blog shaping up. Once she makes the first entry, others follow in a mad rush. Or she must be mad. She feels as if she's opening a can of worms Рanother clich̩ she pontificates to students, showing them how each memory sparks the next memory, or how what someone else writes sparks their memories. Keep it short and focused, she tells them, and reminds herself now. Each entry of this blog to be just the one image, if there's more go to a new post. One perception must immediately and directly lead to a further perception Рthat's what Olson really said. She Googled it.

652 days, 11 hours, 56 minutes, 29 seconds

We're going to the country and we're gonna get happy, going to the country and we're gonna get ha-a-a-appy, going to the country we love... She used to sing that in the car, while the cat was whining in her carrier. Two years before she even knew him. The cat was all she had. He despised that cat.

652 days, 12 hours, 1 minutes, 49 seconds

We're going to the chapel and we're gonna get married... They couldn't have been together more than a few months. They'd driven somewhere in the city, came home, parked (she thinks on 91st St.), they kept the car on the street back in those safe days. They had the oldies station on, and this song came on just as they were about to get out of the car. She started singing along with it. He looked up, surprised, commenting that for the first time since they'd been together she was right on beat and right on key.

652 days, 12 hours, 22 minutes, 8 seconds

Whenever I want you all I have to do is dream... (Everly Brothers), I want a dream lover, so I don't have to dream alone... (Bobby Darin, or Bobby Rydell, though for some reason she thought it was Johnny Tillotson). Probably she'd have heard the Rydell, he the Darin. She plays the thirty second sample of Rydell, and her feet go into a cha-cha. She does that because she's alone. She'd never dance in public, not since Mrs. Dalbreth's. With her husband, alone, she even sometimes sings snatches of these songs. Whenever he's teasing, wanting her to buy him a piano, a Lexus, a home theater, new $10,000 speakers. Song after song. He claims she's destroying his love of them. Some day she plans to put them all on a cd. Maybe for their anniversary.

652 days, 12 hours, 30 minutes, 51 seconds

She's dreaming again. Or remembering her dreams again. Six dreams in the past two weeks. Usually she only dreams this much in the summer, when she's quiet enough to pay attention, and this past summer was a disaster – her printer breaking, her computer breaking, her father turning 90, planning a surprise party for her father. She felt as if she had no summer, as if she never calmed down. And there were only five dreams the entire summer. Now here she is, harried, frantic, driving upstate and back in two days, and she's dreaming.

652 days, 22 hours, 59 minutes, 47 seconds

Portrait of the happy couple: in a motel in Mystic, fireplace, furnished with antiques. The bed's so high he has to lift her up. The two of them sprawl amidst a dozen pillows, laptops buffered by a down comforter, surfing the Internet. It's their first experience with wi-fi. One of those Kodak moments.

652 days, 23 hours, 2 minutes, 32 seconds

They met by computer. No, not the dating sites so many others used, but in a computer users group, long before the Internet. They both had Kaypros, the old cp/m machines, luggable, the only one that could comfortably fit in her small apartment. Then she went away for the summer, wanted to call him but was afraid she'd be rejected. She knew if she called with a computer problem he'd be more than happy to talk with her. But she had to learn enough to have a real problem, so he wouldn't see through her ruse. Then she returned to the city, all but moved in with him, had her computer upgraded at his urging. It never worked after that.

652 days, 23 hours, 25 minutes, 3 seconds

Set it back to ground zero? Strange choice of words.

She remembers, the morning the towers fell, she'd just gotten up, turned on the computer, got a news alert saying second tower hit. Her husband called, asked her to call her father and his father, assure them they were alright. She said she'd do it in awhile. He said do it now, while there are still working phone lines. Then his friend from England called, didn't recognize her voice, hung up, called back.

She remembered this woman from years ago. The first time she ever felt competitive. Regarding him, at least. She was getting very mixed signals.

652 days, 23 hours, 46 minutes, 15 seconds

Twice in the past month she's thought, not about getting a new computer, but about setting this one back to ground zero and rebuilding it, without the port replicator this time. But, as her husband said more than once, she'd probably only screw it up with all that software she loads. Then the past few days it's seemed especially slow. Possibly due to her my pictures screen saver, which loads big files. So she sets one of the pre-loaded savers, hates it, sets a my pictures directory of smaller files, then takes it out altogether so she can run disk optimizer. She didn't think to put it back until tonight, then decided to download the Backwards Bush screen saver. Which, again, isn't set for daylight savings time. It's gotten so she doesn't know what to believe. Or who to trust. Love. Trust. She's still alone, up in the country, just for the one night. She wants to be home when her husband gets there. He's apologized for that computer comment, by the way. Calls her one of the best users. But she no longer believes him.