Today I think I somehow journeyed back in time a century or so because I had the most domestically oriented day I’ve ever had — at least, that I’ve had in the time since I started working two jobs and gave up my weekends.
My day “in” was appropriately timed to match up with the section of Within a Budding Grove at which I am currently stalled–“Madame Swann at Home.”
Madame Swann’s days are busy. She has to entertain visitors, return their calls and mimic their mannerisms. Her daughter copies her behavior, hosting her own “tea parties” for her friends (to which Marcel’s frail digestive system falls victim. Only Marcel would describe his stomachaches as embodying the agony and ecstasy of love).
Today, I had a much needed day that was “busy” in the same way.
It started with a very first-world sojourn to Biker Barre, my favorite Sunday morning ritual, where an extremely peppy woman yelled at me to “leave everything I had” on the bike. I think I did, which left me limping back home at 10:00 am.
From there, it was time to prepare some cookies for my co-workers in honor of my last week working at my internship. After spending the week finding fancy and fun sounding recipes on Pinterest, I ended up buying a pre-made oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix at the deli. The first batch tasted incredibly bland, not to mention burned, so I threw a cup of peanut butter into the batter which slightly improved my next attempt.
Domestic goddess I am not. But Madame Swann probably never baked her own cookies either.
My lame farewell cookies completed, I retired to my room where I spoke on the phone with my mother and wrote emails of varying degrees of importance.
This blog post is the final item on my agenda. Marcel has made it into the Swann household, his dearest ambition, and we the readers are finding out more about the Swanns’ lives after the marriage of Swann to Odette. Their social status has plummeted, and Swann has changed considerably as a result — or as he?
Proust is nothing if not vicious in his descriptions of all his characters, and he makes it clear that these days are work, as far as his self-absorbed characters comprehend them, and today felt like work to me too. And while I desperately needed a day to catch up on my correspondence and bake cookies and ride on a stationary bike, I don’t think I am cut out for the lifestyle of Mme. Swann. No matter how much I love Maggie Smith.