Tag Archives: percussive maintenance

shards of the past week

My laptop is emitting a rhythmic chirrup that sounds as if it is housing crickets.  I google the problem, and the fix-it suggestion is to hit the bottom of the computer, hard, with a closed fist.  It works.  Sometimes the most complex modern technologies require the most ancient forms of maintenance.

On my walk from work to the train station in the gathering dark, I am accosted by a lass who spills forth a frantic story about having just been rendered homeless this very night, about needing money to get back to her mother’s in San Diego.  She bursts into tears, hiccups, “this is so embarrassing.”  I do not know whether the story is true, but her distress is genuine.  Her young face is known to me; there are many such faces in my classroom.  I heave a big sigh and take a twenty out of my wallet.

I watch Polanski’s movie version of The Pianist.  It is moving and harrowing, but in some places disconcertingly boring.  Sometimes films cannot do what literature can do.  Watching a man hidden in an apartment starve to death is not nearly as interesting as reading his thoughts about what it felt like.

I am missing someone cruelly; his absence is like a pall over my life.  It seems to dim color, dampen taste, restrict breath. 13 rue Thérèse has a French title–never mind that the English title is also a French title!  The title is Pensées de l’absent.  Sometimes I think that would be an apt title for everything I write.

My office mate asks me whether I know that the MLA has changed its format for citations.  I consider this news for a moment, then burst into laughter.  “I don’t care!”  I realize this at the same time as I say it.  I am hit with a rush of gleeful freedom.  At the same time I am disoriented and scared.  It’s like being dropped in the middle of the ocean.  Cold and filled with unfathomable life all the way to its lightless depths.