Tuesday, April 3, 2007

all this useless beauty

I have been thinking a lot about the past lately, and I hope this is not going to turn into some kind of giant emotional episode, but I am not making any promises. Winter is not giving up the ghost, and I am listening to Elvis Costello, and I just finished this book, which was the best book I have read in months but also, simulaneously, the emotional equivalent to being kicked in the kidneys. I mean it. I have literally spent the past hour crying. So I am not in a position to make promises.

When I was small my grandmother lived in a high-rise, and her mail would be in this tiny metal cubby in a giant bank of tiny metal cubbies in the lobby. When I stayed over at her house, one of the greatest pleasures of my day was going downstairs to check the mail. I would perform this task an unnecessary number of times each day. In retrospect, I think it was a combination of factors that combined to make mail-checking so fun for me: 1. I have always liked cubbies of all sizes. 2. because the door was solid metal, you never knew if there was going to be mail inside until you opened it. 3. this task involved me being entrusted with keys, and riding the elevator alone, so it felt like an adventure--not on any kind of Indiana-Jones-scale, but still, I was 7.

At the time the thrill of checking the mail could hardly be matched. What happened to me--I became an adult and nothing fun is fun anymore? I lost track of that, not the mail-checking specifically, but the capacity to be incredibly pleased by the mundane. My standards were gloriously low in those days. I now live in a high-rise myself, and my mail arrives in this tiny metal cubby. I should be down there checking it RIGHT NOW. You never know when there is going to be mail.

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