Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

19 July 2006

The man on the street might just as well be.

Today at dinner.

Genevieve: (casually dictatorial tone) Papa hide under table!

Papa: (just sat down to dinner) Not gonna happen.

G: (dewy-eyelash cute little bunny wabbit superpolite voice) Papa hide under table.

P:, not gonna happen.

G: (threatening tone) Papa hide under table!

P: Not gonna happen.

G: Papa hide under table?

P: Not gonna happen.

G: (as if calling to someone in the next room) Paaaaapa! Hide under TABLE.

P: Not gonna happen.

G: Papa. Hide, inside, head!

P: Hmm. Papa already does that.

Mama: Yeah, and Papa doesn't need any encouragement.

So there's that. But we'd just come back from our seventh swim lesson, and Genevieve continues to be the class prodigy. Queen Kixalot, usually the one girl with five or so boy babies, and she's the only one who (after the first couple of days, which is how long it took her to suss out the situation) joyfully agrees to be dunked completely underwater, again and again, while the tearstained boys look on nervously and their parents with envious admiration. Okay, I may be overstating the case a little. I'm obscenely, indecently proud of her.

So it's not all cerebral these days. The two of us took a walk downtown the other day so that Mama could take some space (Taking Some Space is a concept we've recently introduced, a bridge into making the inevitable "time-outs" positive rather than punitive) and, after checking out the music store and the bookstore and the farmer's market, we trucked on out to the local gym and took a look around. I'm thinking of joining.

It's true, I have spent and continue to spend the vast majority of my life in a sedentary position. My body appears to be in rather good health, but it's no thanks to the rest of me. I'm not a very active fellow. I've always been slender, not to say emaciated; a lot of that is metabolism, but it also has to do with my avoidance of vigorous exercise in favor of vigorous reading and writing. I am capable of becoming much stronger, physically, than I am now, not to mention more balanced. Which is the really important thing. I could stand to grow in a different direction.

We'll see. I have a lifetime of prejudice and fear of pain to dissuade me. I don't have anything like a goal, just a feeling that it's time to start doing something active with my body on a regular basis. There was a time, a couple of years back, when I went running around the block in a sweatsuit every morning, real early in the fog. It wasn't easy, but I got into the groove and I could have kept going a long time. But there was some circumstantial shift in my life -- I can't even remember what it was, it might have been a change in work schedule or a vacation or something like that -- and it was so easy to drop it and not pick it up again. My mind is very good at being very sneaky about avoiding the things that seem too hard.

Anyway, regardless of how all that turns out, it's a good summer. G and I are connecting on a deeper level than we have before. We have more of a relationship, now that I'm home most days and can be with her completely, rather than with one foot out the door. We go down to get the paper in the morning, and usually eat a couple of blackberries off the bush at the end of the driveway. I hold her inside my robe, bundled up next to my skin, so she won't get cold.


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