Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vincerò! Vincerò, Vincerò!

The condo is off the market for the first time since May 22.

Here is what that means:

No more air drying -- I can use my fluffy towels after I shower.

No more picking up after myself immediately when I abandon an empty glass or an apple core.

No more making the bed the fancy way every morning, using every pillow I own.

After just a matter of hours, I already feel once again as though I LIVE here, and am not just maintaining it while waiting for a would-be buyer. I’m not usually a messy person, but I may just throw around some dirty socks, scatter papers across the desk, leave a jacket crumpled on the cedar chest.

Does it sound as though I became a paranoid crazy person while the condo was available for lookers?

Oh yes – that happened right after the phone call from an agent who informed me that a potential buyer was in my parking lot and wondered if he could come in -- that very moment. I dutifully shoved my wet bathing suit back in the gym bag, walked down to the garage and then lurked in a parking lot across from my building.

I think I will enjoy this respite from being on public display.

I will not enjoy the circumstances that led to the respite. But Barbara Ehrenreich says in her new book “Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America” (Metropolitan Books, Oct. 2009) that I don’t have to be cheery as I muddle through this new cancer diagnosis and deal with the treatments.

So far I have been numb with despair, pleased at the favorable aspects of the situation, furious at having to deal with this again and grateful that I have such great docs and great friends to help me. All those emotions coursed through me in a 20-minute period, and they loop back through as the day goes on.

It’s exhausting.

Tonight I skipped book club (and I love my book club) in favor of climbing into my big soaking tub, where I cried for a bit and then read a New Yorker from two weeks ago, when I was still under the delusion that I was healthy.

Next I headed for the kitchen, where I devoured my 23rd honey crisp apple of the season. Then I spent the rest of the evening watching “Luciano Pavarotti: A Life in Seven Arias,” a DVD from the BBC that I bought last Christmas but had never unwrapped.

That did it!

In the car, I let Luciano sing to me all the time -- and this was even better. The astonishing beauty of this man’s voice transports me. Though I’m not going to California any time soon, I do plan to spend more time (courtesy of the DVD) strolling the streets of Modena and sitting in the great opera houses of the world, listening to my favorite of The Three Tenors.

And isn't that last line to "Nessun Dorma" an inspiring slogan to carry with me into surgery?


  1. Detours.
    Those odd bits of road and annoyance that wind us the long way home.


    Now there is a topic worth writing. Where it is; where it ain't; and the fact that it is just the moment we inhabit. Should we dare.

    There are times the detours remind us of the absolute mystery of life. Doesn't mean it don't suck completely at times. But, it is mystery none the less. And there is the Grace.

  2. For another great take on Nessun Dorma, check out the movie "Aria." It's from (I think) the late '80s. A compendium of directors wrote and directed short films using their favorite opera aria. In addition to the transcendent Nessun Dorma, the Liebestod also was beautifully directed. Every short is very well done (IMHO...)

    Best of luck to you on your journey.