Thursday, January 20, 2011
I have a bunch. Well, at least two.
January has been something of a grouse month around the homestead. Winter has gotten very old, with more snow – and lots of it – coming down as I’m writing this at 11:05 on Wednesday night; even more is due tomorrow. With a temperature plunge to below 10. Shoveling the driveway is always more fun when the temperature pushes down toward zero with a nice stiff wind to punch the point home that it’s cold.
I was born and raised in New Orleans. I remember once (once!) when the temperature went below 32 and the water pipes in the attic burst. I also remember when it snowed – I was seven and the half-inch snowfall paralyzed the city.
OK, so winter will pass, eventually. Then we have the YMCA.
I’ve been a member of our local Y since 1998. We’ve had something of a ritual for years – hit the Y in the evening on Sundays for our workouts. It worked fine -- we could do things (or nap) in the afternoon and then head to the Y.
They changed the Sunday hours, wrecking the ritual. And they did it precisely when attendance explodes – in January when the New Year’s resolutions crowd shows up (they always arrive by the beginning of the second week of January and are gone sometime in early March – you can set your watch by the immigration and emigration). So the hours are shortened, our entire Sunday afternoon now has to be managed to accommodate the Y, and the crowds are awful.
We complained. Loudly. We pointed out that the place is deserted on Friday nights and that would be the perfect time to shorten hours. We filled out complaint cards. We made remarks to the staff. My wife has now had phone calls from three staff managers, all commiserating but none promising any change. So we’re starting to look at alternatives.
Grouse. Grouse. Grouse. I feel like I’m learning how to be an irritated (irritating), crotchety old man.
The snow and the cold has meant one good thing – lots of reading this month. I just finished Monsieur Monde Vanishes by Georges Simenon. It is not an Inspector Maigret mystery novel; it is something more akin to Albert Camus’ The Stranger or something Jean Paul Sartre would have written (and the novel is roughly contemporary with them). It is very – French, early 1950s French, when plot tended to be overlooked or considered unimportant in books and movies.
Simenon was born in Belgium in 1903. He became famous as a hack writer who had an affair with Josephine Baker, invented Inspector Maigret and became famous all over Europe and the world, stayed in Paris during the German occupation, was said to have been a collaborator (he wasn’t but left Paris after the war and lived in the United States), moved back to France, and by the time he died in 1989 had written more than 400 books. I suppose he didn’t need much plot in his books; he had plenty in his real life.
Next up on the reading list: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and The Wolf of Tebron by C.S. Lakin. I’ve read an advance copy of Lakin’s The Map Across Time, the second novel in her Gates of Heaven series. It’s due to be published in March. I don’t read fairy tales or fantasy, but these novels of Lakin’s are something else again. I was mesmerized by The Map Across Time, so much so that I bought the first book in the series to read.
One additional benefit to reading: it keeps the grousing from getting out of hand.
To read more Pleasantly Disturbed Thursday posts, please visit Marty Duane Scott’s site, Scribing the Journey.