Shopping for Christmas gifts, I went into an Apple Store and realized that I don’t know what anything there is or what it is used for. I’m greatly behind in technology. A friend offered to take me through such a store and talk about what things are and what they do, and I’ll probably take him up on it.
Tuesday (13th) I took a walk in the rain, a drizzle mostly, and recited to myself Robert Frost’s “My November Guest”: “My Sorrow, when she’s here with me/Thinks these dark days of autumn rain/Are beautiful as days can be” (etc.)
Sunday night a concert in Chapel Hill, Pierre-Lamont Aimard, pianist. Two main pieces were Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, played at a slower tempo and with much less contrasts in dynamics than I had heard before, and Debussy’s Preludes, Book II. Both were performed with assurance and knowledge. There was much squeaking of seats in Memorial Hall. The encore was a short piece by Elliott Carter, recently deceased; in his introduction to the piece, Aimard expressed appreciation and affection for Carter’s work. A good, good concert.
This may be the week that I finish Of Time and the River. I particularly enjoyed the ending chapters of Book IV. The protagonist visits a friend from wealthy upper-class family up on the Hudson. The characterizations are brilliant, from the description of the “distant but not unfriendly smiles” to the portrait of the matron, who having re-decorated her house so that it was light and airy for summer, sent the women servants to town to have their hair bobbed so that she was not troubled by the sight of long hair in hot weather. The protagonist soon realizes that their behavior toward him is condescending. It would be good teaching material for satire. The situations are described, and then another character or the thoughts of the protagonist explain the satire.
Why are the welthy often condescending?
Mortaility (1). I bought the watch I had used until last Friday in 1985. It lasted 27 years with good service. I combine shopping for the new watch with Christmas shopping, and I didn’t like most of the models I saw. There were digital watches with vulgar pulsing numbers, watches that glowed in the dark, watches that marked each hour with Arabic or Roman numerals, watches that were calendars, watches that indicated parts of the second. I wanted something simple, such as my former watch, and I found it at last. It is marked on each quadrant only with simple silver marks. It has no second hand. It is run by solar energy. I like it. If it lasts as long as my former watch, it will be the last watch I buy. Mortality, yes.
Mortality (2). Make Your Own Bucket List by Andrew Gill, design by Matt Webb. Adams Media, 2012. I found the book in the humor section of a book store, and humorous or not, I read it in one sitting. And I made a list Of the 111 suggestsions, I wrote down 25 to consider. They helped me focus on some worthwhile and fun activities that I would like to do, especially in travel and in social situations. As I do them, I may record here what I did and what reactions I had. Humor: In the idea (which I do not have on my list) “Bucket List Entry #20. Share One Unique Talent You Have with the World. Accomplish what you want to accomplish and share this talent with as many people as you can. Write a book and get it published; do seventy-eight one-hand pushups and post it on YouTube. Send the tape of you armpit farting a Maya Angelou poem to your local news outlet. Whatever it is, the world must see it.” One I have in mind to do so: “Bucket List Entry #22. Destroy someting.”
Now we can walk or drive in showers of colored falling leaves. And if we’re lucky, there will be a small breeze.
The Bartlett pear tree is down. My friend with the chain saw conforted me somewhat, “These trees were genetically engineered by people who didn’t know much about trees. They are brittle, the blossoms have an overwhelming stnech, there’s no good thing about them.” As we loaded his truck with wood, I said that at least they’d burn. “Yeah, he said, “it’s a wonder they don’t have spontaneous combustion along with all of their other qualities.” That’s okay. He’s planning to give me a maple tree and two Chinese chestnut tress from his farm to replace the two pear trees.
Thank you for reading. Next week Thanksgiving. I hope you have good plans to be with loved ones.
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