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Sifter, Scale, Teaspoon, Apron

January 23, 2011

This morning, for the first time since early December, I had nothing to do. I could get out of bed, if I felt like it. Or not. I could make coffee and breakfast, or wait till later. I could put on pants and a sweater, or skulk in pyjamas till the apartment air felt too cold. I could do my hair, or leave it sticking up all over the place (my new haircut makes the best bedhead). I didn’t have to rise with an alarm, get in the shower then shovel a few scoops of cereal onto a spoon then into my mouth while leaning over the sink and watching the clock. I didn’t have to dodge my kitten while she darted underfoot and begged for attention. I didn’t have to count my knives and fluted tins and make sure I’d packed my complete uniform and not just part of it. I didn’t have to hoist myself into secretary clothes and pull warm boots and legwarmers over my pantyhose. Today, it doesn’t matter if I know which pocket contains my streetcar fare.

Instead, I stuck around in bed, ran my tongue over my teeth and noted, “yes…last night…definitely bourbon,” and burrowed into the blankets till they blocked out the light that leaks through my pale curtains. The cat crawled in beside me, curling into bagel-shape beneath the duvet. For the first time since early December, I felt like I had control of my heart, and control of my day.

This morning reminded me of the Arthur Russell song, Time Away, where he sings a little song about cleaning up his space and taking an easy day to himself. Taking time to pick up and fold his pants, smooth the blankets over his bed, and sweep clean the messy floor. Unlike in the song, I didn’t do any chores this morning, but had the time on my hands to afford some time for tidying up. Which is kind of what the song is getting at…the fact that you could just check out, sort out your shit, not talk and not read and not do and not share. Just be private for a little while.

This afternoon reminds me of what my instructor said during baking class yesterday, about the calibre of our freshly baked apple pies:

“Do not be discouraged when you watch me here. You are watching nearly forty years of experience while I roll this crust. Your crust will not look like my crust. Your crust will maybe have a small tear in its side, maybe it will be a bit lopsided and not entirely round. Your crust will go over the apples and maybe not quite seal properly. All of this is ok. This is your first pie. This is not my first pie. The important thing is to not worry that your pie doesn’t look like my pie, which is an evening pie. The important thing is to not make your pie look like a morning pie.”

A morning pie?

“Yes, for instance, in the morning, you maybe don’t want to get out of bed so much, maybe you don’t want to get up and eat pie, and instead you want to throw the pie in the garbage because it is like morning. In evening though, you want to go out, do things, eat everything. Eat an entire pie, for instance. This pie here, my pie, is an evening pie. Whatever you do, do not make a pie like morning. Maybe your pie, it will be afternoon.”

Afternoon pie. Afternoon. Maybe you don’t want to call my day perfect or eat it all up, but, you don’t look at my day and  think, “ugh, that day is a day that needs more practice before it can be called a day at all!”

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