Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weariness Is As Weariness Does...

Goodness, I'm tired.

Went to the gym today, in spite of my current spate of moustache loss-related self-loathing.  I keep expecting people to burst into uncontrollable guffaws when they see me.  This hasn't happened.  Yet.

From the inside, of course, I still look the same as always.  I used to tell my students that, when I was still teaching, and it really was true -- I was only reminded of who I'd actually become when I'd go into the restroom, and be confronted with the face of an old man...  But the ideas inside seem much the same, and the interests and peeves, preferences and aversions.  So I went about my routine at the gym in much the same way as always.  It was only when it was time to do one of the loathsome leg exercises that I came face-to-whose-face-is-that with myself, in the big mirror across the room.  Squinting and blurring my eyes didn't help much. 

Well, even John said he's found my new visage disconcerting -- he's been listening to the voice, which sounds exactly the same, but without really turning around to see who's talking. 

After my workout, I just had time to stop for a cup of extraordinarily strong coffee at a place down the street from Starbux, and then came home to get ready for this evening's orchestral concert, down in New Brunswick, at Christ Church.  We went to the Skylark Diner for a meal before the program -- we were both disappointed with our meals, which is unusual, at least for me, there.  Maybe the real cook is out sick or something.

The concert was wonderful -- The New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Mark Hyczko.  There were four works, and I spent some time crying during the more searching moments, especially a set of variations by Astor Piazzola -- his musical language is alternatingly yearning and spicy.  As the music unfolded, I found myself thinking of all the wonderful creative gifts with which I've been blessed, and how slovenly I've been, in nurturing these, in a way that might be beneficial, either to me or to others.  Of course, vows of self-improvement made under the spell of cello music aren't known for being particularly easy to keep.  We'll see what happens, won't we?

After the concert was over -- standing ovation for all concerned, quite well-deserved, I thought -- I got to touch, ever so briefly, the violin soloist's Guarnieri.  I was sure she wouldn't let me.  I guess I looked harmless enough.  I wondered if this was perhaps the most valuable item that had ever been in that space.  During the post-concert reception, I found out that I don't have to drive a fellow parishioner down to Philadelphia on Thursday after all -- meaning I have one more entire day during which to avoid doing any meaningful work on the sculpture I both want to see finished, and would just as soon push out into the middle of the street, so one of the cars that come speeding through in the morning will reduce it to a twisted mess of copper tubing and not much else.  Or at least this is how it seems at this moment.

Tomorrow, I'll be at Christ Church again, to sing for the 10:30 Eucharist service with one of John's choirs, and then as soon as the service is over, I'll dart out the door and drive like a madman, up to Branchburg, to catch the tail end of the Combat Paper adventure -- Eli and David spent a week at Walter Reed Hospital recently, and we haven't heard about the experience yet.  I'm feeling a little stuck, with regard to my book project -- I need at least to start another print, or get serious about rewriting the existing text, so it'll look better on the page.  Or something. Maybe I'll take some of my pink fabric, and see about creating some more pulp, to make more paper.  So far, I think I have six sheets, and I only need about... 114 more.  That's a lot of handmade paper...

Well, it occurs to me that there's precious little here that's of real consequence.  I might have been better off, transcribing the notes I made, waiting for the concert to begin, and waiting afterwards, for John to be ready to head home.  Of course, I was still bemoaning my aversion to my new face, and the lengths to which I might feel compelled to go, to assuage this seemingly unstoppable negative reaction to the part of my body that's hanging off the front of my head and holding my brain in.  How someone with such low self-esteem, and such a poor self-image, can be so wrapped up in his appearance, is really a mystery to me.  How odd, that I've spent so much effort, over the course of my life, to try to look my best, even though I've not so secretly believed that my best wasn't anything particularly wonderful.  A friend of mine used to say that paradoxes are inherently true.  Perhaps this is an example of this maxim.

And now, having fulfilled my self-imposed discipline of writing something -- anything -- each day for the coming year, I'm going to excuse myself and drag myself off to bed.  Morning, and travel, and parading down the center aisle of the church, with my naked face showing, await.  And will arrive, I'm afraid, all too soon.

©   2013            Walter Zimmerman

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