Sunday, December 21, 2008

[not of general interest]

The holidays, as they have a habit of doing, have snuck up on me this year. Maybe something to do with the fact that it's hard to feel winter-holidayish when you're still going outside in the middle of the night in shorts & a t-shirt, running the a/c in the car, etc. But trees & wreaths & menorahs are up, presents are stacked ready for wrapping.

J. & P. are in NYC this weekend playing in the snow, so I'm running solo with Daphne, who I guess is a pretty easy job as 4-year-olds go. Anyway, she seems to be relishing the "quality father-daughter time," as she calls it. Still, the place feels empty & lonely. (Tho I'm trying not to be "cranky and bummed out," as Don Share puts it, sweetly.)

A weird twinge of sentimentality last night: on the back porch, on my laptop, into the wee hours, I watched Citizen Kane, courtesy of Netflix; & as I was putting the disk back in the little envelope (you know, the wax-papery inner one with the brief misleading movie description & runtime) I noticed, written lightly in pencil, neatly but in an unfamiliar hand, the message "I love you." 

Who wrote it? Not a member of the household, certainly; maybe one of the guests & friends who've been thru over the last week? (Obviously, we're among the I suspect majority of Netflixers who turn over our movies a lot slower than we thought we would.) 

But then I realized that I'd only broken the seal on the envelope a couple hours before, after putting Daphne to bed. It was the last Netflixer, I guess, who'd decided to trace those archetypal 3 words on an envelope that was about to head out to someone – who precisely, she or he could have no idea. A message in a bottle? (Cynically, the "God Loves You" one finds occasionally on a dollar bill?) It says something about the phenomenology of reading, or maybe about my own state of mind, that I would feel personally interpellated by this anonymous, anonymously-directed scribble; that I would feel struck, alone in the middle of the night, by a touch of human affection.

A figure for the poem. Paul Celan: "I see no essential difference between a poem & a handshake."


Anonymous said...

Paul Celan really "dissed" Cid Corman!

and so did P.C's heirs

E. M. Selinger said...

Hey, congrats on the plug from Don Share, Mark! I'll borrow 40 degrees from you tonight and still end up below freezing--we're in a holiday mood now, you betcha.

("School of Rock" and "Buckaroo Banzai" with the kids these past nights; next stop, our annual LOTR marathon!)

Amy said...

Did you write, "I love you, too," before you slipped it back in the envelope?