Tuesday, February 3, 2015

the dusting

Thanks this week to Sarah, for chocolate.

It snowed here. Just the tiniest bit. I'm jealous of my mother up in Boston because I love snow storms, the big ones, they turn regular cities full of regular people into cities filled with hyper children. I think about dad in the drafty house in Vermont, alone during the week when my mother's at work. I picture him down in the kitchen, making his tea and squinting out the window as fat white flakes swallow the road. He might consider the view for a few moments, VPR classical on the radio, before slumping back up the stairs to his office, hoisting up his pants with one hand so he doesn't step on the cuffs, the tea cup rattling in the saucer. He'll be stuck for a few days.

Here in Asheville we only got a little, a dusting we'd call it back home, but down south it was enough to let the kids out of school early, enough to make the bread vanish off of the shelves.

My photographer friend wanted to shoot bikes in the snow, and the great jaws of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Chem 132 Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory had just released me with a few hours to spare. We went over to Richmond Hill and rode through a forest that looked just like a backdrop for the Royal Ballet.
Derek DiLuzio Photography
That was a cold and slippery and magnificent break from the routine.

The routine that is school (still), me and grinning Billy and the rest of the class memorizing tables of hydronium ion concentrations and streaking E.coli across petri dishes. I have a morose and chaotically unorganized professor, one who likes to talk about famous molecular biologists in history having sex with each other. "Doing it," he calls it. He'll pull up an illustration of a cloaked man peering into a microscope and say, "Look at that guy. He just can't wait to get to a dinner party with some other scientists and then they're all going to do it." Then he'll pause for a moment, finding enormous enjoyment in the idea, if enjoyment is really the right word, while the whole class sits in silence and looks at him, expectantly.

That professor has been late to every class except one, when he didn't show up at all. A terrible car accident on I-26 caused a horrific back up that he was stuck in it, him and the rest of the school. Almost nobody made it to class that day, including me, although I had a different reason. I was shuttling around my uncle who lives in Caracas and plays Oboe in the Venezuelan National Orchestra. My uncle was in town because he's on a US tour with the Mexican National Orchestra (he's moonlighting) and one day after a particularly frustrating performance, he pulled off his bow tie with such force that it ripped in half, so I had to take him to buy another. A white bow tie.

I wasn't caught in the traffic jam but I did see it from an overpass; a long snake of cars, unmoving, and a little squad of policemen zipping around shaking flags at them, even though they had no where to go. A friend of mine said he witnessed the accident. He said a flatbed truck did a couple of flips and then the driver flew out of the window and his guts 'sort of flopped out' onto the road.

That's the thing, that shit can happen. And we just plod along as if it can't. But if I think about that too much then I'll be up all night with my stomach clenched in on itself like a prune. That actually happened to me the other night. I kept watching those little ASMR videos of a girl melting soap and sorting legos, but they didn't do the trick. I couldn't fall asleep, nor could I get my stomach to release, so when morning finally came I just sat up, the way vampires sit straight up in their coffins. Time to start another day even though I never ended the last one.
I decided not to apply to nursing school this year, even though I'm finally wrapping up the prerequisites. Roots has offered me a few more assignments and I'm going to try and write full time. I will apply to the program in a few years, but David assured me that for now, we will have enough money to keep food on the table and a house to put the table in. It still feels like a risk. "I'm rolling the dice!" I crooned, on the day the application was due and I had not done it. He responded, "You're not really rolling anything."

Which leads me to our next decision, an obvious one, to get married this summer and not the next. Two weeks ago David and I sat on the porch, I made mimosas, and we had this long and very adult conversation about not rushing things, and using the next year and half to Celebrate and Self Reflect, and we felt very smug and satisfied with how mature we were. Until the next day when we both realized we wanted to get married and we wanted to have a party as soon as possible and to hell with the rest.

There was an opening for one weekend at a little Vermont inn and we snatched it up. So now while grinning Billy is dutifully jotting down the Seven Strong Acids and flashing me his brilliant metal smile every few minutes, I'm scribbling little notes like Steak or Chicken? and striking up deals with God in my head, you know the type, Hey, if you can just keep everyone alive and safe, forever, but especially until after my wedding, I promise I'll turn into that type of person who traps spiders in cups and brings them outside. I feel like it should mean more from me, being an atheist. I don't pray often, mostly airplanes and family events, so when I do it should count.

