June 22, 2009

Pull out the map

So after the real estate developer/widower m., after the widower who is still married m.r.s, after the psychiatrist, , I am devastated and freed.

Did you know that Greenland was once ruled by Denmark? I read this in this morning’s New York Times as I learn of Greenland’s independence. I wonder what exactly Denmark has been doing with Greenland. I learn there may be oil reserves there and this holds some interest for me as I used to work for the oil industry. And Denmark, being who Denmark is, will let those oil reserves go because I am hoping: Some things are more important than money.

I worked for the oil industry? Square peg in round hole who managed to fit. Oh, the paradoxes abound.

Was this how I managed to fit inside my marriage?

I wonder what Greenlanders feel. I learn that that they like me have concerns about their name, their emblem. Their real name is their Inuit name: Naalakkersuisut—the first time in history, officials said, that word had been used in a Danish government document. This was the day that declared some sort of gradual independence for Greenland. What exactly is gradual independence. You’re either independent or you’re not. I can hear my father saying this. Oh, not really. I was talking about assisted living and he said, “You’re either living or you’re not.” Much better line. I am working on this.

Of course, I am reading about Greenland in The New York Times. My young friend Sarah Krouse with whom I went to see the chick-flick The Proposal tells me at lunch that maybe I could love The NYT a bit more, meaning, of course, that I love the paper too much, refer to the paper too often here.

I think about this. After all, I start my morning with that paper even though I am not from New York. I am from Baltimore and, I fear, I don’t long for that paper though I used to read it regularly. But who owns that paper now?

Who owns whom? That is the question.

Let’s talk about The Proposal. A chick-flick about what we all supposedly want: we people who were not meant to ever fall in love and marry and who do. This movie steals during opening bits from three other movies I actually like better: The Devil Wears Prada: Margaret, aka Sandra Bullock, is a witch on her broom much like Meryl Streep playing some version of Dianna Vreeland. Greencard: Margaret is about to be deported to Canada like Gérard Depardieu who is about to be deported to France—now how can that be a fate worse than death? This also reminds me of French Kiss where Meg Ryan is about to be deported from Canada to the United States while she is in search of her belovèd Charlie who left her—she has lost her passport along with other complications while she is in France where she will live happily ever after. And by the end steals from a fourth I like better: While You Were Sleeping: Here too the Sandra Bullock character has no family; both her parents are dead; she is an only child. She allows misunderstandings to pile up while a family adopts her.

I, by the way, want to adopt the young Sarah Krouse.

The Proposal has a heart all its own in Alaska of all places (Is that near Greenland?) and though this chick-flick did not bring me to tears… Well, actually there was a moment for me when Bullock tells about getting her tattoo after her parents had died. Something about that revelation was so bare—and her delivery. I do love Sandra Bullock.

After all, I have lost both my parents and my sister. And there was little help from D.’s family while the devastation of my immediate family proceeded like an inexorable glacier—only faster. His parents are not affectionate and don’t believe that death, separation, or god-no-divorce should be discussed. They don’t embrace. Have you ever experienced the spider hug? D. was not like them but was. Paradoxes abound.

He is in search of his map. D. is from Iowa. When my Uncle Dave first met him, he insisted that D. was from Ohio or Idaho. He had never heard of Iowa. He demanded, “Get me a map!”

So I’m obsessed with The New York Times.

Oh, you don’t think that follows? I used to start my morning with D.—actually, I used to wake up with D. Big difference. I actually have to go get The New York Times. I don’t roll over and see it or roll over and into its folds. You can do that with a man you love: fold into him with no worry about what is above or below the fold or where the sheets are.

The Greenland story is below the fold.

Yesterday, I lay on the National Mall—the nation’s front yard is my backyard; I can walk there in less than ten minutes from my book-lined condo that was so hard-earned after D. left me. I saw clouds like shaken-out sheets on a blue sky.

Greenlanders must feel like D.: They don’t think anyone knows where they are. They pull out maps to prove their existence.

What, dear reader, do you think this is? Have you seen the movie Off the Map? Not a chick-flick: a heartbreaker. Netflix it.