February 9, 2017 (Thursday)

by Yule Heibel on February 8, 2018

Big snow coming, sky is thick with solids and whiteness. It’s just starting, even though it’s already 9:40am (very late morning for us – late to bed, too). The weather forecast predicted first a 6am start, then a 4am start. But really it’s a 9am start. All of which might add up to a much later end time, which in turn affects the time of day (night?) we go out to shovel. Or heaven forbid, the earliness we have to get out tomorrow morning, since this time it won’t be just W. and me. We have to coordinate with [neighbor] – this storm will, it seems, become snowblower-worthy. And there’s more predicted for Saturday…

Yesterday we Skyped with A. – he’s rethinking his options, might go back to Berlin. He’s not happy with Trump or with what’s happening in the US. He probably doesn’t want to stay in Canada (no network), he wants to be somewhere he can find people to work with, and Berlin has been that place. Interestingly, his college pal K. was in Berlin for a while and deemed it too much, too kinky, too dangerous to his health. But K. is gay, so he was probably accessing a more dubious world. Not that you have to, just because you’re gay. Might be a function of age, but I don’t think [my Berlin nephew and his husband] move in those circles (any more?). Anyway, the whole conversation made me wistful about a cosmopolitan life. And a life not rooted to one place, but multi-committed. I think at heart there’s something in that for me. I’m not the person who’s happy for long committing to one place. Yes, commit to one person, have stability in my life. But there’s a pull, always, to “picking up sticks” and moving.

It’s almost like the pull of glamour. Actually, I think that’s exactly what it is. And kind of strange, when I think about it. We moved a lot when I was a child, but this was driven by exigency and poverty, not glamour. On the other hand, maybe for one or both of my parents, moving did signify a glamorous escape from class boundaries, parochialism, and norms. Probably for my father – more so than my mother, who in the end did want to return to her hometown. That was a move which caused my father some great consternation, but by the time it came due he had spent a lifetime, many many decades, dragging her all over the world, and he had to acquiesce. Age wears us all down at some point, if we live long enough. So, the pull of glamour and cosmopolitanism is upon me.

And now the snow is literally being thrown from the heavens in great porous sheets shaped by ever fiercer gusts of wind. Wind gusts. They toss so much about. A phone (Skype) call, and you find yourself tossed, imaginatively, to the island of Sicily, living in the off-season on its shores, pursuing the life of a digital nomad. Anything, anything to escape another New England Nor’easter, the friction of rubbing up again and again against all the constraints of living here. We all want to be free.

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