The Way of the Porch

August 28, 2008

The obligatory summer photo – toes flexed against a railing, a verdant background, and, more metaphorically, against the coming of fall.  Not as a season, but as a shift back to what passes for real life: writing, lecturing, writing, grading, writing.  At the moment I’m resistant, unwilling to give up my porch-as-office laziness.  But rather than get wrapped up in a fairly predictable future few months, here are highlights of the past few:

-our softball team, The False Consciousness had its first winning season in four years (a fine example to set for our hockey team, the Ten Left Wingers – Marxists!  Marxists everywhere!).  Not enough to get us into the playoffs, but more than enough to make us feel genuinely sporty, as we managed beat teams that didn’t have a bottle of tequila parked beside first base.  I was promoted to second base, and even performed admirably at a few points.
-my hair has tentatively inched to my shoulders.
-I’m officially in the last year of my twenties.  Thirty doesn’t scare me.  Twenty-nine, however, is making me face up to all the things I’d pledged to do by the time I turn thirty.  Good thing I never wrote any of those down.
-romance.  Not just breathlessness, numb toes, and satiated fun bits (though there’s been plenty of that), not just weak knees and blushing smiles at his number on my caller ID (totally worth $7 a month), but more-than-a-summer-fling romance.  Embarrassing moments that spin into shared laughter, someone else’s fingers brushing the hair from my face, whispered banalities in the middle of the night.  That feeling, which I barely remember from its only other appearance in another lifetime and another city, of this being not only what it should be, but what I want it to be.
-passing out in the hallway at a wedding, in a dress with stains that mystified even the dry cleaner.  Running into another wedding-goer the next morning who thanked me for letting him touch my breasts.
-I finished my third chapter.  I am now officially past the halfway mark.  It’s shorter than the first two, but I prefer to instead think of it as “tight.”

The porch is brisk now, at night.  Real life looms.  There will be a few days in September when I can pretend, briefly, that I am still on vacation and the porch will be splattered again with wine stains.  In those fleeting few days I will forget (or willfully ignore) that this year I will finish my PhD and will have to find some way other than ‘graduate student’ to define myself.
And when the temperature dips for good, I will remember how my toes curled over the edges of multiple balconies this summer, how I laughed until I cried and cried until I couldn’t anymore and drank until I forgot. Such is The Way of the Porch.

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Exhale.

August 1, 2008

Back from a few days of napping on the beach, a riotously drunken wedding, driving untold kilometres through dense torrential rain.  And back to where I was before, wrapped in R.’s long limbs and soft palms.  We talked about the future tonight – not the capital-F Future, but the one that hits in about a month, the shift from the giddy laziness of summer to the stringent schedules of school.  Fine-tuning my fall course syllabus the past few days, there’s apprehension about something being lost in the shuffle – delirious unproductivity and pant-lessness won’t be as rationalizable as the stack of obligations grows.  But just imagine the study dates: one hand turning the pages, the other’s fingers trailing absently along his lean calves; swapping snippets of his gleefully capitalist and congratulatory business manuals for my earnestly leftist social theory; rock-paper-scissoring to see whose turn it is to grab beers from the fridge.  I’m not even going to characterize this as idyllic.  Chalk it up to a few nights spent staring up at a big big sky; such cynicism feels groundless. There are still butterflies, satiated sighs that escape just because he’s there, caught-canary grins when he’s not and I’m thinking about him anyway. I don’t want to let go of the sheen that summer casts on romance, but this grin will outlast it. A novel sense of surety for someone who reads a lot of leftist social theory.