Thursday, November 19, 2009

In the eye of the beholder

If muted hues of grey, brown, ochre and green do it for you, November is your month, in spite of the bad publicity it tends to get (and here I am as guilty, or more so, as the next person). The main trouble with November is that you're never, ever out in daylight, for there is so precious little of it - at least if you're here, on these latitudes (and I am). Pretty much dark when you stumble around allowing your dog to do her morning business (and the look in her eye, when you get up in the nighttime darkness and start acting like it's morning, is one of severe chiding), pretty much dark when you trundle through the drizzle to the bus stop to make it home again.

It's dark, and it's only getting more so. However.

I have conjunctivitis, so I noticed this morning (this is "pink eye" for you American folks). So I needed to see a doctor for some eye drops, and so the health centre is pretty much chocker with the pig-flu people - both those who are ill and those who are being vaccinated. Currently children under six. Health care professionals have already been done, as have risk groups such as pregnant women and diabetics and other suchlike losers. Healthy robust adults (such as I) are due to get their vaccination sometime in February, by which time we will all have either died of it or developed natural immunity by living through it. Incidentally, I've been thinking, wouldn't it be just great if pig flu would manifest as a cute little snout forming on your face, a curly wee tail sprouting from the base of your spine, and your speech coming in grunts and oinks? Way better than the current thing. Man, if I were to redesign the world, I'd make it so much more interesting. But I digress. Yes, conjunctivitis, pink eye, unattractive as it is, has (combined with the pig flu of others, and the health centre being unable to see me until eleven-twenty) given me a chance to view November in daytime - daylight through hazy fog, the aforementioned muted earth colours. And lo, it is actually quite lovely.

So that is good. And it's made me think about how when I have my luutamummon mökki, Ms Dogot and I will just really enjoy November, rather than moan and groan through it, about its inherent hopeless ugliness and what have you. We'll sleep as late as we like and potter around in the haze admiring the muted colours when we're up. It might help you understand if I explain about luutamummon mökki a little, though.

In July, Ms Dogot and I had four spectacularly perfect days over at the summer cottage, during which we saw practically no-one, the idyll only ruined by a few words exchanged with the neighbour ("I'm heating the sauna tonight. I'll give you a call when I'm out, so you can go, too. Could I borrow your tick tongs? Ms Dogot's got a tick on her leg, and ours are in town. Ta."). When my parents came to collect us (for we were there carless and carefree), I told them how flawlessly beautiful a time we had had, and how we'd firmly decided this was how we'd spend our lives - in a little cottage in the woods in the middle of nowhere, together, rarely seeing anyone else. My mother (the pragmatist) asked whether we'd considered how we'd earn our keep. No, we hadn't considered that yet, actually. She suggested we (well, I, I suppose, technically) could become a luutamummo - literally, a broom granny. A(n old) lady who collects twigs and makes brooms of them, the weirdo living on the outskirts of human habitation, muttering to herself, the society of civilised people feeling a pity and a shunning and a "wonder how on earth she makes ends meet, nobody ever buys her twigs on a stick". This future plan sounded truly fine to me, but my mother added, after some consideration, that I could probably also get a pension of some sort, if I'd just show enough signs of pensionable instability.

This plan sounds mighty fine, too. And as someone, quite recently, authoritatively claimed that outspoken dreams tend to become reality, I have now started serious work on reaching this goal, as you can see. I'll let you know when it all comes to fruition. In the meantime, to give you an idea of the future of Ms Dogot and myself, we'll be looking out of a window not unlike this one.


nmj said...

I think you would make a wonderful broom granny. In Sweden, the government renamed swine flu 'new flu' to get rid of the porcine connotations. Your thoughts make me think of Marie Darrieussecq's novel 'Pig Tales'. A young beautician quite literally turns into a pig. It's a long time since I read it, it was too hard in French so also I got the English, but don't think I finished it. Hope conjunctivitis clears up. I have just put in my midday eyedrops! x word ver: extra

Anna MR said...

Sweet pea, I will take that as it was intended - the highest praise. Thank you. I agree, I think being a broom granny is clearly what I was meant to be, all along. Can you imagine all the wasted years I've, um, wasted, not being a broom granny? I must hasten to it with speed and gusto.

