Paul, in England, has been reflectively -vembering this month; this is an homage.
I’m perched on a stool on the Starbucks that’s embedded in the Superstore. I don’t have enough psychogeography vocabulary to be sure, but I expect this qualifies as a liminal space. It is, approximately, nowhere.
I am here amidst a multi-step dance that involves snow tires and gnocchi and massage and fudgsicles.
Beside my perch is the cough drop section of the store pharmacy. It has been well picked-over, as befits the cough and cold that is making its way through young people here. All the Fisherman’s Friends are gone, and only the fringe Ricola flavours—Honey Lemon with Echinacea, Extra Stong Icy Menthol—remain.
On the cold walk from my car into the store I was thinking of the road maps of my youth, and how the only way we knew how far it was from, say, Buffalo to Rochester, was to carefully add up the tiny numbers on all the road segments connecting the two.
I was thinking of this in the shadow of watching a love-father-conflict-cancer-death drama on Netflix, a show reported to have left some inconsolable. Unusual fare for me, who knows the terrain, but it’s my season for turning-to-face, and I’m discovering feelings I didn’t know I had in its wake, rivulets of anger and sadness and relief and disresolution. It feels good to connect with these things, and reminds me that, as I’ve already been through an inconsolable phase, I have superpowers that let me see the other things.
How far is it from Buffalo to Rochester? Anxious Sunday night. Cold Monday morning. Tired daughter. Bracing morning walk with Lisa along the trail, where I talk about my fear of loneliness. Poinsettias. Christmas concerts. Birthdays. Work victories. Endless advocacy, writing about crises while in crisis, asking for help.
Grab your PC festive favourites, fast!