Wednesday, March 26, 2008


OK, so there is a ton of stuff waiting for me to tackle it [such as resurrecting two years' worth of financial data which seems to have disappeared at some point in my latest hard-drive melodrama, and then taxes, and then... well, you get the picture...]. And here I am, using precious computer time to post to a blog read by a very small and loose-knit group of friends out there in the ether...

And who says we have passed out of the Age of Faith?
Not me.

Well, the work I was dodging all last month at my regular, morning job has just been officially moved to the front burner, though the deadline, thank God, is no longer this coming Monday. So I have only the teeniest bit of a bad conscience about dawdling about getting it up and running. I hate learning new software: there is something about having to learn to speak the machine's language that really gets my Goat... er, um, that is... goat.

Here is the somewhat more detailed report on our vacation:

It was a lot colder than I had been led to believe. I believe that that would be true even if I had not had a raging fever for the first few days after we got there. As we went walking through the streets of the capital [the Goat waxing rhapsodic, as he does about anything he cares for, Yours Truly included], the wind whipped through every layer I had brought with me, and as I tried to take in all the sights I knew I was meant to be registering through the haze of alternating freezing and frying temperatures, I knew that I was not going to be very presentable for a while.

The second day I got my first dose of New Friends ["Now they're your friends, too," is becoming something of a refrain, which grates only mildly on the non-fevered nerves]. These were the parents of one of the Goat's more memorable students, a beautiful young woman with nearly incapacitating lack of impulse control. They wined us and dined us and took us out to a show selected to be of interest to me, and I did my best to seem appreciative, which I was, and enthusiastic, which to be honest I was not. The Goat obviously felt that he had to make up for my silence, and went a little overboard in his expressions of joy. Well, at least I wasn't the one dragging a dead boyfriend around a foreign capital...

Then we rented a car and headed out for the sticks, where the Goat has his Home Away from Home. As the day went on, I spiraled further and further off into the haze, and by the time we actually got there [how could any country so small have places in it so far from anywhere?], I knew what I had to do: I crawled straight into bed and stayed there. All the Goat had to do for the next four or five days was to keep the blankets piled on top. I suspect that he also prayed that whatever it was wouldn't last all three weeks; to be fair, so did I. Whoever had the line to the deities, I did pull out of it in time to celebrate the end of our first week on vacation, and got up and took a shower. It felt like a declaration of independenceor of convalescence at least.

In the days that followed, he drove me all over his adopted province, and I tried very hard to polish off my high-school language capabilities so as to seem less than monosyllabic. [Every language I have ever met has apparently been thrown into a drawer labeled: "Foreign, But Not German," and I came up with a rather interesting mix of European languages that amused the locals no end. I suppose they considered it a parody of colonialism, or revenge for it, or something.]

The countryside was spectacular, if a leetle dry for my taste, and I am happy to say that his vacation home is by no means the smallest or the most primitive of his three modes of living. It has running water and a functioning bathroom, for all of which I was grateful.

In fact, gratitude was really the theme of our time together. I was grateful not to be sick anymore, I was grateful that he had been so sweet while I was so sick, and I was really grateful that we had such a good time together once I got myself together. We ate and drank ourselves silly, and the only [tiny] cloud on the horizon was that [for reasons a little too intimate to go into here, having to do with someone's tendency to suddenly start thrashing about and grunting while asleep] we could not share a bed. I guess I had had some idea that this would be one of our more acrobatic weekends strung out over three weeks. Well, it wasn't. What we had was great, but it was not the love-fest, or the love-nest, that I had been dreaming of. But it was, all things considered, a wonderful time, as I believe I have said elsewhere.

The first week of my resurrection was spent being introduced to more important local players in the Goat's local existence; a lot of the younger adults he has known since they were children, which is kind of fun. I am not particularly good at playing the Mother of the Groom [an aunt-in-law of mine once opined that all the MOTG had to do was "wear beige and smile a lot"], but I did my best not to seem completely out to lunch. If I concentrated really hard, I could follow most of the conversation, but I had to have a general clue of the subject matter or I got lost... [High school ended almost forty years ago...].

Then we went in to the province's "big town" for the beginning of the Easter processions. It took me about five minutes to realize that I was, for all of my Catholic leanings, a pretty hide-bound Protestant. We are not talking flagellants or Philippine crucifixions here, but the sense of sudden contact with something infinitely older than Christianity was palpable. There is less pagan tradition in the well-swept if arid realm of Protestantism, and stumbling upon it remains a little startling, no matter how well prepared I was, intellectually. The music alone was enough to make you wonder where you were: completely otherworldly, for all the delightfully "home-made" quality of the bands and their uniforms. And then there were the images. If Luther had had any idea what would come along in the following centuries, he would have put the attack on religious images on hold until they really got out of hand.

Well, the sincerity of devotion was real enough, and exerted an almost magically magnetic attraction. I think sincere devotion does that, for me at least, almost no matter by whom and to what...

A few more days back at the "ranch," one of which we spent on the beach [also not quite as near as advertised, but who's complaining? we left three feet of snow behind when we headed out...]. And then we had to start closing the house back up, saying goodbye to all the people we had just said hello to, and generally walking backwards through most of what we had done when we arrived. I did not, however, get sick again, so there were more opportunities for gratitude.

There was almost as much snow when we got home [especially out in the Big Woods, which are a lot higher than Nowheresville.] Not much cause for gratitude there, I'm afraid. Or for the drive back from NYC, in the course of which I nearly fell asleep, but managed to pass the steering wheel over before I did...

I was home alone by the time Easter Sunday itself came to an end, but the memory of the Goat's gentleness, patience, and attentions through it all remained, and remain with me still. What a prince. I am lucky, and not just on the Goat's 1-10 scale, with 1 being AIDS or living in Baghdad, either. How many of us find someone to love and to love us, at 55? let alone someone who seems to fit so many of the nooks and crannies of our twisted hearts? Life, however it plays out, is full of the stuff of miracles -- "such stuff as dreams are made on." My front door faces north, so there was an ice-floe of almost Biblical proportions waiting for me... no matter how warm it gets, it will be there for weeks to come... Come on, spring!

It is not too surprising that I got none of the work I took with me done.
The question is more why I keep thinking I will... time and again.

Well, the mess that is my finances awaits me.
Wish me luck.

And hang in there, all. I'm here to tell you:
Good times come if you can just hold on long enough...

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