Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On a lack of hurry that we knew of yore, to disentangle

In fact, any suggestion to us 
of peremptory flight from a 
well-crafted nest to one of 
precarious parameters would 
have resembled a downsizing
in the Sanford Weills, from
snuggery to Mr Alighieri's 
esy, itself. (Here, to pace
off their service corridor
and to confer with their
butler, we send them our
en tous cas metric, in a
gesture of housewarming).


This bias against precipitous dis-
entanglement far from distinguished 
one from our generation of fellows, 
and it must be confessed that our 
acquaintance with non-fellows was 
either rife with primordial incident 
or (equally to the point) not, which 
is to say, speculative. 

We, however, knew each other as our
own dirty socks: knew their stamp, 
knew they were ours, knew where they 
were, knew no one would take them
What: we can't admit to dirty socks?

There was, even then, something 
notably pressing, about whether 
we would be available for a visit 
at home; and I honestly cannot 
recall ever hearing the word, 
"No." Well, an Atlantic crossing or 
other, we were used to everything.

It was more than that we were the
thing we were all used toWe truly 
had been set apart, together. I am
aware this made us, mythically,
the butt of jokes, a stereotype. 
One sees now a smouldering entangle-
ment, prodigiously concentrative yet
observantly sympathetic, as we were
channeled (if you like) utterly to
extract each other's contribution. 
Few of us then conceived of things 
this way. We were absorbed, not -
in the strange expression of today
busy. Nobody asserted that claim.
It would have been insulting, if
it were not so meaningless.

I'll never forget an evening by the 
fire with an upperclassman, two years 
ahead of me, tossing backgammon dice 
back and forth, conjecturing between 
saving the baptistry doors and his
pending defenestration with a glitter-
ing degree in Art, with layers upon
layers of security beneath him. He 
said he felt de-accessioned, let go,
not commended. If this sounds tire-
some today, it was disconcerting then.

One's heart very much went out 
to him, although I was too little 
seasoned to comprehend how he felt. 
Rather, I naturally translated his
apprehension into another instance
for venerating his exemplariness.
But I was learning, and this conver-
sation will never be to me, just 
yesterday. It is not past. It is
counted in the census of our hol-

We traveled with our pajamas  
then. Risible as it is to think, 
it was considered polite to our 
hostess, even to our visitors. 
On one cold trip home one Christ-
mas, I contrived the necessity of 
flying from Philadelphia rather 
than Newark, to visit the guy born 
on November 2nd. I had a star from 
Cartier for his tree, and he had a 
scarf for me from our favourite 
haberdasher in town, whose bespoke 
jackets I still wear. We sat cross-
legged on a comfy Portuguese carpet, 
listening to Berlioz, where he and 
his brothers had knelt in their 
jammies to exchange toys - for most 
of a night, not thinking even to sip 
anything, absorbing nonetheless. The
character of that kind of time - no
machine to blink us a text, no custom
of tuning out, no pretense of multi-
tasking - drew upon an intense sen-
sory acuity we used to attribute to
the species, only to be proved wrong.
It needs to be given.

People who lived this way must engage
minds and faces of others in their
holidays, or allow them to slide by.
Very long ago, even when we were
dumb, we learned a holiday could not 
be forced. A holiday eased, however, 
counts among our happiest experiences. 
Those we can sit with, we always will.

Now the shape of affection changes,
its demands revising its qualities,
renovations estranging the unsus-
pecting, not that we are alone in
seeing this happen. My upperclass-
man friend gave me access to his
understanding, as well as to his
face and his voice. The solaced
holiday is not an entitlement of
life. It has to be given.

i         the birds guy
ii-iii  F. Lachowski
iv      Andrew Cooper
          intérieur series


  1. Have a safe, restful, rich, and good weather holiday. Your fan, Kevin

  2. And yes my dear Laurent, I will drop in all but fleetingly to feast upon les enfants and dream of paradise.

  3. My dear Kevin, I must say, I accept your offer!

    Hugs, gentle man. I think everyone who writes of his home writes for you; and for what else do we write?

  4. Dink! We missed you at paradise practice today. Learned a lot, come to think of it. Still, not so much as you know.

  5. regardless of our lives-desire remains the same. beautifully expressed, that comment stands on this page. pgt

  6. We were so close; I'm grateful to think your compliment addresses that, but I know it belongs to the giving ones that I, like others, try to transcribe. This page needs a reader like you, and at this hour, I'm not about to go shopping. :)

    Thank you for being at rmbl.