Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Growing...Well, Growing...Old? (!?@#)

After a month in York, we're starting to feel a lot more comfortable with our little home, and our new little life. We even recently got some new things up on the walls which were bare for so long. We were at the Newgate Market in the city center this past Sunday, and we saw a guy selling posters.
Laminated posters!
For a couple who rejoices anytime we're able to manage a trip to any kind of store where home furnishings can be purchased--it's amazing how much becomes miraculous without a car--we were overjoyed to see posters for sale. Only a couple of miles from our home.
Laminated posters!
These babies were some serious goods, so we ended up choosing four large posters with which to decorate our home: one copy of Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his "I have a Dream" speech, with the entire speech in text below the image; one copy of some semi-motivational poster featuring a person dressed in a thick red coat climbing a huge, snowy mountain; one copy of Churchill's war slogan, "Keep Calm and Carry On"; and one copy of the original Casablanca movie poster.
After hanging them around our home later that night (eventually using tiny nails and a hammer that we got for a pound at a store called Poundworld--the UK equivalent to the Dollar Store or Family Dollar in the US), we felt like a King and a Queen in our little place.
It doesn't take much.
(Did I mention that these posters are laminated?)
After Tyler had practiced using his own Bob the Builder plastic hammer in the same spots where I used my Poundworld hammer moments earlier, and we had gotten him down to bed for the night, we breathed a sigh and sat down in our living room.
Then, we got up.
We washed the dishes, cleaned up the fake hammers, screwdrivers, saws, Bob the Builder trucks, diggers, excavators (you get the picture), and threw a load of laundry in.
And this is the interesting part. As I was throwing some clothes into the washing machine, I noticed my pant cuffs dragging along the floor. My shoes were off, and I thought, Hey, these pants need to last me three years, I don't want the cuffs to get all worn out already, etc...
So, what did I do? I did what anyone in my place would probably do: I bent down and rolled up the bottoms of my pant cuffs.
I rolled up my trousers, you might say.
I was wearing--to articulate it a bit differently--the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
And in a little more than one month, I am going to turn 30 years old.
So: I'm not even kidding when I tell you that this line flashed into my mind like a flashy flash: I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Turning around to see if the ghost of T.S. Eliot was, in fact, standing behind me in the kitchen, whispering his old poem as he watched me throw in in this load of laundry (he did, after all, emigrate to Britain, right?), I felt a little silly.
And a little old.
But then, I took solace. Because in that same poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,"--which I still remember vividly from Mrs. Ferrero's 11th grade English class at Windsor High School--Eliot also asks "Do I dare disturb the universe?"
Now, that sounds like a question I still want to answer.
(Instead of the latter question he asks, "Do I dare to eat a peach?")
So, I'm okay, right? I'm not already starting to think that I'm old. I still want to disturb the universe a little, right?
After all, I was just rolling up my pant cuffs because hey, these pants have got to last three years.
As long as the laminated posters will.