I've read one of his books (he was doing a signing at the bookstore...) His attitudes and mine do not, again, harmonize. Being around him is like singing music that hurts my throat. But if I leave the comfortable bookstore, there's not as comfortable a place to spend the next half hour before choir. (I used to eat supper at the church, upstairs, but as a matter of economy decided not to...so it's better to stay downstairs where the cooking smells don't get to me.) This afternoon, he was deigning to talk at me, and I was not in the mood to be compliant.
I was fairly ruffled by the time choir came around, but our regular director was back tonight and we worked hard on some interesting and challenging music. We only *thought* we'd been working for the two rehearsals while he was gone. This kind of work eases my mind, if the music's any good and some of this was very good indeed (even count-singing Mendelssohn eases the mouth.)
Still, on the way home alone in the car I was continuing the argument with the former professor. I don't like a lot of modern American lit, and I have a very firm distaste for the modern and post-modern aesthetic that tries to make ugly the new beauty. I had a lot of miles to accomplish this, a lot of miles in which to mutter (mentally) about the values (physiological as well as psychological) of beauty for its own sake.
But when I stopped to get walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds for tomorrow's breadmaking at a grocery store maybe halfway home, I had to struggle through the new monster store (way too big for me--Richard shops there, but I think I'll go back to the one closer in to the city, which I now know end to end.) The checkout clerk was kind to me when I showed up at checkout with little tubs of pumpkin and sunflower seed but had not found the correct labels (you fill empty and unmarked tubs...I never saw the place where supposedly you can get labels and have the tubs weighed.) Mind you, this was after 9 pm and she wouldn't be off her shift until `1 am...and she was still able to be patient and cheerful.
I came out finally and spotted Richard's car in the parking lot...so I parked beside it (the "in" and "out" are so far apart that someone entering the store can't be seen from the checkout area) to wait for him. There's a "bake it yourself" ready to go pizza shop in the same complex, where Richard often buys a pizza...but it was closing. I just leaned on his car, continuing the argument in my head but otherwise enjoying the evening, which wasn't too hot and wasn't raining. A young woman from the pizza place closed up and then walked toward me--I realized her car was facing mine. She was talking on the cellphone; we exchanged courteous brief smiles and she got in her car. Then she looked at me again and asked if I needed help. I explained I was just waiting for my husband, as this was his car...and the long and short of it was that as we chatted she realized who my husband was...and decided to go back in and get a pizza for us because he hadn't gotten there in time...
Richard showed up, just as I got back to the car with her, and with pizza in hand, so we both said thank you again, and she drove off one way and we drove off in our cars another way. We cooked the pizza when we got home (it was after ten) and now the food has waked me up a little. So I have Bach's Magnificat on the CD player and the various knots are smoothing out. I still don't like most 20th c. American literature. I still think certain books are a waste of trees that the former professor thinks are Important and have Core Truths (his term.) But I'm a little less inclined to waste my time trying to discuss this with him. He can go on liking A and B, and despising S and R...and I can go on doing the reverse...and neither of our egos (bruised, scraped, or intact) is as important as the patient cheerful checkout clerk at the grocery store and the cheerful kind woman from the pizza shop. My mind wanted to go on with digging up references to stomp the ex-professor and show off my own standards...but the sweetness of the clerks kept bleeding out into my snit....and after eating some of the pizza (which we tossed in the oven to bake as soon as we got into the house)...and the pizza-endorphins began coursing through my veins...I'm in a mood that I hope lasts through next week's inevitable encounter.
Bach and Vivaldi (the Vivaldi "Gloria" is just starting) don't hurt either.