I was in my own perfect, tall, white big bed. Encased in a downy warmth, I feel the top of my linens with my hands and they are crisp and coldish; that is just what I love. The window adjacent cracked open six inches has been open all night. One of the dominant window styles of the twenties and thirties; it is in an iron casement and set into wood that pushes up to open. They make a lot of noise while opening, but wow, do they open up. The warm spring zephyrs blowing down onto my face and shoulders are heavenly, I am leaden and this is a rousing more luxurious than anything [almost].
So peaceful. Looking around my room in my quiet, recumbent state I notice only my feelings. Thoughts are lagging behind, so now I can only feel. Awash with a confluence of emotions: a strong sentimental feeling that resembles sadness, but not quite tragic, a very deep longing for something different, and a grace about my physical things.
As one who is comforted by pleasure- I respect and acquire very fine things. Expense is not necessarily a consideration. Quality is. These sheets are superfine. This art is beautiful. This place is so comfortable- both for me and those who come and *share the space (even if for a minute or two). These possessions have a story, a friend, a lover, a foe attached to them. It is then I realize with absoluteness that leaving it, this stuff (well, most of it)- parting with these objects and this residence is only to open up a space for a new beauty a new life with refreshed things and people. I am the pleasure. I inject the love and care and into my space and my life creates this warmth from which I am feeling a separation. There is no separation, only movement. To understand that is true luxury, true comfort.
When I look into the mirror I see that something has changed. I have freckles on my face today, I did not have them on Monday.
I spent a wealth of time outside in the sun yesterday with my young ward. And then again, in a cafe with an enormous sliding window that opened completely. Sitting by it, I caught every single last ray of sun the day had to offer.
“[T]he American romance with making actual things is going through a resurgence. In recent years, a nationwide movement of do-it-yourself aficionados has embraced the self-made object. Within this group is a quixotic band of soldering, laser-cutting, software-programming types who, defying all economic logic, contend that they can reverse America’s manufacturing slump. America will make things again, they say, because Americans will make things — not just in factories but also in their own homes, and not because it’s artisanal or faddish but because it’s easier, better for the environment and more fun.”
Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future. -Coco Chanel
Well, that is what he said people called him, “people also call me Chuck”. I spent a good part of the early morning hours today with Chuck Link, the plumber.
The basement flooded yesterday evening (via the building’s 1920’s plumbing)so my plans for luxurious bath-taking & laundry-doing were thwarted, which was fine. It turned out to be a lovely night anyway sans bath, but with a raw salad per moi and margaritas made by my lovely doll of a girlfriend, Mae. The food and cocktail matched, it was a whimsical (though elegant still) pairing.
I digress- Chuck is from Park Slope Brooklyn, from a long line of plumbers.
“Third generation! Three generations of drain cleaners, it’s a family business. Father, brother, uncles. This business has paid for multiple a college tuition, houses, weddings, you name it.”
I asked him questions about plumbing- trying to turn this *shitty experience into an educational one.
“What do you think is jamming it all up?”
“Well, the plumbing is pretty old, I love old buildings. And, I noticed there are a lot of ladies living in this building.” [True. Every tenant but Kyle, who lives on the top floor is female.]
It was great, listening to his heavy Brook-lyn accent, he looked so out of place in my apartment with his giant stature and plumbing machine and heavy dripping boots [from rain, I don’t think he wiped his feet properly before entering] and blue tarps covering all of my beautiful delicate soaps and lotions and perfumes and white linens and seashells. I enjoyed his friendly chatty disposition and out of place presence immensely. We talked about work- turns out, he was a preschool teacher in the Bronx in the 80’s and wanted to become an elementary school teacher but didn’t feel there was enough money in it. So, into the family business he went. As a ‘drain cleaner’ (that’s what he calls himself- it makes me think of how I always get confused about the title for an airline stewardess or is it flight attendant, now?) …anyway, as a drain cleaner, he makes one-hundred and seventy-five dollars per hour.
I stuck around long as it was stomachable. Played National Public Radio loud enough from the living room for him to hear the up-to-date information about the recent American assassination of terrorist group leader, Osama Bin Laden.
“Do you want some coffee? How do you take it?”
“How do you take it?”
“I asked you first.”
“Okay, maybe a latte, with just a little hazelnut. But, wait- can you do nonfat? I gave up milk over a year ago and I’ve been drinking almond milk and you know, that Silk, I lost twenty-five pounds since then.”
“No problem, I take nonfat as well.” I ordered coffee with a splash of steamed milk, to better adhere to our shared dietary restrictions, he might not have noticed, but I’m sure he’d appreciate the gesture.
By the time I returned, he had retrieved the blockage. It was a giant rat shaped root all tendrily and wicked looking. He said the roots can sense the water and make their way to the pipe to feed on the sewage. After a little thought, it occurred to me that, this means I am in that tree, actually in it. We all are really *one, aren’t we? Here’s to universal consciousness.
In my few hours without plumbing (listen, it’s been a while since I’ve camped), it became clear how much I appreciate his service and how excellent he is and how important his job is (really), to fix my plumbing. It is such a banal, everyday thing that is absolutely integral to my comfort and hygiene, and one that I, and I’m sure many others take for granted. That is, until we’re in a *shitty place. Cheers to working modern plumbing.
Key: (*)= literal