Dense fog this morning, and then I was swimming in it. Lap swimming. Driving in fog is mysterious and weird, delightful and scary. Swimming in it is just like swimming without fog, since it's close up and just like the mist on other mornings when the water is warmer than the air.
I feel in a sad fog lately about the recent shootings. We know better than to keep on keeping on without enough gun control. Poor Emilio, in the wrong place at the wrong time. He loved soccer, his mother said, and now he'll miss the World Cup. A small, ironic shame inside a huge, horrific one. Shame on us.
My computer is in a fog, too, aka slow motion. I feared acquiring a virus from someone I communicated with recently in a professional capacity, so I cleaned everything, and the slo mo may just be the computer reacquiring all its cookies.
Or it might be fumes. Remember how my husband paints, lately, with paint thinner? Imagine my dismay, and the hilarity, of finding toxic fumes in Bark, by Lorrie Moore, the story called "Paper Losses." In this story, a woman's husband (shortly before a divorce) is building model rockets in the basement. She's talking to a supportive friend about her unsupportable life and the general lack of marital communication:
"I ask, 'What the hell are you doing?' I ask, 'Are you trying to asphyxiate your entire family?' I ask, 'Did you hear me?' Then I ask, 'Are you deaf?' I also ask, 'What do you think a marriage is? I'm really curious to know,' and also, 'Is this your idea of a well-ventilated place?' A simple interview, really."
I love Lorrie Moore. It's scary, as I said before, how much I identify with her characters and situations, wishing I could be half as funny, but I'm happy to report that I simply ask my husband to wear an appropriate mask while painting with paint thinner. I'm pretty sure he's not trying to kill us. Or himself. Summer is good. We can open the windows.
Yes, I got to the library, and they had Bark, and I answered most of my own questions. Yes, dogs. Yes, trees. Plus people barking at one another instead of communicating more gently and in human language. I'd have figured out the tree part if I'd looked closely enough at the cover image, but I was focusing on the words, fog colored.
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I've been an encyclopedia editor, a poetry editor, an actor and director, a library clerk, and an assistant professor of English. Now I'm a freelancer, work part time in a library, blog "eight days a week," study the random, tend perennials, and listen to birdsong.