Tuesday, December 31, 2019

When you think about it, seriously think about it, it’s awfully peculiar how we ascribe meaning to days, dates, years, decades, centuries and eons, all the way to eternity. The days of the week each have their meaning. Maybe it comes from astrology. Here we are on a Tuesday, a Tuesday that also happens to be the last day of this year, 2019, the last day of the decade.

Wikipedia tells me that Tuesday comes from the Old English word Tiwes dæg. This was named after the Nordic god Tyr. Tyr was the God of War, like the Roman war god Mars, and Greek god Ares. In Latin, Tuesday is called Martis dies which means “Mars’s Day”.

Tuesday is considered to be an unlucky day in the Greek world because the Fall of Constantinople occurred on a Tuesday. However, Tuesday is considered a lucky day in Judaism because it is mentioned twice as a good day in the first chapter of Genesis.

So it’s hard to know what to make of Tuesday.

Today’s Tuesday however is December 31, 2019. I’m not sure whether today marks the last day I am legally married, or the first day of no longer being married. It’s a kind of  cusp between married and unmarried, significantly different sides of the same coin.

My birthday is the cusp between Capricorn and Aquarius, January 20th. This coming year it’s on a Monday.

I think I’ll go with the Fall of Constantinople. It’s suitably dramatic for this Tuesday, December 31st, 2019.

My Tuesday, December 31st, 2019.

In his New Yorker memoir The Art of Dying, Peter Schjeldahl writes about his daughter Ada asking Brooke his wife a question:

Ada asked her mother how to stay married. Brooke said, “Don’t get divorced.” If you don’t divorce, you are a hundred per cent married no matter what’s going on. I am so glad we stayed together that, for once in my verbose life, words to express it fail me.

Don’t get divorced.

Now there’s an idea. It’s an idea that implies a commitment beyond pleasing oneself, beyond believing that a life alone is better than a life together. Or that there’s a greener pasture out there, undiscovered, but surely better than the pasture we’re in.

It’s an idea bigger than oneself. It subsumes oneself into a cause greater than oneself.

“Divorce” comes from the Latin word “divortium” which means separation. It is also equivalent to the word “divort” or “divortere.” “Di” means apart and “vertere” means to turn to different ways.

 Divertere was also referred the meaning of divert, turn aside, separate or leave one’s husband. 

Leave one’s husband. Funny, it doesn’t say leave one’s wife.

Yes, she chose to leave her husband. Leave one’s husband sounds right.

Synonyms in Merriam-Webster: break up, decouple, disassociate, disconnect, disjoin, dissever, disunite, divide, part, ramify, separate, sever, split, sunder, uncouple, unlink, unyoke…

Of these I think she might like unyoke best. She saw marriage as some kind of yoke. Get that yoking bloke out of here!

Never call me your wife; it implies I’m your property. Yoked!

I’m not feeling particularly nostalgic. There’s no ache left in my heart. She wrenched that out over seven grinding months. She choses today to be a stranger, a ghost from the past, a former wife with no name that can be named.

Tuesday December 31st, 2019. A gray day here in West Oakland, not too cold, not warm. Much like my marriage: not too cold, not warm. There were days of sunshine, a few golden afternoons, and moonlit nights. Those were real, and few. Then Payne’s Gray washed over our marriage, neither black nor white, not too cold, not warm.

I need the separation of the Continent.

I need the clash of seasons again in my life: bitter storms, thunder, snow, merciless July heat and humidity, chilled Autumn evenings, the warmth of Spring.

Again Schjeldahl:

Meaning is a scrap among other scraps, though stickier. Meaning is so much better than nothing, in that it defines “nothing” as everything that meaning is not. Meaning prevents nothing from being only nothing. The “nothing that is not there and the nothing that is,” Wallace Stevens noticed. The same nothing, but a difference of attitude.

The meaning of distance, of seasons, of separation. The same nothing, but a difference of attitude.

Let’s cheer 2020. Wednesday, January 1st, 2020.

Wednesday has always been my favorite day of the week. For the past eleven years Wednesday is Cow Hollow, dinner with my friends, Gamine. New Wednesday rituals will emerge. I’ll find them. Give them meaning.

Welcome Wednesday January 1st, 2020.

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