Thought: Perhaps part of what makes city-folk aggressive is the anonymity of urban life. I was thinking about this while watching people gripe and shove on the Tube (a few weeks ago, a large woman actually pushed me, as in, a hand flat across my back, into someone else so that I’d get out of her way). In little Charlottesville, I wouldn’t attempt much public rudeness, because the chances are strong that I could run into that person again. Maybe she is my postal office worker. Maybe she is my future financial adviser. But in the big city, cause a scene, yell, or shove, because you’re a free agent; no one knows your name; you will never see these people again. You’re not accountable to anyone. Anonymity, I surmise, tends to make people assholes (see: almost every comment section on the internet).
Correlated thought: And YET. I think London is an infinitely more polite city than New York? So far? At least, it is quieter. People stick to a strong sense of silent decorum on the morning commute.
(The title: Love this line from Mrs. Dalloway. I think, if I recall correctly, it’s from Septimus or Lucrezia looking at newly sprung flowers in Hyde Park.)
(As a preemptive warning, all of my post titles are probably going to be lifted straight from Mrs. Dalloway, which I am currently re-reading for the fifth time. I am suffused with emotion! It is everything I remembered it to be and more, particularly because I am actually living in her pulsing city.)
This is our neighborhood. It is immensely charming.
These gardens are the grounds of our neighborhood church in St. John’s Wood.
Looking forward to our first full weekend together in the city!
I am so eager for spring. I saw a photo of what our garden looked like last June and was nearly weeping with anticipation and desire. The sun dappling the barely fuzzed zucchini leaves! The warm earth! The gnats! The sweat beading your legs as you toil in the dirt! Today, I feel like spring will never come (we’re due for more snow this Thursday). But we spring the clocks forward this Sunday and that makes me feel the faintest stirrings of hope.
Today, to tempt myself in the 45 degrees, which now feels practically tropical, I stood out on the back porch in the sun, in my coat, and read Rita Dove on my lunch break. The dogs wrestled in the half-snow/half-mud slush. A blue jay dive-bombed into boughs of the giant spruce tree. I thought about Dove and her childhood, about her dancing with Fred, about her mystical economy of language.
My year-old orchid rebloomed over the weekend and I feel so VICTORIOUS about it. I want someone to congratulate me.
This past week, I was introduced to Penelope Fitzgerald, via her delightful and tiny novel Offshore, and I am going to call myself a fan. I am eager to read more. I was inspired by a recommendation from our lay preacher/the New Yorker‘s coverage of her recently published biography. Read her before? Any favorites?
I am trying to love and understand Eden more. She is still a baby with a ton of energy, which is why she is often so annoying. She also just has one speed: RUNNING. I’ve never seen her walk anywhere. (Except for when you call her in from the backyard, where she is patiently waiting by the shed for someone to come out and play with her. Then she really drags her feet. She slowly, slowly tiptoes to the door, looking so terribly disappointed in life and in you, especially.) Remembering that all she wants is to play with someone is helpful in moderating my patience levels. Also, she is quite sweet when she wants to be. And she adores us. Last night, two episodes of House of Cards were watched with her little shepherd head in my lap. So that helps.