Which is perhaps why I've never finished writing a book, why my writing/working/career have all tended to drift around chaotically rather than moving forward in an efficient, organized... no, that's probably just me, isn't it.
I was particularly ruthless in disposing last month of a large bag of especially high-quality coffee kindly given to me by Johann, my Columbian PhD student – I gave it to Michelle and her husband, and they were obviously delighted. As for me, I knew I'd never drink it.
However, my new acupuncturist/diet consultant has told me: no tea, but coffee is all right. Which seems, admittedly, to stylistically go against a whole cluster of sandal-wearing-cultural tenets, but all right, those are my orders.
I was looking online for a single-cup coffee maker – not terribly easy; a stylish little one had bad reviews, and the local department stores mostly had coffee makers that would give me anywhere from six to eighteen cups of coffee. A ridiculous waste, of course.
So I was delighted to find a single-cup maker in the specialty kitchen shop – clunkier than the stylish model, but it makes a full-sized cup of coffee, and is gratifyingly cheap.
I must also admit to liking flavored coffees (cries of 'No, no!' and 'Shame!' from the balcony, sneers from the orchestra seats). This is perhaps similar to my liking for sweet wines and liqueurs (rotten fruit thrown from the second balcony, audience members leaving in droves). So I made a cup of something that claims it is flavored with Bailey's Irish Cream (technical crew turning the hall lights off and on in protest), and it is actually quite good... smooth, really nice. Tastes brewed, not instant, not unpleasant...
(First of all: I'm sorry there have been no blog entries for what, a month – no, five weeks. I am improving, especially rapidly lately, though I did no traveling this summer; I am still intermittently tired and fretful, but more often just fine.)
Tomorrow is the first day that we face all those new students; masses of meetings, receptions, instructions, spreadsheets, and so on for three days, then a rapid quietening, and then next Monday the first class.
This evening, I received an e-mail from Michael, the brilliant choreographer from New Zealand – who is going to go to Paris to do a doctorate in philosophy at the Sorbonne. If that seems odd to you, let me explain: Michael is not only one of the most imaginative dancer/choreographers of the last couple of decades in New Zealand – perhaps anywhere – he is also one of the few people who, when I visited them in their homes, left me feeling slightly devastated at his obvious intellectual superiority. A dancer, and an (intellectual) genius? Yes; and yes, it is indeed slightly intimidating. Energetically handsome, too. And a few years older than I am.
So, the news in the e-mail is that he is passing through while moving to Paris, and wants to visit. I accept, gladly; Michael is definitely one of those guys I wish I had ended up with over the years. Of course, most of 'those guys' tend to be easy-going sensate types, who would leave me with my books while they worked in the gardens....
But my restlessness, perhaps my being wound up over tomorrow's responsibilities, perhaps the slightly disorienting impact of hearing from Michael, has me thinking: what about the particular subset of prospective or wished-for lovers, those men who have left me impressed with their brilliance? The attractive ones, I mean. What would life with one of them have been like?...
Well, Paolo, whom I've mentioned before, is a software guru in San Francisco, someone whom software experts from around the world ask to examine their more experimental ideas. Warm-hearted and charmingly silly, embedded in a wealthy industry, he very much wanted us to be boyfriends at one time – but I wasn't paying attention, and by the time I realized what I'd missed (after I finished the PhD at the age of forty, when I was living in Hong Kong) and visited him to announce that I was finally ready for him, he forestalled me by telling me how happy he was to be having a civil partner ceremony later that month with... some guy. Another guy, who was of course not me. Ah well; I suppose I should be grateful that he spoke first that day; I wonder if my face fell when he told me?
And Richard, who is of course heterosexual – at least, from what I hear, now he is heterosexual – different timing, meeting him earlier in our lives, might have affected him as a possibility. But on the other hand there is a dark, grim coldness in Richard that comes out in his edgy, brilliant compositions, that is perhaps a bit frightening – although his relationships with women seem to work, I would have been anxious about investing my heart there.
And so back to Michael, this choreographer... it's strange: he is one of few who seem to be simply too good for me. Terrifically smart, creative, intellectual (the books floor to ceiling in every room of his large, dusty Wellington apartment were such that I felt awed and distinctly outclassed), handsome, energetic... ah well, he's generally attracted to younger, more athletic men than I in any case.
But the prospect of a visit from him, on this early autumn night that seems to hold no sleep for me, reminds me of the kind of vivid, enlivening, challenging (and admittedly imagined) partnerships I might have had, partnerships where I was definitely and humbly second fiddle, helpmeet, in the background, which would have been okay in these remarkable cases. If only I'd been in the right places at the right times, if only I'd asked the right questions – if only, I'd....