SABBATICAL NOTES. 26 JAN 2014 N3.
SUNDAYS SEE you going through the familiar, almost an unspoken ritual of domestic life.
It is a respite--always--from the everyday, and a welcome rupture from the predictable Monday-Friday work you have to do to put food on your table.
Your home is almost empty during those days, with the adrenaline rush in the early morning hours, with breakfast partaken haphazardly, and with that patterned act of dressing up for your students, what with three teachers in your family.
In the early afternoon hours, your home comes to life again, its vigor like a newborn's when one by one you come home and start a ritual of that familiar domestic life.
In the early evening hours, the house regains its force, with voices and noises and music and TV inanities all coming in at once, mixing and un-mixing to produce both euphony and cacophony of speech more than a rowdy person touched by the Spirit and now 'speaking in tongues.'
Saturdays and Sundays, thus, are a break from all these narratives of immigrant life.
Over here, no one helps you but yourself.
No domestic worker to help you can ever be had for several: the pay of domestic is almost the same as your pay from your day job.
So if in your country of origin someone washed for you, ironed your clothes, cooked your meal, and cleaned your house, you better stop the fantasia right away.
The Occupy Movement was--and has been--honest with its assessment: 1% is making a killing of the benefits of democracy and capitalism, 99% is being killed by democracy and capitalism.
You are a number in that last group, and the sooner you admit it, the better for you.
This Sunday is a story of the same act of forgetting that you are part of the second group.
You decided to go to church, go look for some sales, and then sip some fancy drinks from a fancy chain of a coffee house who price list is equal to half a day's work in the country you came from.
"Go get what you want," you say to the kids. "Do not get me anything except cold, iced water."
You see the kiddos light up, their child-like joy unconfined.
You think of the months you will not be with them, of the travels that you have to make, of the research that you have to do in many places, perhaps in many countries.
You think of the life of solitude you will have to go through to be able to write, write, write.
You think of how your family will be able to adjust.
For many years, they have touched your absence, and there were able to make do with what they have got, triumphing over the challenge of distance, the sadness of not going through the familiar Sundays like this one.
You occupy a corner of the fancy coffee house, the corner facing the the parking lot, outside the air-con table and seats occupied by laptop-hugging clientele types.
You think of the books you have begun to write, books that have to be finished, and these can only be finished if you went away and get the information you need.
You will miss their company, you tell yourself, and you pray the heavens will be kind.
26 Jan 2014