Monday, January 20, 2014
A Crisis, with Small White Dogs
Yesterday did not start smoothly.
Backstory: When I was in Florida a few weeks ago, my dad gave me a little black book in which he kept a handwritten account of a cross-country road trip he took with some high school pals in 1955. I read it in the airport and on the airplane, and was so happy to have this first-hand window onto my dad's life as a young man. He wrote about a fender-bender in Miami Beach that cost $55 to fix, his first experience with cherries jubilee at a restaurant in New Orleans, and a "real neat lookin" waitress in Oakley, Kansas.
On Saturday, while walking the dog, it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't seen this journal for a while. Did I put it on the shelf, where I'd intended to? Well, yesterday morning I looked for it, and it wasn't there. I searched the house high and low in an increasing state of panic, looking in drawers and cabinets, finally concluding with a sense of dread that I must have left it on the airplane. I went to the British Airways website and filled out a lost property report, all the while moaning to Dave about what a terrible son I am, to lose something so precious.
Then I got up and looked at the bookshelf again, and there was the book -- it had simply fallen behind the others on the shelf.
I was so relieved. Holy cow.
They say all's well that ends well, and I guess that's true. We went out to breakfast to celebrate -- back to the Electric Diner -- and then I took a long photo walk all the way out to Ealing, in West London. I came back with about 45 pictures, so I'm well stocked for the week to come.
In the afternoon, Dave and I finished watching "Forbidden Planet," one of my favorite early sci-fi movies, which I'd rented to show him. I ended the day by finishing "The Goldfinch," which I can now return to the library and move on to the next person who has it reserved. I don't know when I've enjoyed a book so much. It was a true page-turner from beginning to end, with a morally ambiguous protagonist and the fate of a priceless cultural artifact hanging in the balance. Highly recommended!
(Photo: St. Mary's Burial Ground in Acton, west London.)