Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dateline: Clearwater

I'm in Clearwater Beach, Florida, for a few days to attend a conference.  The privilege of sleeping in a big pristine bed, uninterrupted by the cries of an anguished or surly ten month-old child, can't be overstated.  But it's definitely a little lonely here.  Today after 10 hours of conference activities I went for a walk on the beach -- jean cuffs rolled up, name tag discreetly folded over -- to watch the setting sun dissolve into the gulf.  It was beautiful, and also melancholy.  It reminded me of the solitude of my first year in New York, before L had arrived, when the city was the perfect place to languish in your loneliness. 

Since my last post, things have gotten much better with Alice, thanks in part to some quality time we got to spend when L had to work late or early.  The baby and I had a lot of fun clapping, playing, reading, eating, etc.  She will now feed you a Cheerio or a morsel of some other food if you ask her, and reinforce the request by opening your mouth and aiming towards her food.  I think this is the first real sign of generosity or compassion we've seen from her, and it's encouraging.  She's also just a lot of fun right now, with her endearing wobbly movements, her vocalizations, and her overwhelming cuteness.  I'm glad I'm back in the fold.  (I would also note we went through a low point when she fell off the couch and landed on her forehead, then proceeded to flip over.  I was a wreck on wheels that night, and being on Concussion Watch for the next two days wasn't fun either, but fortunately she is fine and doesn't hold a grudge.)

Not sure what else I have to say about Florida.  I've been eating a lot of grouper and key lime pie.  The people are friendly, and nice, and slow, and they seem unafflicted by the neuroses and chronic impatience that characterizes me and everyone I know.  Like most other places I go, I look around at the white beaches, and the broad sky, and the sweet pace of life, and I ask myself, why not live here?  Why not live and be happy here?  It seems like it could work.

Two more days in Florida, then back home to my ladies.  And my birthday.  Not a bad week.

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