Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Checklist Chekhov Check-off

One of my new-ish favorite writers is Chekhov. In particular, I loved the story The Chorus Girl, for its heart-rending drama, and for all the unanswered questions it leaves: Why did Pasha give her jewelry away to a demanding stranger? Was she just swindled by the man she loved in a clever, duplicitous scheme? Is this chorus girl a complete idiot or just blinded by a fear-love combo? Like another Chekhov favorite, The Lady With The Dog, The Chorus Girl left me wondering what happened to the characters whose lives I'd become emotionally invested in once Chekhov put his pen down.

This move to France feels a bit Chekhovian in that we're going through the motions, getting things done, creating little dramas along the way, but it's the narrative we write when we board that plane and say goodbye to friends and family that's the big question mark. Remembering that is a good exercise for staying focused on the present, if anything.

Jen came over last night, toting unexpected presents from a recent trip to China (she's a fellow travel fanatic and frequent visitor to Asia; we took our own trip to Beijing together two years ago, and Tokyo this past October), and her enormous Canon for snapping photos for the visa applications we're submitting to the French consulate. (Our appointments are scheduled on the portentous Ides of March). We also planned to have dinner together, but photos first to avoid the dreaded purple-teeth syndrome that always seems to accompany a wine-fueled Italian-themed meal.

The picture-taking didn't take long, which meant we were able to get down to the very important task of eating sooner rather than later. Jeff made one of his delicious pasta sauces, I made the salad, Acme made the bread, and Trader Joe's made the fake meatballs. TJ's is probably the one American institution that I'll really miss in France. No more Tofurky deli slices and Italian sausages? Whatever will we do? Thank goodness for Monoprix, Naturalia, and Bio Coop.

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