Thursday, October 12, 2017

Windows I Have Known

No, not the eight, nine or ten………point opposed to a Mac. We're talking apples and oranges. The kind of window you pressed your nose against and breathed a puff of cloud. No, not that new cloud of which I know not and hope to live my remaining allotment of days without. All of which reminds me of that dropped cloud on the foggiest night of my life when I was driving in the soup to a Thanksgiving dinner in 1954 and I drove up into the freeway landscaping mistaking it for an off-ramp.

Can we drop the I.T. altogether and speak as if I.T. was a pronoun? I am only fluent in Luddite. There’s a troglodyte in my chair and he was here first.

I’m looking out of our breakfast table-east-facing window. On a sunny morning it lights the leaves on the coral tree. Birds visit. You can see the dew congeal. But today the sun can’t break through the cloud-cover. We have off-shore flow, a.k.a. marine air situated as we are six blocks from the ocean. The weather page of the newspaper agrees. I am not complaining. Another six blocks east and it’s probably blue skies. Still, this glass is also a window within.

It takes me back to those artfully cluttered window displays. My father’s drugstore had one. Empty boxes of Bromo Seltzer stacked and pinned alongside Epsom Salts and Ex-Lax. The man was a sort of artist deftly arranging the merchandise with crepe paper and some eye-catching photo advertising Evening in Paris perfume. Art and artist both gone, victim of progress.

My mother knew all there is to know about windows. She held the secret of rooms…before Feng Shui. It is, of course, cross-ventilation, opposing windows. Air in, air out. She knew the difference between deadly drafts and fresh air. The former is disease carrying miasma air to which all childhood sickness could be attributed and that other, invigorating air to which one is banished to refresh the lungs before returning to school. Windows held the key to this arcane practice of restorative healing. 

Then there was that window on the 95th floor of the Hancock Building in Chicago we looked out from, while celebrating our anniversary about ten years ago. We were about to exchange poems, as is our custom, when Peggy realized she left hers back in the hotel room. I whizzed, not out the window, but down the elevator, ran across the street to the Seneca Hotel, collected her poem and raced back up the 95 flights before our dessert arrived. A falcon right outside our window looked on in amazement.

I might also tell about that window I peered out of as I was flying my two-engine propeller plane in reconnaissance behind enemy lines during World War I…..but I really don’t want to talk about it.    

I must return from this wind-driven reverie to my trusted Windows Ten Point One before these allusions escape out through the glass opened a crack to the fast-disappearing world.

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