Flowers- Colleen? I write in the margin of my notebook. Cake- no matter. Boxed? And then I pause, and scribble down: Call mom. Remind her to wear seatbelt. At least, when a city is buried in snow, nobody is on the roads. Still- and I'm thinking about the eviscerated man and how he backed up traffic for miles- still, it's worth a call.
Come along. Follow us on Instagram @melinadream


Beth said...

I'm so glad you took a chance, rolled the dice, but as Dave said, you're not rolling anything. You're doing the thing that makes you happy. Hold on to that for as long as you can.

I quit my awful soul-sucking job in December and so I get to be a full time writer for a bit. I'm low on money, and this may not last forever, but this time, NOW, is important. I'm going to make something of it.

So glad to see you are, too.

Suzie said...

Oh Melinda!! That post, it makes so happy even with the terrible accident. Marriage, life decisions, do what your heart wants. Have a wonderful day and enjoy the dusting. We've even got a dusting here in Chester (UK!) xx

Carey King said...

Can I be honest, I don't get the point of long engagements. I mean we were engaged for 10 months which is still very long but honestly being engaged just sort of feels like you're waiting to get something done before starting your life.. So I say good choice:)
Also, I'm always of the opinion that following a dream is worth way more than a fat income so I think its awesome you're writing:)
Best of luck on the wedding planning, honestly if you have a dress and venue and your friends and family are there the rest is just a pretty backround:)

Erin Macauley said...

As the say...seize the crap out of the day.
Your gut always knows right. Except when your mind turns it into a prune. But that's the mind's fault, not the gut's.

adventurekate said...

The little dusting that frosts the world and makes that early February gray a little more palatable. It's a perfect excuse to go play, and a that single track looks like a pretty perfect venue.

Thanks for the update. You dropped the sapphire bomb and then left us hangin'!

Jill said...

This is one of my favorite posts ever. You have a way of making the ordinary extraordinary. I love you for that. This post seems to mirror my own life, in a way. My husband and I had a similar conversation, only about kids. The time seems right but it seems like such a risk, an impossible chance to make such a huge decision. How can one be rational about it? Talk about rolling the dice. So we decided- let's wait two more years. And then we looked at each other and knew we couldn't wait that long. Because sometimes waiting is not the answer.

meg bird said...

"Until the next day when we both realized we wanted to get married and we wanted to have a party as soon as possible and to hell with the rest."

I just love your life. Or the way you see your life and share it with your words. No pretty and pretentious posts consisting of a new outfit for Spring and distressed furniture. Just your real actual thoughts regarding your real actual life.

I'm happy to hear you are going to try to write full time. Even if it doesn't work out long term (which it SHOULD), I don't think you'll regret it.

Anonymous said...

The way you pull all the things together at the end. I think you're brilliant.

Karen said...

I got engaged 8 years ago in March, and got married 5 months later in August. Our engagement was short, very sweet and to the point. We wanted to be married and it's not that I didn't care about the details, it's just that the color of the bridesmaids dresses and the centerpieces and should there be a groom's cake raelly didn't matter much in the face of: we're going to married!. I made decisions quickly, had a lot of help from my mom and mother-in-law and kept things low key which suited us just perfectly. It helped me stay focussed on married life rather than the wedding.

We got a dog as a wedding gift for each other.

Our dog, two kids, a house-turned-home and several jobs later, and I don't regret a moment. My wedding was awesome. I remember thinking that day that it was the most perfect and special day that I had ever experienced. And the life that has grown out of that day just keeps getting better.

Cheers to a short engagement followed by a long marriage!!!!

Sarah said...

Congrats on making big decisions!! Nursing school will always be there....embrace the opportunity to write full time!! And I can't wait to hear how your wedding planning goes! So fun!!

Lisa said...

Congrats on making those decisions! I knew my husband less than a year before we were married (talk about a short engagement!), and we have been married for 12 years now! And I say, go after that writing! You can do it! Do what makes you happy! Take care!

Destiny said...

Yes, yes, yes! Get married, don't wait. As they say in When Harry Met Sally, "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible!"
My husband and I planned our itty-bitty wedding in 3 weeks. It was the sweetest afternoon in Hot Springs, NC. Best of luck to you. It will be perfect no matter what!!

Erin said...

So so so so good! Loved this post. You're freaking adorable with just the right sprinkle of neurotic flavor crystals. I mean that in the most loving way. P.s. The sooner you guys get hitched the sooner you can start tallying up the years until your 50th anniversary!

QueenTage said...

Yay for summer weddings! I'll be celebrating the wedding of a close friend in June. I got married in the bleak cold of November (don't get me wrong, I love the bleak cold) so it's always fun to celebrate with friends that do just the opposite.