Miss Lavendar Lewis Speaks

I’m on my way to my mom’s, carrying flowers and raspberries. I used to live in the building, so I’m familiar with some people who live there. Today I bump into woman I call Miss Lavendar – that’s not her name, of course, but she reminds me of the Miss Lavendar character in “Anne of Avonlea”. She has beautiful white curly hair, cut in a bob, perfect unwrinkled face and a youthful air even though she is probably past a certain age. She dresses like a bohemian and almost looks out of place in this building. We always exchange a few words. She asks me about my mom, says she hasn’t seen her around. I explain that the weather prevents my mom from venturing out. She goes into the suggestion mode: walk the halls, walk up and down the stairs. Now I realize why I call her Miss Lavendar – she is oblivious to the real world. My mom, just a few months away from turning 90, feels a sense of accomplishment if she finds the energy to go for a 10 minute walk outside. No stairmaster for her.

A few days later, I’m on the subway going to work. Somehow I get a seat. I revel in my comfort. But at Bloor a woman sits in the seat next to me. She is well put together and looks okay, but then all of a sudden she starts talking to me, saying that she is really distressed. She tells me her father has dementia, has given money to her sisters but not her, her sisters froze her out of his life. She tells all of that to me, a complete stranger, in the middle of rush hour. I try to reassure her, but feel flustered by this spill of personal stuff. She says that she is good, her sisters bad, and her goodness will vindicate her. I’m relieved when she gets off the subway and not sure whether she is okay or going through some breakdown.

So much loneliness on display, including my own.

To distract myself, I go to the movies. I see “The Grand Budapest Hotel” with a snarky Friday night crowd. I like it a lot; the framing story within a story approach reminds of Raul Ruiz, Zubrowka is a Polish vodka so all is good, and Willem Dafoe must have kept his leather attire from “The Loveless” (1982). And Tilda Swinton aged looks like Bowie aged in “Boys Keep Swinging”. There Edward Gorey humour in Grand Budapest, but also a certain sadness about things lost. I need to see it again, to unwrap all the details that flew by during the first viewing.

Then I saw “Enemy”. Not sure about it. Weird as hell, but TO looks so good when it’s dire. Jake Gyllenhaal is surprisingly good.

Movies get me out of my funk. So does the New Yorker. And a walk anywhere.


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