The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Friday, May 30, 2008

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

13 Comments:

Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

wow. This is great.

Fri May 30, 06:48:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

Hi Anne. I completely understand this. Weeping is good.

Letting your feelings come to you at the time they do is freeing and, as you have noticed, changes your energy. The world then responds and thank the Godddess Above it does!

I send you a big hug.

(And if you haven't already, go try on the bra--that's a great gift she's offering you.)

Sat May 31, 10:09:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger sass said...

at the jazz fest, maybe 4 or 5 years ago, i was halted in my tracks, just like the sad traffic walk, by the unknown voice of ray lamontagne.

it was a free concert, because he was unknown. now he is known. and one has to pay.

i cry all the time. i cry at sex in the city. i blame the resulting puffy eyes on allergies. it works. i think. your husband one days said, "you're puffy today." i said, "i have allergies."

btw - i got your message. i'm still in ny bc i don't ever want to come home.

Sun Jun 01, 11:52:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger ad said...

As someone who spent a good part of the day crying - and then throwing stuff - your blog post could not have arrived at a more propitious moment.

I feel calmer having read your words.

Thank you for sharing your story today.
Thank you for owning your sadness without shame.
Thank you for listening to Paul Simon.

Now go try on that bra.

Sun Jun 01, 11:39:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger T. Lee said...

You are so lovely and brave, and not just because you walk in Montreal traffic. Thank you for this amazing post.

Mon Jun 02, 02:25:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Anne C. said...

I guess every blog needs a sad post.

p.s. Good luck de-puffing Adriana. I saw your FB status, and was hoping that it was literal, as in "I lost [some inherently replaceable physical item of little worth]."

Mon Jun 02, 07:00:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

My sad just fell in love with your sad!

Mon Jun 02, 01:40:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger T. Lee said...

And I meant to say, your post has introduced me to this Ray LaMontagne and that has made me happy. Thank you for that.

Mon Jun 02, 03:14:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Anne C. said...

I'm so glad, Tamara. Frankly, I'm a little peeved that Sass didn't think to do the same for me 4 or 5 years ago.

Mon Jun 02, 03:33:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger T. Lee said...

I'm amazed by how much music passes me by. Once a time, I had my finger on the pulse.

Btw, I just listened to his KCRW perfomance/interview. I find it fascinating how severely soft-spoken his is, compared to his intense singing voice.

Mon Jun 02, 04:05:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Anne C. said...

p.s. Today an off-duty cross guard put her vest back on just to help me cross the street.

Tue Jun 03, 09:04:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

What a fantastic description of the effect deep emotions have on our lives. I've had similar experiences and love that you call them magic realism. They come as a result, I believe, of getting to a point of acceptance: that you can't control things, you must just flow with life and open yourself to whatever it has in store for you. Your deep sadness will pass, I'm sure, but try to keep that air of acceptance. It lets you see how truly generous people can be to you.

Thu Jun 05, 04:20:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Anne C. said...

Thanks, Tricia.

p.s. Yesterday a policeman helped me across the street. So weird!

Thu Jun 05, 08:41:00 pm GMT-4  

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