samedi 10 janvier 2009

Will she stay or will she go now?

If I go, there will be trouble.

And if I stay it will be double.

I started this, I didn't let it go (when I absolutely could have), and so I have no choice but to see it through.

I want to. I really do. I just don't feel like moving. I haven't gotten on a flight to the States (or from the States) in 3 years and 2 months and 1 week. I'm not afraid to fly. It's not that. I dislike flying transatlantic. It's so uncomfortable, and you have no alternative but to suffer, back in economy with the rest of the freight. My feet swell. My legs gets jumpy and ache, and then I watch the women who get off the flight (why are they so often Asian and from the countries of the southern climes?) in strappy sandals and manage to walk perfectly normally, and I feel a confusion, an incomprehension, a resentment that overcomes me.

I am fine right here.

But I can't be there to see through a project I pretty much started, but never would have gotten to the point of an actual event with real ticket sales without my partners in organization -- only 50% of whom (two) saw the sanity in going on after a certain point --, without getting on a flight to somewhere reasonably close to Washington, DC. That involves flying over the Atlantic. My feet will swell, my legs will ache and ache. I will suffer. And then I will have to turn around and do it in the other sense (oops, that's the French creeping in; I mean direction). It's too late to take a boat.

I was not only born with a silver spoon in my undeserving mouth, I was born with a ticket in first class in my passport pouch and a car waiting for my directions at the airport.

It has become a modest event, having nearly reached the heights of... hubris. Icarus flying too high. One of my partners used that word, hubris, fairly often actually. If he didn't, I did. More intimate now, a cocktail party, and if we exceed the parlor in attendance, then we will spill over into a large room, and we'll be sure to provide music you can dance to. BYOC (Bring Your Own Champagne), but a wine and beer bar, to which we encourage all attending to bring a bottle or two, or three, of champagne, wine or fine, imported beers and ales to make sure the Nectar of the gods flows. We were determined that if we were going to simplify it and make something happen for the faithful of MYBO, then we were not going to charge more than $25 plus fees (Event Brite and Google Check-out).

We also found a way to honor another wish that we had, a sense of obligation in addition to having an event at which to meet and celebrate, in the first place: a community service aspect. Howard Park of DC for Obama, who has been unfailingly kind and nonjudgmental of our efforts, while he was busy with their own, offered us the opportunity to associate ourselves with anything they were doing. I read the list, and saw the Day of Service for which they are collaborating with Mayor Fenty's office, distributing food to those in need throughout the day outside the MLK Memorial Library (9 am to 4 pm).

That was it. I forwarded the email to my remaining partner, and she said, "That's it! Rather than just eating and drinking like gluttons, we can offer our service and then eat and drink like gluttons." She's from the northern Mid-west. I appreciate that sort of concern. The truth is, as she knows perfectly well, unless people Bring Their Own Bottles, we won't be drinking like gluttons at all. We'll, be, as she put it, "Raising a toast." Tippling delicately, would be another way to put it. The point, everyone, is to have a warm and convivial place in which to meet and celebrate our victory at a price that couldn't possibly leave anyone who really wanted to come out.

If I don't go, how will I live with myself? The 19th would be tough to get through. I'd be imaging a few people doing the work I am supposed to be helping with without me, and then I'd be imagining them greeting and talking with people I have actually wanted to meet in person for quite some time. I'd have to image Mary explaining that I just couldn't face traveling, for a variety of reasons, to a person who simply n'en revient pas hearing that. They'd never know all my reasons, and even if I explained them very carefully --, well, I wouldn't do that. I'd start with the swelling feet and the aching legs, the trauma of economy class for 7 1/2 hours (and I am only 5'-4". Yes, I know, I seem much taller in writing.) and they'd already be thinking unacceptable things about me.

Unacceptable to me.

I can't even say there are no flights at a reasonable price to Philadelphia, where I will fly, because there are. Very reasonable. US Air, 448 euros round trip. If I said it, I would have to suffer the agony of lying, which my mother always told me, when I was little, that I did very poorly.

"Don't lie," she'd say, "You're a terrible liar. You're transparent as a piece of tape." I don't think there was even Scotch Magic Tape yet then. I had an over-developed conscience.

I still do.

To wit, the ball going on through its agonistes to finish in whatever form in which it can finally limp over the finish line on January 19.

Nerves. Fear of failing at conversation. Of not being able to fit into my black slacks, and, worse, facing shopping for something new when I can't. No carbs for a week, and the gym -- double session, even -- every day until I have to drag myself to the airport. I know you only lose water, but that's fine. I only need a quick, even temporary, fix. No wine. Ouch. No sugar in my baked apples -- my concession to a sweet tooth. They're just like regular apples, only mushier and tasting of cinnamon. Apple pie without the crust and without the sugar. Warm and comforting when it's f _ _ _ _ _ g freezing outside (and inside).

Which reminds me, I have to remember to call for a heating oil delivery Monday so Audouin and Sam don't run the risk of running out, and freezing solid, during my absence.
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