Now you realise I *of course* googled Marie Darrsscqsqcsqcsq's book. And yes, Marie Daquiri's book makes me think of me. This from A Review: "Civilization -- if one can call it that -- is a disappointment, and she is happy enough to retreat to her piggish state in the end, just barely holding onto anything human."

Hear hear. Go, Marie Daguierrotypia, I'm with you in this line of thinking.

Of course, we are now conjoined at the eye with drops. You poor thing, you've been doing them for ever, haven't you? I've had one dose only, so far, and it was plenty yucky (stings, the bastard, and is thick and viscous). My doctor, though, bless him, forbade me from going to work. So I've had today off. Feeling mildly guilty but enjoying it all the same. (I am, however, meant to be Giddensing, for an exam on Monday, as we speak - so that is a much greater source of guilt.)

Extra is good. Hurrah for something extra.

Hope *your* eyes balance out soon. About time and all.


Ruth said...

My goodness you're funny and sweet, and I like reading you. You should be publishing these - yes as essays, non-fiction, the new realm of the talented. But here is nice too, it is publishing after all, and I get to read it.

Yucky pink eye. I had to smile at the "for you Americans" not that you said it but that we need it.

As for sticky brooms - are you talking about those things I saw in Scotland in the Highlands standing up at the post of a fence by a sheep field? My husband and I could never figure them out as we drove our stick shift car on the wrong side and shifted the door handle. What are they for, pray?

Now off to the photos.

Anna MR said...

Great Scott. You praise me overmuch, Kind Lady of (t)Ruths. I think this realm here is best suited and most fitting for the sort of publishing needs I have. But thank you v. warmly indeed for your kind words (and super glad you enjoy the reading. Really, sincerely, not joking now).

So you did that thing with the gear stick in the door? When I moved back to Finland, after nigh-on a decade in Britain, I didn't drive at all for a couple of years, but when I did, I was forever pulling the hand brake (that'd be the parking brake for you American folks, k?) on the door handle. A strange experience, to be sure, and not helped at all by the fact that I felt like there was huge amounts of car between me and the edge of the road on the right, so much so that I must *surely* be right in the middle of the road and on-coming traffic was going to bash straight into me, so to avoid that I was virtually slicing through the parked cars on the right, that's how close I'd lick them (with my car, okay - not my tongue. Don't be disgusting, Ruth. Cars are bad for you and dirty, too, they shouldn't be licked with tongues).

As for the stick things on Scottish fence posts, I have left you an illustrated explanation on a blog post not far below this one.


nmj said...

Yes, Marie is quite tricky with her second name spelling, I always have to look it up... Of course I meant as compliment, honey, I myself feel halfway to being a luutamummo, without actually doing the twigs collecting bit. I guess you are not wearing your contacts just now, what kind of meds do they give you for conjunctivitis? Yup, I am almost 5 months into this damn iritis (which has finally settled, hopefully), but am still on very slow tapering, down to 2 drops steroid, alternating with 1 drop every other day, but still on the scary pressure drops too, which sting like almighty hell. I have no idea what Scottish brooms you speak of, am I just missing something obvious? Are brooms not the same everywere? Where is the post, I cdn't find! x

Anna MR said...

Sweet pea, there was never any doubt of the compliment issue, no worries there (or indeed, anywhere). My eye drops are a little bit like glue. They sting. But my doctor is A Very Nice Doctor, and those are worth their weight in gold (as surely you will know better than I), so I'll squeeze glue into my eyes (stingy glue), if it makes him happy.

The Scottish broom thing - shhh. < small font>I've no idea at all what the devil the lovely Ruth has seen standing on Scottish fences. No idea at all. But I've made up an explanation all the same - not knowing shit about something has never stopped me talking knowledgably on it before - and you'll find it, as will the rest of the world - and Ruth, as I hope - in the rumours and murder post, comment thread. Complete with illustration, yes.< / end small font>

So you know, that is that. (I'm studying, as you can surely tell.)

No, I'm wearing my (newish, super beautiful-framed, ridiculously thick-lensed) spectacles. All bespectacled and respectable here. Back to Mr Giddens, now. You take care, honey.


Montag said...

Hey, I used that photo for something once!
It was

Anna MR said...

Montag, you are a man of many surprises. For I had *no idea* you'd posted a post like that, none at all, and a year ago, too - which would indicate that I was struck with the dread lametongue silent keyboard thing last year, too (although it's clear I've suffered *very* badly this year).

Thank you, you are such a good one.