Monday, February 14, 2011

For ever more

Happy Valentine's Day!
St Valentine, as we know, believed in the power of love over all things. I believe in love and sweet chili sauce for my vegetables. That this little tub sweet chili sauce formed this pattern is one of the many happy coincidences that I've known these last ten days or so. 

This evening I caught the lift in my too-funky-for-the-likes-of-me hotel with a lovely cheerful young man who greeted us with great courtesy and charm. "How's it going?" I responded. "Actually," he said, "it's going great - I just performed at the Grammys! It's been one of my dreams and now I've done it!" 

Needless to say we were delighted for him. Sadly, I'm not young people so I don't know who he was. Hollywood, to that extent, is wasted on me. 

But not in other regards. For a start, I have seen the stars. None made me so happy as this one: 
My first crush! Seriously, I had a very severe crush on Sherlock Holmes - the Hollywood version - when I was 12. Sherlock Holmes is always Basil Rathbone to me. 

And of course the shops. I made rather a welter of it in Sephora and Zara this afternoon. A shopping spree on Hollywood Boulevard is not to be sneezed at. It almost beats Saturday's excess when my kindly husband took some rickety little aircraft to the Grand Canyon, something I couldn't face without being sedated to the point of coma. "I'm worried you won't have anything to do," he said before he left. 

Fat chance. 
Closing the suitcases is becoming one a major part of my daily exercise routine, and these are contributing to two of the major food groups of my diet: 
Why can I not buy these in Australia? 

Today we travelled from Las Vegas to Hollywood and when I was not eating, or thinking of eating, raisinets, I was thinking about Edgar Allen Poe. I was inspired by these blokes: 
Ravens! I'd never seen them in the flesh before. When I saw them I suddenly understood what set Poe writing for Lenore. They are fearsome and majestic and, as the truck driver who was buying something not quite coffee from the same diner told me, they can talk!

This trip to the States has done this for me on a larger scale too. Listening to conversations, talking with strangers in stores and diners, wandering through drug stores, watching the scenery - it is making the literature and the dialogue of America so much clearer. What once seemed to be somewhat mannered dialogue in Cannery Road or The Corrections now seems sparkling and authentic. 

Which brings me back to the start of of this post - hearts and love. Today marks thirty years since my mitrol and aortic valves were replaced. At the time the surgeon told me the valves would last about fifteen years and that my heart wasn't strong enough to withstand surgery a second time. It is an odd shadow to live in, a strange sound to live with,  a ticking clock that you're expecting to stop any minute. Over the years the prognosis has changed, and late last year I found out the valves I have - Starr Edwards - are now recognised to be indestructible. They could last forever, if only the rest of me were as durable. 
And that makes me very happy, that was once unclear and doubtful time is now spent feeding ravens, eating chocolate covered raisins and realising that I now understand Truman Capote better than I did.

The journey continues!