Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"Slip-Sliding Away"

I don't know what it is about this winter that seems so endless. Maybe it's because I'm not working, and unlike last year, I am not keeping busy taking care of my mother. Last year, although I noticed the winter was cold, I didn't care because I was indoors doing things for Mom anyway. And then it seemed to get much warmer much quicker in April, right after she came home from the nursing home, and we were able to be outside.

This year is different. Even though it is arguably almost the middle of March, the weather is cold, dreary and windy. Yes, it was above freezing today, but so dreary and cold it didn't matter. The other day there was ice on the deck again after the warm rain had ended and the cold front blew in.

So, I've been hibernating more than usual this winter. Whole days go by and I don't go outside the house except to walk the dogs. Now that there are two, at least that forces me to go outside twice since I don't walk them simultaneously.

I find I have let things slide...maybe I'm slip-sliding away, as Paul Simon would say. "The nearer your destination, the more you're slip-sliding away."

Well, I don't know if I'm anywhere near any kind of destination, but I do feel as if things are slipping. For instance, unless I have somewhere to go - I admit this publicly - I usually skip wearing a bra altogether. I mean, why bother? It's cold out, I wear fleece sweaters, no one can tell, and it's comfortable.

I also seldom take my shower until about 4:30 in the afternoon - again, depending on whether there's somewhere I have to go. Why bother? All I have to do is walk the dogs and sit by the computer.

The other thing is, the bunion on my right foot has become so painful that almost no shoes are comfortable. So I've been walking the dogs wearing my rubber-soled bedslippers. They're so comfortable. Who's going to see me anyway?

I asked DH the other day, "Honey, I've been wearing these (pointing to my feet) out in public. No one can tell they're bedslippers, can they?" DH: "Um, yeah. They can." Oh well.

I was walking Angel yesterday wearing said bedslippers, jeans (at least it wasn't sweats) and a bright red fleece sweater. I mean, bright orangey red. This look was topped off with a neon pink down jacket that I'd gotten on closeout from Lands End last winter. In addition, since I hadn't had my shower yet, my hair looked like an epileptic spider had walked through it in the midst of a grand mal seizure.

Unexpectedly, I saw someone approaching in the distance, and I saw she was heading in my direction. She was nicely dressed in a color-coordinated jogging suit and sneakers, apparently taking her afternoon's exercise. She did not meet my eyes as our paths crossed, although I smiled and said "hi," as I went by. Miffed, I thought, "How unfriendly." Then I looked down at myself and realized what I looked like, and couldn't blame her.

We have a weird guy in our neighborhood who wanders around at all hours of the day holding an umbrella up over his head (it doesn't matter if it's rainy, sunny, cloudy, or fair). He also usually has his shirt off and is carrying it over one arm. In addition, he frequently has on shorts, even if it is winter. He holds his hand to his ear and is talking at all times, as if to aliens. (No, he does not have Bluetooth.) I suddenly realized the unfriendly jogger might have thought I'm similar to this guy, and felt she should steer clear of me.

This made me think of the Madwoman of Chaillot. Maybe that's who I looked like. I didn't even know who the Madwoman of Chaillot was, just that it was a play that my parents were involved in as part of their little theater group back when I was a kid. Maybe my mother was in the play, I don't remember. But it sounded good.

I started thinking, maybe she was a character I could identify with during this miserable long winter of existence that seems to have no end. I've always had a tendency to narrate my own life as if I were in a novel. I started thinking thusly:

"Wandering aimlessly like the Madwoman of Chaillot through the streets of Bloomfield, Mauigirl felt the winter could not be any longer if it tried."

The only problem is, I had no frackin' idea who the Madwoman of Chaillot was and what made her mad, and I thought I should look it up. So when I got home, I went directly to the Google.

As it turns out, the play, The Madwoman of Chaillot, has a lot to teach us today, despite being written by some French guy back in 1943. From Wikipedia, here is a brief plot summary:

"The play is set in the Cafe de l'Alma in the Chaillot district of Paris. It is said that Molière, Racine, and La Fontaine used to frequent this cafe. But these days a group of corrupt corporate executives are meeting. They include the Prospector, the President, and the Baron, and they are planning to dig up Paris to get at the oil which they believe lies beneath its streets.

Their nefarious plans come to the attention of Countess Aurelia, the benignly eccentric madwoman of the title. She is an aging idealist who sees the world as happy and beautiful. But, advised by her associate, the Ragpicker, who is a bit more worldly than the Countess, she soon comes to realize that the world might well be ruined by these evil men—men who seek only wealth and power. These people have taken over Paris. 'They run everything, they corrupt everything,' says the Ragpicker. Already things have gotten so bad that the pigeons do not bother to fly anymore. One of the businessmen says in all seriousness, 'What would you rather have in your backyard: an almond tree or an oil well?'

