The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

January 6, 2004

Dispatch from Antarctica

Originally posted on Diary-X

Cold. Very, very cold. Finger-aching, sweater-and-coat–penetrating, nose-hair–freezing fucking cold. Today’s high will be 16 degrees. Very smart idea, breaking up with the college boyfriend who eventually moved to Alaska. It hurt at the time, but did it hurt as much as my face did this morning, after 15 minutes spent waiting for the damn train on that unprotected wind-magnet of a station platform? I think not.


Of course, once I boarded the train, I was rewarded for my suffering with the sight of a shabby older man, sitting with his briefcase in his lap, carefully applying a nice shade of coral-red lipstick to his cracked lips. He followed that up with a few coats of mascara, then attached a gaudy, dangling clip-on earring to his right earlobe. It all matched perfectly with his rumpled men’s clothing and week-old beard.


I witnessed an attempted mugging a few days ago. Nothing says “2004 is gonna be a great year!” more than seeing a crime committed at 6 p.m. on the sidewalk two blocks from your home. I was walking home from the el station after work, and I wasn’t the only one around—the neighborhood was fairly busy with pedestrians and cars. Suddenly, less than a block ahead of me, I saw three people bundled in winter coats jostling each other. One person fell into the street, and the others—they looked like teenagers—took off sprinting toward a nearby alley, into which they disappeared. The person lying in the street was crying “My God! Why, God? Why?” I jogged over to find a middle-aged woman—maybe 60 years old—clutching her large purse to her chest and struggling to get to her feet. She was unhurt, and they didn’t get her purse, but she was very shaken and upset. I put my arm around her and helped her up. I told her to call the police and report it. What else could I do? She spoke in a foreign accent—something Eastern European—and kept saying “My papers! They could have gotten my papers!” The whole incident left me pretty disturbed; I never thought this sort of thing would happen during rush hour so close to my quiet neighborhood el station. I’m gripping my bag a little tighter these days.


John and I made two Big Purchases last weekend (thanks, freelance work!): a digital camera and a loveseat. Post-Christmas is when the monster sales take place, so we timed our shopping accordingly. Our shiny new digicam (I keep seeing the words “digital camera” abbreviated in this manner, but I can’t say I like it) is a Canon Powershot A70, 3.2 megapixels. It’s a little bit point-and-shoot, a little bit SLR, and we love it. It provides me with a deep, abiding sense of glee, being able to take pictures of anything, at any time, then immediately view (and delete) them. I’m looking at everything differently now—as soon as we read the instructions and install the big memory chip that we bought, I’m bringing the camera to work, to capture all the sights that have illustrated my commute for the last two years.

The loveseat will finally solve the seating problem we have in our living room. As in, when we have two or more people over, there isn’t enough of it. The loveseat is made of dark-brown leather, and it was on sale, and it is luscious. It’s very modern, with clean, spare lines, and it’s a dream come true for John, who’s been pining away for a leather armchair since God knows when. (He would always point out the chairs in the Restoration Hardware catalog, which were priced around, oh, $1,300, and I would laugh and laugh. $1,300! For a chair! One person can fit in a chair. I’m sorry, I would say, but the comfort of your snobby ass is not worth $1,300.)


Simon, Garfunkel, and I took down the Christmas tree on Sunday. I placed their greatest hits in the CD player (how I love the song “America,” and of course “Bookends”—Time it was and what a time it was it was/A time of innocence, a time of confidences. Long ago it must be, I have a photograph/Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you) and slowly took down all the tree ornaments, boxing them up for next year. Snow was falling outside, big blowsy white flakes. Once the tree was devoid of all decorations, John picked it up and took it outside to the alley, the tree shedding its path of needly tears through our apartment. I took down our stockings, the red and green candles, the wooden nativity set. I always feel a bit hollow when the Christmas season ends—I remember feeling that way even as a girl. The living room seems so empty without that lit-up little spruce. Now begins the long, slow march of winter, and of tax season, and of no holidays until Memorial Day. It’d be easy for a girl to get depressed if she didn’t have a girls' reunion and her birthday (the big 28!) to anticipate in the coming weeks.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home