A Traffic-stopping Sad
I’ve had this magic realist problem lately. It’s kept me from blogging. Any time that I might have normally spent here has been spent weeping. This dramatic new habit takes up a lot of my time. I have to schedule my days around it: 9:00, dentist, 10:30, breakdown, 11:00 recovery (ice, concealer, blush).
None of which sounds good, I know. Except. There’s this thing about sadness. It kind of opens you up. There you are, walking around all raw and exposed, as though emerged from a surgery so fresh that the results are not yet known, and the world responds.
In my case, the response has involved the bestowing on me of some new powers, chief of which is my ability to stop traffic. Seriously. I can now use any crosswalk with impunity. If you have ever been to Montreal, you will know that this is not the normal state of affairs. Crosswalks exist here only in theory. They are not respected, not even by the police. That is unless the pedestrians trying to use them are sufficiently despairing, i.e., as sad as I have been this spring. I slump on the corner, waiting for an opening, and cars screech to a stop, with the drivers waving me—encouraging me—across. I can practically hear them cheering.
But that is not the only thing that has changed. I am no longer susceptible to parking tickets; prices keep getting lowered for me; my landlord has become suddenly attentive to my concerns. I no longer have to open my own doors or push my own buttons on the elevator. In yoga class, I don’t have to get up from my mat to get a yoga block: someone will always get it for me. Yesterday, the woman from the local lingerie store—the same woman who eyed me suspiciously for years out of a fear that I might inadvertently lactate on her merchandise (she used to make me line my breasts with Kleenex before trying anything on)—called to let me know that a new bra had arrived and that she thought that it would look good on my body: “I wish we had it in blue. I know that you would like that.”
And that is just the adult response. I haven’t even gotten to the children, or the cats. I feel a bit like a Disney princess in a forest in bloom, with bluebirds landing on my shoulder and deer eating out of my hand. I attract small things, especially strays. They needlessly brush up against me, on the street, in the playground. They sit beside me on the metro. If they fall, I am allowed, nay expected, to pick them up. And, those I know, I can influence with Pied Piper control. I’ve been testing this power, by doing more and more ridiculous things with it. Last week I took a three-year-old, a four-year-old, and two six-year-olds across the city by bus, with no problems. It was a breeze. I would have never attempted such a foolhardy journey on my own before the sadness.
So there you go. A small update on me. I was feeling low, but the response has been such that is no longer possible for me to maintain this feeling. I’ll just have to start getting my own yoga blocks, opening my own doors. Too bad about the crosswalks, though.
Ray LaMontagne, Shelter, Hold You In My Arms