Yesterday I was in my second-hand store Doubletake – where last week I found one of the nicest coats I’ve ever had, red mohair/alpaca, and yesterday an adorable Spiderman lunch-bucket, no, I don’t have a problem with shopping, no – when, horrors, the Christmas music started. It’s not even American Thanksgiving yet, and there it is, saccharine dripping from the speakers. Even John Lennon’s Christmas song sucks, and Paul’s too. Not that I shop a lot at this time of year, but when I do, I’ll have a major stash of earplugs at the ready, to drown out the capitalist assault.
Speaking of capitalism, saw an ad in a women’s mag at the Y. “My boyfriend dumped me via text,” it says, and underneath, the command “FILL THE VOID” and a picture of a red handbag for only $1250. I’ve never seen it stated quite that baldly before: Fill the void with stuff. As I fill mine on an almost daily basis, only cheaply – my coat was $18 and the Spiderman lunch-bucket was $2. And will go to some lucky child. If I can bear to give it away. No, I don’t have a problem.
Problems in Ottawa are clearing up, to my extreme relief. My mother has been accepted into the Duke of Devonshire retirement residence, which despite its cheesy name is apparently one of the best of its kind. Everyone we talked to says, and we ourselves felt, that the staff are compassionate and the atmosphere warm; the woman in the hospital bed next to Mum’s has lived there for 4 years and loves it. Knowing that soon Mum will be settled in exactly the right place for this next stage of her life, however long it lasts, is a vast weight lifted.
This week: an event at U of T for the Random House publishing contest winners, including my student Rob who came second. Free food and wine and a celebration of writing – fun times. My grandson is six months old on Wednesday. On the same day, my son is going to the funeral of his friends’ parents, the friend who discovered his father hanging from the rafters in the basement and cut him down, only to find his mother dead too. The stuff of nightmares.
Feel the breath entering the lungs. Lucky, living.