Week’s end

June 7, 2008

I have decided to grow my hair out again, partly as an aesthetic experiment, partly out of economic necessity – perhaps ‘decided’ isn’t the most accurate term. And as the humidex pushed the temperature close to 40° today I remembered the particular kind of pleasure in being able to pull my hair off my neck and pile it on the top of my head instead. While I’m never happy about this sort of oppressive heat, I’m at least thankful it waited until my parents’ visit was over. We walked around the city for three days, and I finally made it to the Botanical Garden (pictures forthcoming on flickr). They brought homemade, dog-safe cookies for Alice, and my gift is breathing beside me – a bottle of my favourite baco noir. So the string of summer visitors is officially underway, as another pair arrives in a week.
Rather surprisingly, I turned down a dinner invitation this evening, opting instead to unfold my largest lawn-chair (those metallic clacks bringing back dozens of similarly sticky summer nights at my brother’s softball games, my friends’ cottages, small-town Canada Day fireworks), and work on my dissertation, a chapter of which The Supervisor insists is due on Monday. Now, with only one meaty part unwritten, I’m mulling over the week’s events, and, admittedly, keeping an eye on my portly neighbours’ ardent window-front make-out session; others are drunkenly belting out “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.” Ambience.
My parents and I got along well. More than that, I genuinely enjoyed spending time with them. At times my relationship with my mother is rocky, and my father can get self-righteous and grandiloquent when he’s drinking (you can keep your quips about heredity to yourself). But the familiar – familial – tensions and triggers never appeared, and we went through a lot of wine. While the parent/child dynamic didn’t fully fade, this was one of a handful of instances in which I actually felt like an adult (mooching meals notwithstanding).
This is not the only relationship on my mind. People like to make lists of reasons why a romance has ended. With a mental catalogue of such lists – about me, as they have been recounted to me – I’m noticing themes. In the bold light of day I write them off as the result of consistently gravitating toward the wrong kind of guys. In the dark, when no one can see me being self-indulgent, I wonder if they sketch out an innate undateability. Neither easy explanation is the entire truth. It’s frustrating, though, to think that you carried through with lessons learned, to believe that you did better this time around, to feel that your performance showed improvement, just to get the same report card at the end. It’s like failing a test for which you had a cheat sheet. In there, somewhere, a variable is unaccounted for. I should start working in pencil.