Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stroller Was a Fool

I’ve always insisted to Toad that she was my gal...not his. We’ve both admired Dominique Browning and I’ll admit that my attraction at first was superficial. Surprise I know…pretty girl…who cares about anything else? That strategy has caused me more trouble in life than anything else. Seriously, nothing else has come close. 

I only miss a few things about my marriage and the magazines on LFG’s mom’s side of the bed would be one. Shape Magazine was soft porn. Shut up. Town and Country was, well, whatever, and I always devoted fifteen minutes to it. But damn, who was this woman with the beautiful eyes? Like azure lasers, her eyes stunned me. She was chief editor of one of the magazines that lived on the other side of the bed—House and Garden.

I loved my house and I loved my garden—yes, the other things I miss about my marriage. Our house had good bones and I loved transforming it. When we put the house on the market I was insistent that the realtor include as a feature in the marketing compost bin. I was dead serious. I explained that it was black gold…a precious enhancer, magnifier and expediter of life. I declared that anyone serious about growing anything would covet the compost bin. It was my second baby and it might be THE thing to close the deal on our house. Interestingly, no one else felt the same way about compost. I bet Ms. Browning understands.

So I’d look forward to gandering through House and Garden—devoting a bit more to it than my fifteen minutes of Town and Country time but not quite the same interval given to Shape. But what I most looked forward to was those eyes. The editor’s letter … the preamble…I’d read it but I’d drift back to the eyes after  reading a word or two. Then my marriage was no more. Then her magazine, later, was no more.
Slow Love. A chick book. No problem. I’d read a few before and defended my interest in them and rationale for procurement.
Mrs. Whaley and her Charleston Garden was great fun. The life lessons and business lessons translated from Mrs. Whaley’s garden wisdom annotate my original copy of her little tome. 
Cathedrals of the Flesh was another great chick book. Alexia Brue travelled the world in search of the great saunas, steams and communal baths. Nice.
And finally, The Red Leather Diary by Lily Koppel…… I listened to an interview with the author of the book and the author of the diary and bought it straight away…motivated by the fact that I’d had a friend, an elderly woman in Vermont who had lived the same life, essentially, that this diarist lived.
So why did I take the cover off of Slow Love? I don’t know, but I did. Thin faced on my part. Interestingly, I’m sitting in a Philadelphia hotel as I type this and it was in Philly recently that I admitted to reading said book without the cover. I rarely fail to finish a book started and Slow Love would not be an exception. But I must admit that after reading twenty or so pages I figured that the themes of love lost, letting go, renewal etc. would be the consistent deliverable therein…hardly riveting and certainly no assurance of breakthrough lessons to learn. But that was ok, she has the eyes.

The book turned the corner for me when I learned that she had a sofa in her kitchen. A sofa where her boys spent meaningful bits of their formative years. LFG and I live on our sofa and it wears a gnarly patina as evidence. Further evidence of why I should admire this woman for more than her eyes manifested in her book accumulation conundrum. Bookcases and book shelves everywhere? Even in the laundry room? Yes. My kind of woman—indeed. 

Her admission regarding to what degree letting go of her house impacted her—all of the memories and milestones—the vegetation that wasn’t cut back…for a reason. I call that compost logic…and I get it. I pulled out of the driveway of my marital home seven years ago and I’ve never, ever turned down that street again. 
I’ve never again seen the status of what I planted…the boxwoods that I lined the flagstone walk with…my neighbor called them “Gi-Joe…Barbie Doll” sized plants. I bet they’re Webkinz size by now—boxwoods are slow growers. I’ve speculated about them but I can’t bear witness to their current status. No big deal right? ADG lives hundreds of miles from his old marital home. I live four miles away.

And finally, there’s Stroller. My blue eyed editor’s on again off again friend, paramour, boyfriend. What a fool. A fool indeed.

Onward. ADG


Suburban Princess said...

I with you on the compost! Everyone here has one and we put everything we can in it. Every year it fills my flower pots and feeds my veggie garden.

We love our couch too - in fact we need to get the cushions restuffed but I am having a hard time finding a week when we wont need it that much so it can be done!

James said...

There is a kind of mystique about dark haired women with blue eyes. I think I understand how you feel about your old home. The old line about "you can't go back again" is true.

K.S. Anthony said...

So THAT was the mysterious yellow book.

Haven't read it...I seem to recall TinTin or someone else recommending it.

Glad you're well...

ADG said...

K.S. ...Just started Hitchens' new memoir...Hitch22...MUCH edgier. Just read some of your stuff...hope you start sleeping better.