Aurelia resolves to fight back and rescue humanity from the scheming and corrupt developers. She enlists the help her fellow outcasts, the Street Singer, The Ragpicker, The Sewer Man, The Flower Girl, The Sergeant, and various other oddballs and dreamers. These include her fellow madwomen: the acidic Constance, the girlish Gabrielle, and the ethereal Josephine. In a tea party every bit as mad as a scene from 'Alice in Wonderland,' they put the 'wreckers of the world's joy' on trial, and in the end condemn them to banishment—or perhaps, death.

One by one the greedy businessmen are lured by the smell of oil to a bottomless pit from which they will never (presumably) return. Peace, love, and joy return to the world. Even the earthbound Pigeons are flying again."


Wow, who knew The Madwoman of Chaillot was such a contemporary play with such contemporary, pertinent themes? Ah, well, I guess it's as the other Frenchman said, "Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose." (The more things change, the more they remain the same).

I guess I could do worse than being the Madwoman of Chaillot. At least she had an optimistic attitude - which is hard to come by these days. Plus Katharine Hepburn played her in the movie. How can I go wrong?

12 comments:

Christopher said...

Winter? Ah yes. I nearly forgot about winter.

Well, as you know, since we arrived in California, it hasn't been below 70' and this week it's low-to-mid 80's.

The windows are open at night and we hang the freshly washed white clothes outside on hangers hung from the gazebo. They're dry in 4 hours and smell so good.

It's a different world here in California compared to the dreary Northeast. Those five years were the longest in my life and tested my sanity. I don't know how people waste their entire life back there.

You two should seriously think about moving out here. You won't regret it.

KGMom said...

Hmmm--several thoughts.
First, maybe you are suffering from SAD--seasonal affective disorder.

Second, you also sound as though you are going through a transitional time and things have not settled into a routine yet. Work is a routine. When I stopped working, it took me about 2 years before I settled into a NEW routine. Then my husband retired, and I had to adjust all over again.

Third, maybe Angel knew it was time to find you.

Liz said...

Long live all the Aurelias in us!

Like you I don't bother washing/wearing decent clothes/brushing my hair unless I'm going somewhere proper - like work. well, I do brush my hair but it makes little difference to the Worzel Gummidge scarecrow look.

I'd rather be a Madwoman than boring anyday.

Mauigirl said...

Christopher, it sounds wonderful out there - I'm so happy you guys made it back to the sunshine! Believe me, we'd be out there for sure if we didn't have aging relatives (Ed's parents, my aunt) here at home. Both being only children, no one else is around to help them out when they need something. One of these days, though, we'll get out there too!

KGMom, I do think I have SAD - have always gotten down in the winter and really do tend to hibernate. This year just seems longer than usual. And yes, I think Angel did come for a reason! Maybe that's why we felt we should name her Angel!

Liz, I agree! BTW, now I am fascinated with the whole MW of Chaillot. I wonder if any local theaters are putting it on. Would love to see it.

Tim said...

A motto I've always lived by and still do is, hey if people don't like it let them kiss my ass. Not one of them put food on your table.
If I were over on my site I'd say F**kem. Do you remember "Blackie" in any western movie. He would walk into a saloon and all would stop. Waiting to see what blackie would do.
That's me! (guess what I don't care)
I think your doing fine. Move if your more comfortable somewhere else.
I'm thinking of it. The great northeast has nothing for me.

Liberality said...

I like Kate. Plus the winter is going on forever it seems. It was warm, about 50 degrees in the morning and a cold wind came by and now it's the low 30s. Brrr.

I wish I could be optimistic. I wish I could but I am not which is a damn shame.

nonnie9999 said...

maui, i'm just like you. the hell with the bra or putting on makeup or getting dressed until the late afternoon, etc. if it happens that i can't avoid a conversation with someone who knows me, i make my voice really nasal and say how happy i am to finally be getting over the horrible cold i have.

Border Explorer said...

I learned just as much as you did with that plot summary. Thanks so sharing. You are spot-on with your analysis. It is rather comforting to know that we are fighting a fight that our ancestors also fought (successfully) against unscrupulous development. I hope we can succeed. It is looking grim these days.

libhom said...

I went into hibernation because of this winter's seemingly endless snow. I'm finally getting out more. At least it's raining instead of snowing.

Fran said...

Hey! You are retired. The days of having to rush out the door all prim & proper are over- unless you choose to.
Screw the bra & let comfort rule!
You are at a different pace & what is the big deal if you shower later in the day? At least you ARE showering! And you are wearing pants in the winter & not shorts-- so there's that.

Maybe when spring & summer roll around, you will shower earlier... but you are free to choose.
No more obligatory hustle & bustle in bad winter weather.

If you think it is SAD, (Seasonal Affective Disorder) you can check out full spectrum lighting to help alleviate this depression of the dark winter months. 30 to 60 minutes w the full spectrum lighting is the normal amount of time to help alleviate it.

Soon spring will come & these winter doldrums will go away.

okjimm said...

hey.... Spring is coming! The NCAA basketball tournament is starting!!!!

just an aside, cause I know how you feel about dogs.... our new Covernor wants to sell dogs for experiments....
the link is too long check out my post...

Dave Dubya said...

"Epileptic spider". Love it!