Footloose Proust

Fuck Marcel Proust.

I sustained an injury this week. No, not at work, which is surprising considering that I work on a gigantic construction site, typically working 80 feet in the air, hauling around heavy things, and swinging hammers at stuff. Nope, made it through the 80 hour work week with nary a physical scratch (because all the damage Northern Alberta does is mental) and headed home for a week of coffee that doesn’t taste like dirt, my own bed, and the joy of looking at living trees while listening to something other than radio rig rock and ads for gun shows.

I had decided to give myself some kind of actual day off: one with no writing, no reading, and no exercise more than maybe a walk to grab an espresso somewhere. This was the kind of day that I always struggled with; one where I had to force myself to do nothing in order to recover from my work week and build myself a kind of energy reserve for diving back into the writing on the next day. I hated doing nothing for a whole day, no matter how necessary it was to do so. Usually, the best way to make myself sit still and do nothing, and yet also make myself feel like I was being useful, was to watch a movie on Netflix. Normally, I tried to pick a film that had some kind of extreme level of substance to it, so that I felt like I was learning something and expanding my mind while sitting on my ass eating crackers. Documentaries were usually the best choice: something smart to keep the brain active, to get me angry and out of my seat, to get me motivated to do something to change the world and make it a better place, and or just to marvel at how amazing of a planet we live on.

So of course I watched Footloose, with Kevin Bacon.

I cannot dance. I dance like someone being shot to death. I have lead feet, or two left feet, or whatever other cliché you need to describe someone who looks like they should live the rest of their life plastered to the wall of the dance hall. However, Footloose, to its credit, made me want to cut a rug in my apartment. Maybe it was the scorching Kenny Loggins tunes, maybe it was Bacon rage dancing his way through an empty warehouse, maybe it was the tractor jousting that got my blood going, who knows?

All I know is that when the movie ended, it was mere minutes before the soundtrack was cued up and I was in my apartment moving feet, and that was all well and good and I felt like I had succeeded in losing my blues. It was at this point that Marcel Proust decided to kick off his Sunday shoes as well. However, since he’s a dead rotting corpse somewhere in France, he tossed his hat into the dance circle by having Volume 1 of his epic In Search of Lost Time careen off the top of my bookshelf, where it had been collecting dust, onto my fucking foot.

My copy of Volume 1 of In Search of Lost Time is an 1100 page monster collecting the first four parts of this epic narrative. It weighs like, 30 pounds. The font is so small you need a magnifying glass to read it, and the paper stock is sheet metal. It is almost unreadable, and is useful only for looking smart to people who come over to my place, and for holding open a huge door.

Anyway, this massive tome joined the dance fest by gracefully diving out onto the floor and landing right on the top of my bare foot. Searing pain crippled me, and the lyrics to the song Footloose were slightly altered to contain the word, “motherfucker,” 17 times.

Goddamnit, all I wanted to do was dance. But no, Marcel Proust was there to remind me that there was no dancing to be done, there was only the work on the epic, and that I should get back to work.

“Dance at the book launch,” said the book as I hurt my foot a second time by booting it across the room into the wall.

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