Monday, September 15, 2008

Modern Love

When my New York Times thumps onto my front mat every Sunday morning at 10 a.m., I begin a much savoured Sunday ritual. Snug and warm in my plush mauve dressing gown, I peel back the plastic wrapper of the heavy Sunday Times, letting it unfurl full-length on my counter. While my family still sleeps soundly upstairs, snug as bugs in their proverbial rugs--Tobias, my fifteen year old son, Rosamond, my soon-to-be twelve-year-old daughter, Michael, my husband of 21 years, and Monty Booh, our five year old Bernese Mountain dog--I pull out my favorite sections, thief-stealthy, to claim them: the book review, the magazine, of course travel, arts and leisure, and finally, style.

I take my tall ivory Cafe Amore mug of fresh, brewed coffee with hot, steamed milk, and settle horizontally on my sunroom couch under my moose blanket (don't worry, it's polartec with beautiful images of moose). I sip coffee, listen to the wind, read, and dream.

Monty Booh rouses himself from the living room couch where he is not supposed to sleep and lumbers closeby. With his mink coat, creamy chest and chestnut paws, he is like an extra blanket.

I start with style. Not for the fashion, mind you, though I have a passion for beautiful clothes, but for "Modern Love."

I turn to the nearly full-page column and burrow in. What will it be this week? The writers come from far and wide and the texture of their voices change each week, in tandem with their stories. I relish that mesh, that tapestry of tones, the huge range of love objects. For the subject is rarely love straight up. Instead, the writer might voice love for a pet, a sibling, a child, a parent, a friend, even herself. The old amour propre. How complex and rich a subject that can be. The columns are funny, often sad, frequently funny-sad and sad-funny. My favorite kind of love story.

I daydream after reading this column. Okay, bust me. I am composing my own Modern Love column in my head. And some day soon, I plan to glue my bum to the chair long enough to get it out on paper (yes, I do still write longhand), or onto my computer. Of course, I will let you know when it is going to run on Sunday. Or elsewhere, once I have it all worked out, just how I want the story to read.

So Old Man Winter, bring it on, close in with your mountains of white, your rapier-sharp wind, your black ice, your darkness and your chill. Who needs winter sports? Way up here on the north way, in Montreal, my adopted home city, I can be cozy for your six month, yup, your half-year strop. I've got modern love to keep me safe and warm.

1 comment:

Leo said...

Whew! I'm breathless after reading that. If only everyone else in my house could sleep longer than 10am on a Sunday morning.

What this is about, of course, is not the Sunday New York Times, but being able to spend time alone.

We're constantly surrounded by people, whether at work, in the shopping mall, and around our homes. And while I love my family dearly, the ability to spend time alone, even for a couple of hours, is, well, luxurious.

It's a mental break where your thoughts can wander freely, where you can decide how much to read, or how long you'll take to sip that cafe latte.

And while most of my NYTimes reading is spent online, with a laptop warming my, uh, lap, there is something to be said about heaving that newsprint onto your lap, having it sprawl open in front of you, its sheer size blotting everything else in the room. If they could only guarantee that the newswprint is made from 100% recycled paper fibre, I'd be there in a flash.

And that's why I won't be purchasing the Sunday NYTimes any time soon. It takes some 43,000 trees to print the Sunday edition. That's a lot of trees taken out of the atmosphere that could be used for carbon reduction.

So maybe the laptop is the way to go. It just doesn't feel as nice as that blotting newsprint.

Happy reading.