these foolish things.
i read the book of margery kempe a long time ago—the main thing i remember about it now is that margery was always getting censured and banned from various places because she had a habit of bursting into tears and freaking everybody out. and she travelled a lot, on pilgrimages, so she developed kind of a bad reputation. it’s really a funny aspect of the book, as i recall.
anyway i’ve been feeling like margery kempe lately, wandering around crying in random places. (of course i’m not having mystical visions about Christ’s forgiveness.) today it was the clifton mansion—open to the public as part of doors open baltimore day—i was walking up the front steps and on the front porch there was a man exclaiming to a woman about how much he enjoyed her painted screens class. and then i went inside and scuffed around the rooms for a few minutes then had to give up and go sob in my car.
there wasn’t much to see anyway, at least. it’s an interesting building but inside it’s mostly offices.
i took my BFF on a tour of painted screens when he came to visit a few months ago—he’d never been to baltimore before so i wanted to make sure he had the most intensely baltimore experiences possible. ‘a tour of painted screens’ sounds like a chapter in the tale of genji, doesn’t it? but these are window screens—the painted screen is our (admittedly pretty stupid) vernacular art form in which we take (an unwarranted provincial) pride. it was a fun tour.* but it was part of a folk-things festival which was organized in large part by Tread-Lightly—i ran into him there and he was so genuinely glad to see me i was surprised—and apparently afterwards he was eating lunch at my boss’s other business and told him at suspicious length that he was genuinely glad to see me. ‘i think you’ve got a fan there, dora,’ my boss said. and we laughed about it. but i felt bad laughing about it. it made me think that Tread-Lightly potentially had some potentially sincere kind of interest in me.
and now painted screens make me depressed! which is, admittedly, pretty stupid. but they do. and hearing people talk about them—! well heaven forfend.
it was a near-heroic effort to get myself out of the house today to look at these damn buildings. though it was just a thing to do, before work. a thing to do to be out in the world and interact with others (outside of a bar or a record store)…i felt like i was being so mental-healthy. but maybe i should avoid anything arts-counselly in future. at least for a while. (there’s some good writing for you: mental-healthy! arts-counselly!)
it’s getting damn inconvenient to have this teary margery-kempe-type problem. (it was what made me decide that i really should start seeing a therapist—but it’s gotten worse in the past two weeks or so.) i mean i almost started crying at work last night—which had nothing to do with Tread-Lightly, or the dreaded painted screens, at least not directly—really, it was more like i was bored to tears. (ennui? am i too old for that?) yeah. i can’t say i’m looking forward to going tonight.
* BFF reported that it was the weirdest tour he’d ever been on that wasn’t a ghost tour. so, there you go. i do what i can to be a good host.