Archive for January 17th, 2015

John Singer Sargent — a watercolor of his room in Genoa — a friend put it on face-book

If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence — George Eliot, Middlemarch

Dear friends and readers,

Last night I received an email from Expedia, the on-line buying service I thought I was so clever to use to buy an airplane ticket to Tampa, Florida, where I hope to visit a friend for a few days. I waited for reading what needed to be done until Yvette could stand by me and this morning she did.

We found that I could not reach any information without signing in, and have finally figured out that I managed to buy my tickets (for this trip and another) without opening an Expedia account. I can’t find my “6 character flight booking code” which is needed to check in on-line. Somehow I reached the spot where I did buy my ticket from Expedia originally, and was reassured I have a ticket. If the airline does not contact me to print a boarding pass, I will have to hope I can print one out at the airport. I worry terribly about this: Will I have to cancel the booking I made with Expedia for LA this coming March and instead try to buy straight from an airline at whatever cost? If I can’t get my money back for the LA, I’ll call the lawyer I used to help me at the DMV; I gave her a retaining fee which means I can call her for other troubles. Meanwhile, how do I get the boarding pass for Tampa?

I never used an on-line booking service before. I did it because I was so puzzled by all the buying choices online and when I tried to contact an airline by phone, I could not reach one. I sat here in my chair for over an hour not knowing what to do, and finally not doing anything until my friend told me about online buying services like Expedia. Then a few days later Yvette helped me buy two sets of tickets through Expedia, the first to go to and from Tampa this week, the second to go to and from LA to ASECS in March (where I’m scheduled to give a paper on the importance of screenplays in filmic art). Ought I to have contacted a travel agent? The last time I did that (many years ago) I discovered I had talked to someone who was going to cheat me out of $3000 somehow or other. Somehow Jim and a friend’s daughter who was a lawyer showed me (and him) what to do to stop this. So I hesitate at contacting a travel agent.

This is just one of many puzzling to distressing experiences I’ve had since Jim died. I must assume he must have had them on our behalf without telling me for all the years we were married — or versions of them that existed pre-on-line existence.


Ian at breakfast

Before enduring this latest set of tricks (that’s what capitalism is, a constant set of tricks put before you which set up barriers and ways those you are dealing with are using to extract information and more money from you — I found this when I tried to buy a CD set of talking books from Audible.com; the Obamacare website is yet much much worse), earlier this morning, around 7 am when the light came into my room, I was thinking to myself, how complacent I was before Jim died. I fancied I felt for people, fancied I understood how deeply lonely, thwarted, difficult, wretched or tragic many existences are, but now I know that I often came across people who told me a bit of their story that I failed to appreciate, and thus failed in some way to acknowledge, that I failed to offer the compassion in my heart for them I should have because in my own good luck and security I didn’t enter into their case. I was complacent. I am no longer. Now I hear other people loud and clear.

Since he died then, experience has changed fundamentally for me. I look round me and see continually the wrought nature of being alive, it’s like that great roar on the other side of silence that George Eliot talked about. I wonder to myself if others saw and heard it, and realized that I didn’t; if I hurt people’s feelings by my own careless remarks. I know many do not see and hear it, if they come close, they turn away and it is the very basis of their sanity that they refuse to acknowledge what is in front of them.

During this long month and the cruel time of the winter solstice season where one has to read all these expressions of joy, comradeship, family love (!?) others experience or claim to on the Net and elsewhere, with the concomittant fierce censorship of anyone who denies all this occurs or is real, I spent most of my time in my workroom with my cats. It’s been very cold outside, and my skin aches when I’m out there. I have been told the world is filled with people who do not have one deep true intense love for another friend-lover who returns the emotional support and meaning. If this is so, how hard existences are: people turn to friends, to their adult children, to work — Trollope repeated over and over this from Macbeth: The labor we delight in physics pain. That’s why it’s so important to me to choose works of art (books, movies, music, pictures) that are valuable, not rooted in corruption, presenting real truths about life in beautiful (beauty does not have to be pretty at all) ways. How does this experience of art speak to people, is it truly good and useful to them in some way, strengthening, solacing, amusing too (in all senses of that word)

I had one of my realistic dreams last night, or early in the morning as I woke out of it at 5 am, my lower leg or calve (from knee to ankle) in wrenching pain. I jumped out of bed and began to walk and walk to get rid of the intense strain and tension I was gripped by in my leg. In my dream Jim was here and he had sold this house. He did sometimes do central things affecting our lives without telling me first and then would explain to me his motives as if I didn’t need to be consulted, and he had not thought of it; most of the time I did accept his reasoning, and go along with it, but not always. Well this time the thought the house was sold was too much. For a few minutes as I was walking I didn’t realize it all had been a dream and he was dead and the house not sold.

Maybe I should call this Expedia Perplexities; or, the terrors of being a widow.

My favorite time of day is when I wake and my Clarycat leaps lightly onto my bed, walks around me, and comes over to my right shoulder, snuggles down to get between my shoulder and my arm so this area of my body becomes a human basket for her to lie down in. She licks me, and we lie there together waiting for another day to come into the house for us to live through together. Her soft fur and to me sweet little legs and paws, and her ears are endearing to me.

Clary mid-day


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