The next couple of days will be tense. Many of us are hoping against hope that the complexion of Congress will change. In the meantime, to reduce anxiety, we cope in various ways. Here is what I am doing:
I read books about little houses that are very cozy. The people who live in them drink tea, have fires, play games like Whist (which sounds cozy; I have no idea what it actually is), toast bread over the fire, and write letters by hand. The images I carry around with me of, for instance, the Bronte sisters, are colored by the PBS shows I have seen about them. Their parlors look warm, they look perfectly comfortable wandering the moors in their long dresses and mere capes or shawls around their shoulders. Bunk, I know that. Their clothes were probably tattered, they had chilblains, and they probably ate food that none of us in today’s America would consider palatable.
Sometimes I like to daydream about where I would move if I had the money to have another home somewhere. Paris? London? New York? Certainly, if it were in London or Paris, there would be a romantic balcony or back garden, full of gorgeous plants and flowers. The fact that 1) I really don’t like being outdoors, and 2) I hate gardening, is no matter.
New York would be my first choice. I am torn between having a roomy, Prewar apartment or a brownstone in Brooklyn. The apartment would have a large terrace (again with the outdoors!) on which there would be potted trees, a tall barrier that I could see through, but one that would keep my cats in. I would have a grassy area, comfortable yet Architectural Digest-worthy furniture. An awning for hot days. I would have a small kitchen with an ocular window over the copper sink. A library, of course. A fireplace that actually works. Hardwood floors and a bathroom with a very deep soaking tub.
In my brownstone, there would be floor to ceiling windows. A dining room with a fireplace. Large, square bedrooms, also with fireplaces. Maybe a hidden room behind a bookcase, where my grandchildren could play. A beautiful, private garden (I guess there would be a gardener), where miraculously, I would actually enjoy sitting with my coffee and a book.
At Christmas, in all of my imaginary second homes, family would assemble, and the Christmas tree would be twinkly and tall, something that passers-by would admire from the snowy street. There would be libations and cookies and a big party on Christmas Eve (Despite the fact that in my actual life, I am not a fan of parties. I hate small talk. Oh, let’s just be real: I am not big on large groups of people.). We would play board games.
Fantasies are helpful in times of stress. Starving people imagine feasts. Tortured people imagine pleasure. Immigrating people, exhausted and broken, imagine welcome. We all imagine Peace.
Let’s all hope that on Wednesday, none of us here in America will need to use our imaginations.