Saturday, January 30, 2010

The meanwhile

I may or may not be facing knee surgery, but in the meanwhile I find myself here, at my desk, until further notice.


Sometimes I feel like I live here, in the meanwhile. I used to call it the meantime when people would tell me stories from their lives and how worried they were about something. I would agree, saying it's the meantime that is so tricky to wade through. People say that, knowingly. "But in the meantime..." A few weeks ago I listened to my copy of the Hobbit again and remembered the word "meanwhile", which at least has a different taste.

That might be the hardest thing about waiting -- it's often the same. It's being stuck in a place that isn't where the information is. You have worked yourself to this point, passed your information to others. The others will give you new information, which will affect your decisions on how to move forward, to move out of this waiting place, to move out of the meanwhile.

Generally when one asks questions, one prefers to have answers handy immediately. So it's hard when they aren't, particularly when the questions are rather big ones. Will I get to go on this California vacation, the one we were just about to reserve hotel rooms for? When can we start to live together? Will anyone ever pay me a livable wage to paint? The answers will come in their own time, and in the meanwhile. We are stuck in the meanwhile.

We had a lot of meanwhile in Canada, somehow. I am thinking of the day we were at a Safeway, considering the magazines, marveling how they were the International edition. That moment isn't in my notes, so I can't remember what day it was, but I am thinking about it, about wandering up and down the isles carelessly. Waiting to use the bathroom? Looking for snacks? I picked up a copy of Cook's Illustrated's "meals for two", primarily for a creamy mushroom pasta dish that I fantasized about in another Safeway parking lot a few days later in Seattle, but didn't end up making until Anthony started school that fall.

On the drive to the doctor Thursday I told myself that if it turns out I am at home for a few days I should start trying to pull some of the travel notes together and start telling the stories I haven't been telling. And here I am.

I can't tell the whole story in four days, and to be honest I don't know if I can do even one day of the journey justice in that amount of time, but I can at least start coaxing it out of the coals, feeding it attention and the storytelling wisdom that can come from the hindsight and not being so firey-passionate about what happened immediately after the good stuff.

And mostly.

I'm dreaming of walking.
Dreaming of going places.

I am dreaming this even as my plans for this year dissolve.