Frost circus, Portland

Peeling potatoes I took off my finger tip and imagined a piece of it there among the red bliss skins in the sink, something small and pink you’d find on a beach. But it got me out of cooking, and I sat on the couch with a beer trying to remove myself from the pain, sending garish texts, exaggerating.

I was almost done with a speech for my client’s boss, a Colombian woman talking about diversity and inclusion to 400 people in her division. Her life, whittled down to five slides. Trying to make it sound like her and not like a speech, more natural.

I went to Portland for two days: me and Loren nearly 50, still acting like we did when we met in the 5th grade (just with booze). Having animated discussions about commas, the fact that no one appreciates or uses them right, commas. Taking pictures of moss-covered walls and walking across the bridge, into the old town. Driving home Monday, a mixture of frost and fog, the same moody ride up the 5 feeling sad and sentimental about my kids, my wife, my life.

Loren, telling the story of a poly-amorous colleague who sends him suggestive texts hinting they should get together: one, describing a date with an online guy she met: “no PV-penetration, but after a lot of effort he managed to satisfy me / then he tells me he works on the side as an elf on a Christmas train, has written an essay about it he thinks is profound / with long pauses, expecting a response.” I had to ask, what PV-penetration means?

My dentist texted, with all the snow they’ve been delayed at the lab / we have to reschedule your appointment to get the night-guard fitted. And it was weird, getting a text directly from my dentist—I said the pain was getting worse, and thought I could make a play for pain killers, but decided I was above that.

I packed my things from Loren’s, sleeping in his son Arthur’s room, put the stuffed animals back where they were on the small bed, noting the pictures and toys…and I felt sad and far away from my own past, from my kids…unable to really connect with either, feeling I should.

Categories: Memoir, parenting, writing

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18 replies

  1. Hasn’t essay-writing about Christmas elfing already been fully played.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I usually bleed myself with those nasty graters, trying to make potato pancakes. Adds a bit of protein and helps the mix clot nicely, and if it’s bad enough, just call it Blutwurst, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Bill, This is another thoughtful post. I enjoy reading about your reflections on life. You represent the pain of the human condition well, here; the physical and the emotional. On some level, the dentist perhaps signifying an underlying sense of imminent doom or threat? Or, is that just how I feel about my own dentist?! Certainly there’s something about approaching fifty, too. Great writing, as ever. Dean.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Potpourri.
    This past fall, I took our long-ignored print version of the in-house style guide and set up a web version, with categories and the works. Yesterday, I managed to configure something so that it’s now searchable, an improvement I proudly announced to faculty. I anticipate traffic going from 0 to 10 times that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s fantastic! Got to love the style guides. Like, a nerd’s version of the world and reality. Our bible of sorts. Congrats! Liked your post about the recovery and happy that’s going well. No news is good news. Will never look at walnuts the same, though.

      Liked by 1 person

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