Five hundred something dollars worth of art supplies arrived on my doorstep this afternoon.
It's not unusual, yet it never gets old.
I often feel like the Dos Equis gentleman - 'I don't always order from DanielSmith, but when I do, I order a truckload whose delivery to a condo proves difficult.'
On speed dial, I have Joan, from Daniel Smith, my tried and true art supply company 15 years plus.
She knows i am picky
She knows I am on deadline
She knows I never have a computer in front of my face so her role is to find the vague things I describe.
"Like, one of those pens that is as sharp as a Pigma Micron, but not a Pigma Micron?"
"Mmm, the flats! But not the ones that are all squirrelly?...do they come unsquirelly?"
"Do you carry pink Pearl erasers? Ramona Quimby used them. I need them."
"The good pink. NO, the GOOD pink."
Joan is kind to me. She is patient. She probably has a whole life that includes margaritas and a venting session about the stupid girl in Washington who never knows if her credit card is legit. But, somehow, her patience never runs thin and her expertise puts me in my place.
Paint swatch centerfold? I brought it into the bathtub.
New canvas? Swoon.
7B Pencils curl my toes.
Once, I lived in France, for 315 something days. A dilapidated convent. A small historic village housing an obscure pile of talent.
Countless dancers as models with writers tucked between the folds. The communal kitchen linoleum needed to be scrubbed, and kept us all grounded.
The piano in the chapel hooked my hands until I realized I couldn't leave till I took painting seriously and not for granted.
The day my art supplies arrived, in a pomp and circumstance not to be undermined, we were eating pancakes.
In the communal kitchen we had a shutter window most used for cigarette breaks and weather determination. That morning it was mauled with fellow artists jumping the sill to meet the long- awaited yellow truck.
Our herd hauled the boxes three marble staircase levels, past peacocks, no elevators, to the room allotted to my painting ventures.
My studio overlooked the path of the morning bread truck, and I tracked that vehicle diligently.
It's not often i get to track a baguette/croissant truck from atop a french hill, SO, it's a privilege to do so.
The boxes arrived in their simple cardboard, affixed with
quite dignified in their bulk presence.
I tore them to pieces, part box knife, part teeth.
Dust settled, someone shut the door, the next eight months were an unauthorized-no visa-illegal commitment, so I had a moment on my knees.
I had walked away from pancakes.
I welcomed them to this new country, BIENVENUE. ACCUEILLIR.VIENS ICI. JE T'AIME. J'AI BESOIN DE VOUS. POUR ARRIVER, MERCI
(Grammatical translation pending....)
Welcome. Hello. Come here. I love you. I need you. Thank you for arriving.
Today, it was a simple door knock, it was the voice of my husband,
"Gretchen, can you come here and help me?"
On a dolly, in a hallway, all the boxes piled high.
No pancakes, the local Tabac is simply a corner store, our bakery is my own kitchen and never produces a croissant.
Heart lurches, muscles jump to action,
imagination takes over.
Our laps are full, I encourage you to put each item to work.