blues en mineur

WHAT KIND OF DAY is today? Today is the day when I find myself sitting back in the Nepalese restaurant waiting on an order while Sigrid recounts how one of the chefs of a rival restaurant recently died of a heart attack at a premature age because he overworked himself, and how one of their own chefs had to be taken to the hospital for working too hard. Sigrid is older, a grandmother, but energetic and an advocate of self love. “After all, what are you going to do with all that money if you die before you can spend it?” Point taken. The airplanes, hotels, trams, late-night caffeine infusions: type, type, type. This frenetic pace that eats you into your grave, because where else could it lead? Did you really think that after working your body and mind to the bone, you would magically awake at 50 or 60 with a satchel full of lucky charms beside you, a one-way ticket to paradise, and enough energy to warm the Antarctic Research Station in cold winter? It’s never going to happen, and that’s why it was good to get a bit of a reality check from Sigrid with her platinum Viking braid. What else is new? I read an interview with Wes Anderson, the film maker, who discussed reverse emigration of Americans to Europe, of which I suppose I am an example, and also all of his favorite films, which he found time to watch, even while directing great films, while I was writing something, whatever it was, it’s already published, done, gone, over and out, and waiting on my order of Nepalese food, this time the mixed vegetables. I was working on a short story directly inspired by the real-life death of the priest I used to work with as a teenager, who, it is now alleged, was also sexually harassing young men on the side, though I never experienced such harassment. But what to call the priest? I keep thinking of Boston’s Faneuil Hall for some reason, or is that too New England for a Long Islander? He needs a solid, Yankee name, I tell you, and a personal island, a family island, gifted to his line from King Charles II himself, in a moment of post-Cromwellian giddy glee. These are the ideas I am sketching into my notebook while Sigrid talks about masks, viruses, and health inspections. “But viruses have always been around and will always be around,” she says. “There is little we can do about this.” I am getting a bit tired of this “whose side are you on?” stuff that’s been going on. Want to retire, read some books, listen to “Blues en Mineur,” disappear. Maybe watch some of those Truffaut films Anderson keeps talking about. That’s the spirit. This year has been the year that has shattered all and everything to the nth degree. All I am left with is some hazy memories, glass fragments. I am fresh, I am new, and I really have no idea what will happen next. We’ll see, I suppose. We will see.

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