Being alone. Wasn't that the movie about the gardener named Chance? And it starred – not Alec Guinness but that chameleon actor whose name escapes me.
I can picture his name. I see fuzzy related words whizzing around it like satellites—ah, Peter Sellers (the actor, not the opera and stage director, who is an –ars Sellars, I think). Still, I picture that name escaping me, all those names and words escaping me. That gives it a very personal feel. "Escaping me" as if I were the villain to be fled. I see the front door of a grade school at 3:30, the children running out into the world like molecules rushing from . . . and what do molecules rush from? Got myself stuck here. I'd have to go into nano-sizes and nano-figures to get an answer to that.
So I'm back to being alone which in my mind, even though I now have the name of the actor, conflates with that other movie, the one where a simpleton becomes POTUS. And what was the name of that? I don't remember, but I did just remember that the Peter Sellers movie I'm thinking of was Being There, not Being Alone. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to memory.
Luckily, I don't much care about any of this, so I'm not going to fret over it. There are so many other things to fret over in this troubled world.
Being alone. Is that what Mama Cass sang in Gypsy? No, I'm thinking of "Being Alive" and that's not from Gypsy, I think. Maybe Applause. Or Mame. And it surely wasn't Mama Cass but Angela Lansbury? Or Ethel Merman?
Being alone. A little avoidance here? A hesitation to tackle the topic? I love being alone. A perfect week, for me, is a week when I have no appointments (good-bye writing group, good-bye qi-gung) for the whole five days, but my husband does have outside appointments so that he is gone from 9 to 5 every day. He will come home in the evening (I'm not ready to forego our lovely times together, but I do think back fondly to the days Before Retirement).
So how will I be spending this precious time alone? To my shame, I have to confess that I will probably waste it. My justification is already forming in my mind. It will take me that full week to decompress and get used to the pleasures of being alone. I won't start any projects. I won't do anything but sit and be happy. Can I say that I will read unceasingly? That I will eat homemade GF flatbreads with my almond butter? That I will top my bruschetta with chopped kale cooked with olive oil and garlic and currants and pine nuts? That I will wander through the house randomly swiping at this or that horizontal surface with a dust cloth?
It is obvious that I will need not one but two weeks of being alone. The first one will be like the first waffle: I will throw it away. But during that week I will be making my lists for the second week, when I will . . .
H'm-m. What sort of purgatory of production am I creating for myself? Must I make lists and DO things? What if I don't want to DO? Don't want to make a quilt or clean out a closet or write a poem or edit a book. What if I want to practice qi-gung all day instead. That's a flat-out lie. I know I won't be spending entire days in any form of meditation, no matter how much I like qi-gung.
Is there an ending to these thoughts? I believe I started with a paragraph on losing words, and yet I have managed to call up enough of them to fill four pages. Some day I will analyze my current writing and discover, to my chagrin, how frequently I use the same words. Over and over I "realize," "remember," "decide." And there are hundreds more that are repeated endlessly through my pages. What's the name of that lit-crit tool—oh yes: a concordance. A concordance of my writings over the past ten years would be a graphic revelation of how inexorably words are escaping me, with the result that I am left bereft, forlorn, and, indeed, alone.
Copyright 2014 Ann Tudor