Monday, February 27, 2012

idling

No food! I made four things in the last two days, not counting some highly medicinal spinach with garlic and lemon that was universally craved after an unpleasant flight home, and all four were flops. I cooked and cooked as dinnertime approached tonight, and still began to feel we were heading for a pizza. I was right. I seem to have forgotten how to cook, so I am going to distract you (and me) with other things.


Last night I had the occasion to yap to someone about the John Irving book A Prayer For Owen Meany. It is not unusual to hear me spouting off about some book or another, either in a rah-rah fashion or more of a poo-poo, but I am especially passionate about this one (rah-rah), because it sustained me through a period of agitated and interminable waiting many years ago. I was stuck in a location I very badly wanted to leave, and could not get a flight out of for 18 hours, and had no desire or ability to explore while I waited. So I read. It occurred to me, as I burrowed into the story, to wonder how people wait when they are not readers.


Thanks to the charmed life I had led to that point, it did not occur to me to wonder how you wait when the level of stress of the waiting makes it unthinkable that you could follow a storyline, or even a sentence, from start to finish, but I have since encountered it. Sometimes knitting serves in this type of situation, because if it is the right kind of knitting you only have to pay attention one stitch at a time, and it keeps your lap warm in the meantime.


One of my good friends is an Olympic-level reader (the quantity that she reads excelled only, in my acquaintance, by the friend who has chronic and severe insomnia) and she was doing that kind of waiting today. She was waiting for her child to come out of surgery. Even she could not read under these circumstances. She also could not knit, under these or any other circumstances. She is one of my most ardent supporters in this venture here, and yet she disagrees with almost everything I have to say, particularly the parts about the satisfaction and relaxation that proceed from making things yourself. The very prospect of making something herself, in the kitchen or in any other room, makes her anxious and unhappy. She told me so again today, perhaps suspecting that I might suggest she lose herself in a tatting project while waiting for the doctor to come out and give her a report. I had no such notions, of course.


But when she said that she was relieving tension by thinking of all the things she was not making, I did compose a little guided meditation for her. She wanted me to make it widely available because maybe someone else in the world would feel the knots leave their neck muscles when they read it, and considering that she almost never asks for anything, and considering the whole forgetting-how-to-cook thing, I am doing as she asks.

Not Crafting: A Meditation


You are not halfway through needlepointing the second of a set of 12 new seats for the dining room chairs.


You won't waste precious time worrying over the choice between felting new Christmas stockings for the whole family and knitting them.


It will not fall to you to prepare tiny canap├ęs or ├ęclairs for a crowd.


No sock darning is on the horizon.

Is your immediate area free of rubber stamps and gel pens? Thought so.


You will never need to purchase or borrow a set of aspic cutters.


It’s highly unlikely that the need to find a glue stick will come up before you get to bed.


IT TOTALLY DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU KNOW WHERE TO GET PINKING SHEARS.



Maybe tomorrow I will remember how to cook.



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