Friday, December 24, 2010

Up in the aerie, in a reflective mood this evening, it doesn't really feel like Christmas Eve to me, except perhaps vestigially, as much as on spiritual levels I'm at home with this holiday. There's turkey in the oven, smelling delicious here upstairs, all four cats are about, asleep. D bought me my train tickets for this weekend. His boss asked him today, so you're married - what are you getting your wife for Christmas? D - as he told me - gleefully replied: a train ticket out of town. To which I cracked up, that's really funny. Don't worry he added to his boss, there's a return too.

Imagining myself at my cousins' house tomorrow, a bit. I love them, but politically and in very many ways they are very different from me. They're very much the right wing authoritarian types, to an almost humorous degree. I chatted briefly with one of my cousins yesterday on the phone and she mentioned about hoping for snow, and I retorted, I just hope for the sun to come out it's been so gray, and - possibly I'm imagining this - she seemed to freeze a bit on the other end, titter a little nervously - and I thought, she completely knows I'm of - as they view it - "the other persuasion" and she's interpreted it as some sort of remark on climate change! Anyway, I'm feeling a bit Dmitri-Gurov about my impending visit, I'm looking forward to it, but when it comes to the inevitable questions - so what are you doing, how's it going, how's D, how's the house, etc., etc., etc., my psyche's feeling all nyet, nyet, nyet. Well I write. Are you published? No I have no interest in it. Publication is the auction of the soul. Of course I can't - won't - mention that I have a blog. [Insert film/radio sounds of conversational plane nosediving from a high altitude.] What the hell am I going to say? They are so Catholic. Well, I have my own very strong convictions and spiritual beliefs but I can't defend them orally to save my life. And my cousins, and their spouses - the entire lot of them, remarkably - are nothing if not great talkers. It's pretty funny. I just listen, and as I said, I do love them, ultimately they're just very friendly & kind & sort of oblivious & see what they want to see & ignore the rest - and so I make the cut I guess! I don't know. We have a lifelong history, which is very nice, of course.
He had two lives: one, open, seen and known by all who cared to know, full of relative truth and of relative falsehood, exactly like the lives of his friends and acquaintances; and another life running its course in secret. And through some strange, perhaps accidental, conjunction of circumstances, everything that was essential, of interest and of value to him, everything in which he was sincere and did not deceive himself, everything that made the kernel of his life, was hidden from other people; and all that was false in him, the sheath in which he hid himself to conceal the truth -- such, for instance, as his work in the bank, his discussions at the club, his "lower race," his presence with his wife at anniversary festivities -- all that was open. And he judged of others by himself, not believing in what he saw, and always believing that every man had his real, most interesting life under the cover of secrecy and under the cover of night. All personal life rested on secrecy, and possibly it was partly on that account that civilised man was so nervously anxious that personal privacy should be respected.
It's funny, living here, I never feel that way, never that sense of utter double life. I mean, D and I at this point cohabit, and have huge differences, and he doesn't know every detail, and doesn't regularly read my blog - but he knows about it, we both know our mutual problem. But I'm in contact with so few other (or no other?) people other than regular kind readers of my blog - that I'm very unused to having to prevaricate or punt or deflect or cover.

I don't feel any anxiety over it, I'll manage tomorrow. They're all very smart, perhaps they each, for all their perpetual hewings to the party line, are each Dmitri Gurovs in their own right, or some of them anyway. One can hope.

I was originally planning to take the 8:30 train, but will take the 10:30 instead. My cousin mentioned that her husband bought four large kielbasas. I had better get in a very good vigorous walk beforehand in that case - I shudder to imagine the impact that no walks for a couple of days coupled with kielbasa would have on my 51-year old precariously managed Slavic Venus figure.

Kisses darlings - especially you, and you.

Note: References to Dmitri Gurov, and the excerpt in blockquotes, are from Anton Chekhov's short story, "Lady with the Little Dog", linked to here.

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