Ezra Pound’s parody “Ancient Music” seems so appropriate today, even though the winter solstice is still two weeks away–and I’ve used it before, back when this blog was still on LiveJournal. The first wave fell yesterday, and we had a small respite from additional snowfall today. This is, I understand, the calm before the storm. According to the meteorologists I’ve seen on TV and online, Columbus is due to get slammed again tomorrow.
I took what turned out to be a minor fall Friday morning when I was walking out of my place to the bus stop, thinking the front walk was just wet, not icy. In the end, I hurt nothing but my pride, but it was painful enough for me to call off from work, down some Naproxen, and sleep for much of the morning. When I got out of bed, I was not walking like an old lady, like I was immediately after the fall, but I was walking more slowly than usual.
The juxtaposition was not lost on me. On Tuesday, the mercury climbed into the 60s, so I rode the trike to work. It took about 45 minutes, and I felt invigorated when I made it downtown. (A trike ride, even when I undertake it reluctantly, does improve my mood and my overall spirit. I have often wondered if my mental health insurance will reimburse me for it. Futile, I know.)
I didn’t ride home until Wednesday night, because I had to head home early to meet the guys from Beavis & Butt-head Appliances, Inc., who were delivering my new washer and dryer. (I live diagonally across from a Laundromat, but with my own equipment, I have the freedom to do my laundry at 2 a.m. in my bathrobe, if I so choose, or not to take it immediately out of the dryer.) All they would promise was that the appliances would be at my place between 4 and 6 p.m., which entailed leaving work early, all so those these two could arrive at 6:30. I could not christen my new machines until the following night, because the dryer did not come with a vent hose.
The trike spent Tuesday night in the BWC garage, and then on Wednesday, I rode it home. I knew the weather was going to change, and if I didn’t ride it home Wednesday, the bike would spend all winter in the garage.
And Thursday morning, I attempted to walk to work. I got about two-thirds of the way before it began raining too hard for me to continue. I rode a bus for the final mile, and then worked until 5, hearing more and more ominous stories about the storm.
What is remarkable is that I managed to do a fair amount of walking today without falling. Since I have accepted the fact–kicking and screaming–that I am middle-aged, I also know that part of this involves the fact that falls can be much more dangerous and have much more negative long-term effects than they did when I was younger. Today, I vowed not to confine myself to quarters, so I loaded up my black over-the-shoulder bag with the laptop, two books, my journal, and the typescript of a long untouched manuscript that I am rewriting, and went to Kafé Kerouac, a walk of 0.8 miles. Never has it seemed so long, so difficult. The ice was melting in some places, but the bulk of the trip was on slick and bumpy ice surfaces. Even though I was wearing tennis shoes, I felt myself about to slip several times when I put the soles of my feet on the ground. (I am sure that if I had been wearing dress shoes, I would definitely have fallen.)
Adding to my worries was what would happen if I did fall. Hurting myself would be bad enough, but I was mortally afraid of landing on the laptop and ruining it as well. There were points along the journey when I was hanging onto street signs, shrubs, and garbage cans just to keep stable.
I did get a fair amount of work done while I was at Kafé Kerouac. I finished the first chapter of the manuscript, and read a chapter of Grant’s Final Victory, the story of the last year of Ulysses S. Grant’s life, his sudden poverty, and the writing of his Personal Memoirs.
Earlier this week, I came home from work and found a large, but light-as-a-feather, parcel sitting on my front porch. This was major good news, since lately my letter carrier seems to deliver mail only when the mood strikes him. Inside, mummified in plenty of bubble wrap and balled-up newspapers, was a Simplex toy typewriter. Novelist Robert Lowry died on December 5, 1994, 19 years ago Thursday. He began writing at the age of seven, when he asked Santa Claus for a typewriter, and found it under the tree that Christmas.
The Simplex, which I bought on eBay, was the vintage of the model he received. There is one key, and the operator turns a big rubber wheel to the desired character, and presses the big key so that it prints on the paper below. (This machine is non-functional, and has not been inked in decades. I have no plans to try to get it to work; it’s in my office as a conversation piece, and as an inspiration.)