Crossword CapersSeptember 16, 2008
Man, yesterday's 3-mile run SUCKED. I ran after work, so I wasn't on the Bay -- I was inland in the heat. I HATE the heat. I felt like a gazelle for approximately three steps, then I turned into a lumbering elephant and remained that way. A clodding overweight elephant, seventeen months pregnant.
But that was yesterday. Tomorrow will be better. I hope.
On a completely unrelated topic: You know a weird thing? I think my little mama left something behind when she died. And it's a goofy thing.
Crossword puzzles. The ability to do them. And the desire.
I have NEVER been into crosswords. I admire them. They're gorgeous, smart things. I loved the documentary Wordplay. Seeing Jon Stewart do the Sunday New York Times puzzle in pen was a heart-be-still moment. But I've never done them. Never wanted to.
Mom always had a puzzle at hand. And she could DO them.
Shortly after she died, I did a People magazine puzzle. Man, that thing was easy, except for the cultural references to rap stars and country songs that I just plain didn't know and had to work around. But the fact that I'd wanted to do it surprised me.
Then I started doing a co-worker's puzzle from her local paper. I could do most of it by myself and only looked up a couple of things online at the end.
Then I noticed her paper also carried the NYT puzzle, so I tried one of those. I tried a Sunday puzzle.
Um. No. I am smart, yes. But I am not that smart.
Or maybe it's a combination of things: I am not that smart AND the smarts I do have don't correspond to puzzle-smart. Even in these last couple of months of doing crosswords, I've noticed that some words pop up, over and over again. Ria. Who knew it was even a word, let alone a good puzzle word?
So I turned sadly to the Monday NYT puzzle, not expecting much. Suddenly I WAS A GENIUS. I find I really start to flag on Wednesday and I haven't tried a Thursday or Friday, since I don't see my co-worker that day.
But it's just weird. This sudden compulsion to do crosswords. It wasn't even an action of grief: I didn't consciously remember Mom and her puzzles until I was wondering what the hell was up with me. Why was I suddenly into this?
"Is it crazy to think I got that from her? Sudden-like?" I asked Lala. She said no, that after her first wife Aura died, Lala had inherited her ability to cook without a recipe. And I can vouch for how good Lala is at whipping something up from ingredients like mustard and kale and pimento-stuffed olives.
A strange little unexpected gift.
Also strange and unexpected, but not so little, Digit, drooling on me for your pleasure: