Yesterday, despite what else I may have mentioned, I also got a little treat. From my new book friend (who you'll meet soon), a small book-shaped box filled with Hershey's kisses. Totally unexpected and totally welcome.
And how did she know about my Dickens fetish? Somehow I must exude that. Bleak House, with its labyrinthine and gloomy descriptions of the Court of Chancery, is a favorite, as is Nicholas Nickleby and the heartbreaking tale of the relationship between Nicholas and poor Smike. Gosh, I cried my eyes out over the book and the original BBC stage production starring Roger Rees and David Threlfal. (It's eight hours of the purest, most memorable Dickensian experience you can have. And you can own it or rent it because it's on DVD.)
But my favorite story might be Little Dorrit. For some reason, reading about "the child of the place," a little girl who grew up in a debtor's prison and remained a lovely, innocent soul has always stayed with me. I know that Dickens based this character on his own experience as a child, having endured the misery and embarrassment of his father's own economic ruin that brought his own family to the Marshalsea prison. (On my one and only ever visit to London, that pilgrammage to the remains of the Marshalsea was a must-visit for me.)
Anyway, the concept of a dark Dickensian novel containing a sweet treat made me think. Times in general seem quite Dickensian of late. When I watched Slumdog Millionaire recently, I couldn't help thinking that it was an updated version of Oliver Twist, with those poor mudlarks trying to escape a world of cruel poverty.
Today, it's official. The giant Virgin megastore on the corner of Market and Stockton is going out of business. What's next? Barney's up the street? The new Ferrari store that just opened a few months ago?
So many store fronts are closed downtown. More and more people unemployed.
I was eating a can of soup for lunch yesterday and feeling somewhat waifish about it. The fact that I have to decide if I can afford a sandwich just isn't something I thought I'd have to ever worry about. I guess I can say the Global Economic Crisis (or the GEC, as julochka calls it) will have a slimming effect on my waistline, but still... For a long time, I've not had a credit card, and just paid for what I needed or wanted from what I earned, but even that doesn't make me feel too much better.
It's like we all somehow entered the Global Marshalsea together, and I'm not sure how or when we're getting out. I just hope there's a reward for us somewhere, and not just that we survived.
ps.: after embezzling some lunch money, I just read Thomas Friedman's column today. Don't do that while you're eating your purloined lunch.