My plan is to build an igloo in my backyard. I will build it according to specifications downloaded from the internet, and I will do an excellent job, so that my igloo is airtight, solidly constructed, and worthy of occupation for the next few months. My igloo will be warm, because that’s what igloos are, aren’t they, according to the laws of physics, or chemistry, or biology, or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? It’s hard to imagine just how an igloo could be warm, but I’ve been told by enough trustworthy people that they are exactly that. Since I am always cold, the warmth of my igloo will come as a relief.
In my igloo I will have a small fire, not for warmth – because igloos are naturally warm – but because fires are pretty, and I love them. There will be no smoke from my fire, but the faint smell of woodsmoke will permeate my clothes, just as it did during my childhood spent in a house heated with wood. You might think that in my igloo I will be wearing many layers of clothes, wool and Goretex and Neosporin, etc., but no. I’ll be wearing a t-shirt and a sweater, my favorite jeans, and my green cotton socks, and I’ll have an unzipped flannel-lined sleeping bag to lie on, because flannel-lined sleeping bags are extraordinarily cozy.
I’ll have music in my igloo. It will drift down from the rounded sides and ceiling of my igloo, and it will be beamed in telepathically, at will, from my own mind. Tom Waits, Spoon, Yo La Tengo, Chopin, Outkast, the Burt Sugar Trio – anyone I want to hear, at any given moment, will magically appear. “Appear” is not the right word for telepathically-beamed igloo music, but I can’t seem to think of a better one, and I’m sure you know what I mean.
Food? Of course. Strachiatella soup, baguettes from the long-gone New French Kitchen, Lindt milk chocolate truffles, a Shackburger from the Shake Shack, a small Mediterranean salad from the Chirping Chicken, and mounds of heavily-salted sauteed spinach with garlic. Salt in such large quantities is not good for you, you say? I’m sure you’re right, but this is my igloo, not yours.
I will have visitors in my igloo, and like the wishful music, anyone I want to see will magically appear, from this world or other worlds unknown to me. Christine Hoffbeck, how lovely to see you again. Did you know that I think of you every morning, and I picture your smiling face and your tiny nose, especially the way it turned red that one time you drank that sip of champagne?
Caroly Bintz, wise and laughing friend of my youth, hello again, and welcome to my igloo, and let us conjure the giant glasses of chocolate milk we used to make every day at lunch when we snuck away from school and across the street to your green ranch house. And let us also conjure the half-inch-thick peanut butter sandwiches on Wonder Bread.
George Kirsch, I greet you with some reserve but also much interest, as, while I did not know you, I often picture you standing in an unknown living room and playing the violin. Please feel free to play the violin, if you wish. Or speak to me of whatever you want.
RJ and Doc and Greg, I did not expect to see you here in my igloo, but what a happy surprise. And Ellen, and Meredith, and Susie: welcome. Betty Lee, you with your leopard-striped pants and lovely smile, hello, hello. Welcome, and isn’t it astonishing that such a small-appearing igloo can hold us all without feeling even a bit cramped, but there you have it.
Yes, I will build my igloo today. And I will live in it as long as I want. All around me the things that need to be done will be done by people who are not me, while I lie on my flannel-lined sleeping bag eating Original Flavor Bugles one by one and speaking – or not – with those dear to me.