Preparing dinner for one person feels both really strange and a little exhilarating. The only question about dinner tonight was, “What do I want to eat?” Not, “What can Gillian eat?” because of her food allergies; not, “What would Robby like to eat?” and not, “Is this enough food”, because rarely is it when either Robby or Charlotte is home. My family all took off for the long weekend seeking better snow in central Oregon than we’ve had around here lately. I have a class on Monday, and decided I didn’t want to miss it, so I stayed home. Then I did something really radical. I went skiing today, and let them get themselves organized and ready to go. This is all new. I’ve gone skiing by myself before, but I don’t know that I’ve ever made the conscious choice to not go with anyone else and to choose to spend the time with me and my bad self. I guess I finally took Derek Wolcott’s advice in his poem Love After Love, that I posted a couple of days ago. We’ve had a good day, me and myself… even driving with no radio or cd player. Without my notebook to record my thoughts, I told them they were just going to have to wait. All of the things I need to take care of and do are still waiting for me, but they didn’t enter my mind all day – or maybe they just didn’t get noticed. I’m not sure that my gang has everything they need, but I don’t know that they don’t either, and I’m sure they’ll manage.
So, back to this dinner… On my way home from the mountain this evening, I stopped at the store and ran into an old friend. She had been an actress prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom. She told me about a show in which she is performing a couple of weeks from now, and about the one following that. She also told me that she was feeling a little selfish. I thought, for a split second, about reassuring her on this selfishness thing, but I caught myself. I now realize, no one can reassure you and chase that feeling away. You have to come to it yourself – I’m still working on it. Even today, as I happily skied until I could not imagine doing one more turn in the deep new snow without my legs giving out beneath me, I had periodic twinges, probably thoughts trying to be heard, that said I was doing something terribly decadent, maybe even a little bit illicit. No, I am not ready to counsel my friend on the topic of whether or not she is being selfish. Not until I can make it through a day of solo skiing without it crossing my mind. All those men up there today, avowedly playing hooky from work; were they worried about doing something selfish? I think they’d feel worse about missing a day of skiing with new snow!
I congratulated my friend and shared with her a reader’s digest version of my documentary project, the exhibition in New York, and the fact that I get to go for the reception. We saluted each other on our recent endeavors. She commented on how much fun she was having doing what she loved again. Her eyes were sparkling and I noted that she looks younger than the last time I saw her. I asked myself, “Selfish”? How many people, aside from her immediate family, benefit every day because this woman, my friend, is doing what she loves to do. How might the world be a different kind of place if “stay-at-home” moms didn’t feel “selfish” about pursuing their passions.
As for tonight’s photograph, it seems that the food shots are what I take when it gets to be around dinner time and I still haven’t found anything inspiring to shoot that day. On the other hand, apparently I must always find food somewhat inspiring. If I hadn’t had my purse stolen, I would still have that cool little pocket size camera, and I would surely have found something inspiring while skiing. But this image is really more from inside my life, and I was too busy playing today to worry about getting the perfect image for the blog. Maybe its perfect after all. The shapes, textures and colors of food are often hard to beat.