Video for One, Please

Video for One, Please

The kids were all set for their Friday night last night. I dropped son off to do some fencing then picked up (the Alec Guinness version of) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy at the university library. It was striking to have the time to park and walk across campus, to get a video that only I wanted, and to have the whole night ahead of me to watch a few episodes. As I stood at the circulation desk of the nearly empty library, I felt single. Not widowed, but single, on a Friday night. This is my life now.

The thing is, I didn’t mind picking up a 30 year-old BBC tv series on a Friday night. There wasn’t anything I wanted to do last night. I’ve been trying to get my hands on this series for a year now, and it’s always checked out. I was tickled to see that it was available. Truthfully, I couldn’t think of any better option for this Friday night.

Good thing, too, that I had a relaxing night. The farmers market was full of people seeing me, their eyes getting wide, pausing to take in the reality that this scandalous widow stood in front of them, buying Swiss chard, and giving me an awkward hello. I always want to make them feel at ease, just to put a stop to the palpable discomfort. When I see the eyes go big, I smile so that I don’t mirror the face they’re giving me. I give them a “good morning” that is drawn out and full of warmth, but by the time the words are out of my mouth, I’m past them, and moving on. I’ve got nothing to give people like that. They’ve already sliced away at my energy when I see their discomfort unfold at the mere sight of me. I try to not let it bother me, but after a series of those, I couldn’t bear to stand on the long line for sweet potatoes, where I would be standing in the middle of the market, trapped. Sweet potatoes just aren’t worth the effort of withstanding those faces, not today. Hang on folks, is this still me life? I’d like this register-of-shock-on-other-people’s-faces to not be my life anymore.

[This may be my favorite thing about yoga. I don’t know a lot of people there. My classmates chat with me like I’m some normal person.]

After the market I picked up groceries from the bakery and got the wide eyes-pause-hesitant hello from a woman out with her friends. I gave her the “good morning” when another woman–who has been so decent all along–at the table demonstrated a big “Hello, Kathleen!” and proceeded with her conversation. Yes, nice lady, show these fearful townfolk how it’s done. Be sincere, treat me like a person, and get back to what you were doing. Don’t let me be a conversation stopper.

I picked up the Gary Oldman movie of TTSS from the video store, and I’m going to watch that today. I love that movie. It’s full of British reserve, the suspense comes in things left unspoken, the mystery is solved through a series of quiet reveals and understatements. And then, at the end, when Smiley strides through the Circus and you can feel his heart bursting, that has got to me one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. Smiley suppresses a smile, and I’m filled with glee at his triumph.

Yeah, I could use that today.

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One thought on “Video for One, Please

  1. You are braver than I am. I have yet to go to my favorite farmer’s market. Now it has to wait until spring since here in Michigan they don’t set up in the winter. I think the more times you get out and about the easier it will get regarding other people’s reactions.

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