I moved permanently into my study a few weeks before Steph and I decided that we would end our marriage. However, I’ve decided to take advantage of the long weekend to give the office a long overdue cleaning, which made me more Indiana Jones than Molly Maid. Before Steph and I sent the Google Document I cut and pasted into an earlier entry, Susie helped me move a twin mattress into the study. This is a small room, so when I’m not sleeping, I upend it against one wall, Murphy-bed style.
Pictures will follow. The project is not yet completed. I marvel at my ability to generate clutter. I am an incorrigible Oscar Madison, which is one reason why I’m sure that I’d be a bad roommate, as well as a bad spouse. The room is now a bachelor pad of sorts, and the phrase has two connotations. You either conjure the image of a total pigpen, barely fit for habitation, and the other is a lair for seduction (à la Glenn Quagmire on Family Guy). I’d like to strike a happy balance between the two.
I have never been much for elegantly decorated living quarters. The only reason I gravitate toward larger dwellings is because of my books. I know that there are such things as Kindles and iPads, but they’ll never take the place of the feeling of being surrounded by literally thousands of volumes.
Because of financial necessity, in my late teens and 20s, I often lived in single rooms, such as dormitories, rooming houses, or the YMCA. I was always willing to settle for less than optimal conditions in exchange for the chance to live alone. While I was moving crates of books, I found a copy of Straight Talk from Prison, the autobiography of Lou (“The Convict Writer”) Torok, written while he was at the Chillicothe Correctional Institute in the 1970s. In one of the early pages, there is a picture of Torok in his cell. The cell looked almost like the room I rented in the Elmwood Place neighborhood of Cincinnati:
I corresponded with Torok while he was confined
at the Luther Lockett Correctional Facility in
Kentucky (where he died in 2000). Ironic, when you
consider that one of the captions in the book said:
“Lou at work in his cell. Looming in the foreground,
his typewriter stands as a symbol of rehabilitation for
‘The Convict Writer.'” Guess not!
While switching this room over to full-time living quarters, I took another step away from tokens of marriage. On the wall to the left of my desk, I hang a large United States map that came from National Geographic. Next to that was a framed needlepoint that Steph gave me on St. Valentine’s Day 1997, just after we learned she was pregnant with Susie. It says: “Paul, You are my forever Valentine.” I’ve put that in a drawer, and replaced it with a Beatles poster (the Abbey Road cover) which came from the Really, Really Free Market last Sunday.
I went to the Main Library downtown yesterday, and realized, after I checked online, that I needed to pick up something at Whetstone as well as downtown. I thought about hoofing it the whole way (a little over six miles), but I didn’t because the temperature was in the 50s, and I wore a short-sleeved shirt. So, for want of a hoodie…
And I wish I had walked it, autumn temperatures or no. I rode most of the way up High St. on the bus with a guy who worked with me at Medco, and had a reputation as the plant’s resident malcontent. He no longer has the job–mostly because of his being himself a little too often–but he still has a chip on his shoulder the size of the Leveque Tower about the place. He holds me in awe because I was able to go “over the wall” and escape to a better job.
I needed a big walk today, and even though it’s midnight right now, I’m thinking about walking to and from Whetstone Library as soon as I publish this entry. (That’s about 4½ miles round trip.) I found some CDs that aren’t overdue yet, but I’d better return them before they’re buried again.
I needed a big walk because I had a big breakfast. Most of the congregation of First Unitarian Universalist Church is at the Labor Day retreat in the Hocking Hills. This is also the last three-day weekend that will feature really nice weather, so when I considered those two factors, I knew church would be a ghost town this morning. So, Susie and I went to breakfast at the Clintonville Resource Center, where I generously partook of sausage casserole, scrambled eggs, potatoes, apple juice, and a pastry. Not only did Susie eat less than I did, she burned most of it off working in their garden planting carrots and radishes. I walked back with her and then took a siesta for several hours in the afternoon. By comparison, I had a small and late dinner of two tuna sandwiches and milk.
According to the icon from The Weather Channel on my monitor, it’s 57 degrees outside. So I’ll dress sensibly for the walk–either a hoodie or a windbreaker. Monday also marks the end of the season at Olympic Swim and Racquet Club, and Susie wants to be there, even if she’s digging slush out of her ears after the final dive. (Last year, when they announced the pool was closing for the season, a lot of the kids joined hands and dove en masse into the pool from the sides, which is a no-no per the pool’s rules.)
Susie and I were last there Thursday evening, after Steve came over to help Susie with her geometry homework. (He ended up as baffled as she was, although he did better than I did.) I had brought my Memorex MB1055 cassette recorder along, because I was in the midst of taping a letter to a friend. (The friend doesn’t have a microcassette recorder, so I didn’t bring Diane.) Yes, recording a letter from poolside smacks of John Cheever, but I wanted it to be in the mail before the long weekend. I didn’t get very far, because the lifeguards decided to blare the OSU-Marshall football game over the loudspeakers. They tuned the radio to 97.1 FM The Fan and put the microphone up against it. I couldn’t concentrate with that blasting in my ear, and I’m sure my friend wouldn’t be able to pay attention to me with that in the background.
And so to walk…