Saturday, January 4, 2014

creating a/broad, January 4, 2013

Cold and Lethargy
by Cameryn Moore

They say you should start your new year as you want it to go on. This is why I don’t like to listen to what 'they' say. Going on that logic, I will be cold and obsessing about show venues for 2014. Now that I think about it, this is how 2013 started, too. Guh.

Yes. As of this writing, I am back in Montreal and it is cold outside. It is not as cold as Winnipeg—that is nothing to brag about, Winnipeg—and it is probably not as cold as it was the winter of 1992-93 in St. Petersburg, Russia. I can’t say for certain, but I’d bet, because that city may be beautiful, but it is Far North, and they get a lot of winter that far north.

What they did have in Russia at that time was central heating. By 'central', I mean seriously centralized, as in someone in City Hall would decide that it was going to be cold pretty steadily from then on out until the spring, and they would turn the heat on for the whole district. Literally. So we had to open a few of the casements to cool the apartment down to comfort level. Socialists, man, what are you going to do? But we swanned around indoors wearing t-shirts all winter, and our heating was cheap on a consumer level, because my girlfriend and I were expatriates with a decent, though under-the-table, income, and when you had American dollars in 1992 Russia, everything was cheap, except when you couldn’t find it. Heat we could always find.

I can feel the cold creeping through my body, and feel the counter-urge: to huddle in, cuddle up, hunker down.

So I don’t remember Russia being that cold, but here right now in Montreal, everything feels cold. I am still an expatriate, but the two countries’ dollars are still close enough together that it doesn’t get me that much more buying power to be bringing in my scant phone-sex pay in US-triple-Ds, baby. And this cheap-jack, colander-walled flat that I’m in for the next few months has the opposite of central heating, it has laughably ineffective baseboard heaters and a little space heater that I can lug around to make the three feet in front of the heater feel slightly less frigid, like I’m doing now. Last year I had a sublet in a place where it was radiator heating, and that was included in the rent. This year, not so much.

I can feel the cold creeping through my body, and feel the counter-urge: to huddle in, cuddle up, hunker down. It sounds cozy, right? When my lover is in residence, I ask for a snuggle break every couple of hours. But I’m asking as much for the flannel-sheet, two-body warmth as for the emotional intimacy, and even then it doesn’t feel that great. I feel more like a warm slug. There are two places where my energy needs to go right now, body heat and external world activity, and I kinda forget how to do this balancing act from one winter to the next. I so completely forget it that I didn’t even bring my own flannel sheets this year. A friend had to loan me a set from her linen closet, or I would still be shivering between an uncovered duvet and a chilly top sheet that kept slipping off the bed.

Since starting this piece, I relocated self and laptop to a café one short block down the street. (And another one, when the first one closed up earlier than anticipated.) This is my other tactic for dealing with the cold, impersonal house: escape to a warm café. Going outside was a bit of a shock; the boogers froze inside my nose, but the café has a warm back room, and enough outlets, and although this second café is not open very late either, that’s okay I don’t want to be out that late anyway, and these lattés are expensive. Plus their music channel is distractingly eclectic.

Nonetheless, it is good to know that my immediate neighborhood is well stocked with cafés. I am not psychic, but I anticipate that this will be my winter, oscillating between café and flannel-lined bed. My flat is not cat-friendly, so Robbie “long cat” Moore will not be joining me, and my kitchen is not hang-out-friendly. There is no spare warmth in that house, which I need in order to create. I want a space to sprawl, at least one window where I can see the sky and the wan winter sun. As always, I have to try to be on call for as long as possible, but this is my one prediction for 2014: I will be taking more café breaks. I need to get out of the house. This is the year that my writing and performing career will achieve escape velocity, and I need room to move and warm air to breathe.

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