I am waiting for my son's eBay sell-by deadline to arrive. (New uses of time for a new age.) While he is away on a camping trip on a small island in Lake Champlain, I have been enjoined, in a page of detailed Instructions, to find and print out the shipping label, locate the buyer's address, and finally, since there are two things he's selling, to "Make sure to send the right item to the right person."
It's weird having the kid off on a six-day camping trip instead of having his large energy in the house. I am not used to having this much time to myself. No laptop glow illuminating his face at midnight. No unexpected guitar riffs. No thundering footsteps on the stairs followed by a request for money. Instead, a bulging silence. This is all a rehearsal, I suppose, for September, when he begins his immersion in film production at Concordia University in Montreal—a fact that is starting to lose its fold-lines since being pulled out of the package, like the unironed grey or maroon academic gowns he and his classmates donned last week for their high school graduation ceremony. Part of a train of end-of-the-status-quo events that has been chugging by this month with bunting and whistle stops, with joy and sadness, with excitement and fear about the next leg of the journey.
As my long-retired barber Teddy used to say when I brought Matt in for a haircut: "He's a big guy anymore!" followed by "Don't worry about nothing."
Gowns and trains? Only with brides, I suppose. When else can a textile metaphor comfortably blend with a mobile one? Maybe when it's a rag-tied bow tie kite tail, whipping and dancing behind a paper diamond, the kind of tail you rarely see anymore. I couldn't even find a decent image of one on Google.
Whence cometh this kite tail metaphor, guv'nor? the children want to know. Well sir, sez the storyteller, the other day I was thinking about those two Jujubes currently upon us—I speak of course of June and July. What about 'em? Well, just about how this year, what with the graduation train and vacation plans and the eminent domain of summer, they've blended their juju into one fat dual month (called Julien, maybe?). And wondering if this kind of blending is a function of advanced age, where routine-oiled months bump into each other in an impatient traffic jam. Will February merge with March into Mary? Followed by the portmanteau months of A, Julien, Auber, Omber, and Dejean?
Actually, I added those name parts now. But the June-July thought was followed by a musing about two other word neighbors: persevere and perseverate ("repeat or prolong an action, thought, or utterance after the stimulus that prompted it has ceased"). You could do worse than deliver a commencement speech about knowing the difference between the two: And so (so, so, so...), Class of 2013 (een, een...), remember to persevere (veer, veer), but also know when it's time to let go of it!
I know: the kite tail. So I sez to myself, what do I do with these random, disconnected observations? And the answer was something like: Tie them to a kite tail and wait for a breeze. (Sounds like something you'd say to a perseverator: Aaah, whyncha tie it to a kite tail an' wait for a stiff breeze!)
Which turns out to be a pretty good metaphor for a sweet afternoon on the back porch when I should be writing about Animal Farm and Stalin. On occasion, it makes sense to tie a few quiddities and quidnuncs to a quixotic queue and let it go. N'est-ce pas, Julien?