SuburbanOne...have it done when you are on holiday...we've GOT to get this one slipcovered again.

Chuck Hatt said...

I have loved Ms. Browning through her House and Garden years and was pleased to read her recent essay in the NY Times Sunday Magazine several weeks ago. Her eyes are lovely as her prose. I've appreciated her way of weaving aesthetic, family, and place. My 10 year old compost pile is definitely one of the important features of our backyard, a fecund homestead resource. Once again a reading your blog us a welcome respite in the sea of distressing interweb information ADG. Thanks so much.

MaryBeth said...

I would love to meet her just to see her eyes, she is the female Paul Newman.

Pigtown-Design said...

i remember being a kid and my father borrowing a truck, so we could move the compost heap from one house to our new one! he kept it going for 30+ years. it was invaluable to his garden.

Anonymous English Female said...

ADG - My grandfather wouldn't even let his gardeners touch the compost heaps - there were two, one for lawn mowings another for everything else that passed his close inspection. I have memories of him returning from trips to the Ministry; jumping out of his car, ignoring all greetings to head straight to back of the vegetable garden where he would stand and mutter, prodding the compost heap with the tip of his umbrella. I think it was his therapy.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

There's some sort of analogy here... compost, first marriage, editing, chick lit. Damned if I can make the connection.

I suppose if we just keep adding to the pile, taking away that which isn't suitable, it becomes good stuff to help things grow. Phoenix from the ashes?

And... that's enough of that.

tintin said...

I want to read her new one but am still reading, Every Man Dies Alone. Which is amazing. One of the very best I've ever picked up.

The Happy Rooster at 118 S 16th has the best parcel of attractive women of that certain age I've ever seen in one very small place.

Toad said...

Like you I have never been down our old street. I'm curious what the aversion is.

Will said...

An eye man. I knew I liked you for a reason. Lost job AND lost love??? Sounds like my life!!! May have to pick that one up. I haven't forgotten about the Sinatra book, by the way....just haven't unpacked that box yet.

Anonymous said...

So, you had a flagstone walk. I am not surprised. I'm sure your place was lovely. I love a flagstone or brick walk. So much more pleasant than cement.

Might I ask which magazines are/were on your side of the bed.

Anonymous said...

I'm also reading Hitch-22. I attended the event at Politics & Prose this evening. I'm sorry to have learned that the original owners are putting it up for sale. Mr. Hitchens will be interviewed at a local Synagogue on this upcoming Sunday. Enjoy the book.


ADG said...

ChuckHatt...thanks man!

MaryBeth...the female Newman indeed. I'm a bit of a Newman as well. Alfred E. Newman!

MegTown...GREAT...see everybody, I'm not the only one who recognizes the greatness of compost.

AnonEngFem....Great visual...a much more elegant gander at the smouldering-evolving pile of life than I ever manifested. And TWO bins...stellar. are a gentleman and a scholar. I wouldn't attempt to deconstruct my drivel on a bet. But you my friend have made an admirable attempt.

Tintang...I'll be in Gotham week after next and you are buying lunch. neuroses are far from complex so I'll only speak for me. Compartmentalization-denial-blocking...that's why I've turned my back-literally-to my old neighborhood! worries on the Sinatra book. Hope all is going well for you. cement indeed. Admittedly, the flagstone was there before we moved in but I was able to do tons of good things to make a good house even better. My magazines? New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Garden and Gun, Economist, Vanity Fair. An occasional Esquire but no GQ. Smithsonian. Now that I think of it, all of my professional journals, media, resources .... I now access exclusively online.

Hilton....DAMN...cannot believe that I missed Hitchens last night. And I was in town. LFG charmed him one time at National Airport.

ilovelimegreen said...

I never had a compost pile but I had a wonderful garden in the house that just about killed me to sell. I can't go by that house ever again.
I've just added two earlier Hitchens books to my summer reading list (which is growing and growing).

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

We live on the property that Emily Fishburne Whaley grew up on...a beautiful area in God's country. How is that guest post coming along?

Anonymous said...

the woman who wrote slow love , well, if you read through the lines, it's obvious she was "the other woman" and she is not telling the truth about her role in her weird relationship with the man. She calls the wife a "screamer" - I would guess a lot of people would scream if they constantly had to deal with someone like ms. browning constantly trying to break up a marriage. The man lived at home. It never occurred to her that a man living at home is still married and in a marital relationship - one which she was not entitled to be a part of no matter whether he was "legally" separated or not. Me thinks her garden stinks.