Fin in a Waste of Waters

"These moments of escape are not to be despised. They come too seldom....Leaning over this parapet I see far out a waste of water. A fin turns....I note under 'F.,' therefore, 'Fin in a waste of waters.' I, who am perpetually making notes in the margin of my mind for some final statement, make this mark, waiting for some winter's evening." (from Woolf's THE WAVES)

08 February 2007

Elegy for lost earmuffs

Yesterday, my big fluffy white earmuffs broke...(I would never actually "lose" them, like at the supermaket or something). No, I was putting them on, and *snap* over my head, the band broke at its center.

My earmuffs...they were by no means one of a kind, not at all unique. No, we picked up one day at the Gap, my earmuffs, myself, and a pair of furry gloves. And ever since, my earmuffs and I have been inseparable - they've been with me back and forth over the Atlantic (and suffered an exploding pen situation on this most recent trip...loyal to the last, I wore them still, blue ink stains and all); they saw London for the first time with me, and Portland, OR; and finally, their ultimate resting-place, Brighton.

They were by no means unique, but they were my own, they were my trademark. They won compliments and comments and the occasional beep of a horn from complete strangers on the street; smiles from the overworked women who rang up my groceries at Marks&Spencer; drinks from lonely old men in pubs; jokes, hugs, and cuddling from those who knew me best ("You know those aren't legal in England?" prompted one professor). Walking home from tango one night with my friend Korhan - he looked away for a moment; I put on the earmuffs; he turned back to respond to some question of mine, saw the muffs, and burst out laughing, mid-sentence. "Now that was a moment!" I can't say it any better than he did that night. Such was the magic of the muffs. They had a life of their own, spirit.

And then that terrible, gut-wrenching *snap* over my head yesterday afternoon. The logical thing to do was to throw them away, right? No sense regretting irrevocably lost ties. They looked so sad and lifeless in the rubbish bin, like a small furry animal. I left them there for the day, left for campus. I came home that night, ate dinner. But when I tossed my banana peel away on top of them, it was too much, and I had to retrieve them. Such is our current condition: they lie mangled on my desk, leaving my ears cold in the weather here that's suddenly decided for the first time all winter to actually hit zero (celsius).

My poor lost muffs. What is there to do but lament your passing? (And start shopping for hats...there will never be muffs like you again.)


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