Friday, February 12, 2016

February 12: Goat Moth, Ballet Recital, Jack London Novel

I have often noticed that these things, which obsess me, neither bother nor impress other people even slightly.  I am horribly apt to approach some innocent at a gathering and, like the ancient mariner, fix him with a wild, glitt'ring eye and say, "Do you know that in the head of the caterpillar of the ordinary goat moth there are two hundred twenty-eight separate muscles?"  The poor wretch flees.  I am not making chatter; I mean to change his life.  I seem to possess an organ that others lack, a sort of trivia machine.

After reading the entirety of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I can absolutely imagine encountering Annie Dillard at a party.  She'd probably hover in the kitchen or backyard, since that is where most people at such gatherings tend to congregate.  Quiet but wild-eyed, she'd scope out the crowd until she noticed some person who somehow resonated for her.   Perhaps a lonely outsider who is standing uncomfortably apart from the group.  Or maybe a window-watcher, staring through the panes at the falling dusk.  Dillard moves in and begins talking about her latest obsession.  Gravity.  Caterpillar muscles.  Dead frogs.

When I sit down to type these posts every night, I often picture myself like Dillard at a party.  I start casting around for what's on my mind, and I start typing.  Sometimes it's God or loneliness.  Sometimes it's a snowstorm or cold pizza.  Sometimes it's poetry.  I can almost imagine my disciples raising their Google-ish eyebrows at me, reaching for the mouse to click to their next stop on the Internet bus stop.  Fleeing.

So, what's on my mind tonight, you may ask.  Well, as it turns out, not a whole hell of a lot.  I am sitting in my office at the university, waiting yet again for my daughter to finish up her ballet practice.  She has a ballet recital tomorrow night--Alice in Wonderland.  She is playing the Red Queen.  You know, the one who goes around wanting to decapitate every flamingo and Cheshire Cat she encounters.  The comic relief.

Because of this impending performance, my daughter's friend who's a boy is staying at our house for the weekend.  His parents dropped him off last night.  He slept on the couch and has been dutifully attentive to my daughter all day, according to my wife.  Tonight or tomorrow morning, he's going to help me shovel my driveway (he doesn't know this plan yet--but he will agree to it).

Currently, parts of the Upper Peninsula are being pounded by yet another lake effect snowstorm.  All day long the temperatures have been falling (they're supposed to reach about 22 below zero tonight), and the winds have been hitting 45 miles per hour.  That means, out of the last five days, four of them have been pages from a Jack London novel.

I am not complaining tonight, however.  It is Friday.  I don't have to get up at 4:30 a.m. to get to work on time.  Two glorious days of relative freedom, aside from the ballet rehearsals and performance, the grading and lesson planning, and the house cleaning.  Other than those things, the weekend is a blank page.

That's what's on Saint Marty's mind this evening.  Ballet.  Snowstorms.  Jack London.  By the way, did you know that in the head of the caterpillar of the ordinary goat moth there are two hundred and twenty-eight separate muscles?

Speaking of strange parties . . .

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