As in 'My truck blew up, my woman left me for the cable guy, and the Bourbon bottle's dry...' Because Bad Sad things are so much more interesting to talk about than... the wonderful day I've been having.
Get John to the train station on time? Check -- even though we left five minutes later than usual. There was virtually no traffic between here and Newark Penn Station. Sigh of relief.
Back at home, shall we take care of some family-related business? Check. Even though this meant reading through five pages of court documents from some Oregon county with an unpronounceable name. And discovering that, in spite of the fact that the first thing the documents establish is my brother's basic incompetency, in terms of caring for himself, and making decisions on his own behalf, these same documents go on to detail my brother's statements about his 'estranged family'. And then, because of these statements -- made by a man the court has already decreed incompetent -- my sister, brother and I are being frozen out of all information about George's state of health, etc. Talk about circular logic in play. Didn't Dickens have something to say, about the law? It seems to pertain here.
But still -- I read, I thought, I responded to my sibs, and... done. At least for the time being.
Get to the gym on time? (Which basically means, arriving before schools let out, so I can be done and on my way home again before evening rush hour) Check. There was only one idiotic driver in front of me the whole way, and then only for a few hundred yards. I got my favorite parking space, had enough quarters for the meter, and my favorite locker was available. Did a decent workout, although I'm still mystified as to what my actual goals are -- and whether these mystery goals are realistic. I've talked with one or two of the 'trainers' at the Y, and when I ask if there's anyone on staff who's conversant with issues facing active seniors, they look at me with the wide-eyed stare of the proverbial deer in the headlights. The oldest one may be in his early 30's and can't possibly imagine what kinds of questions I'm going to be asking, much less have any answers. Maybe I shouldn't have said 'conversant'?
But... I got to the gym, and for good or ill, did my routine. Didn't even get too impatient with other patrons -- mostly because I was alone for much of the time. And I did twenty full minutes on the stupid treadmill! Amazing!
Impromptu art-related conversation, in the locker room of the Y? Checkety-check-check! What a wonder! A guy I've met there has all these interesting art ideas, and we ended up talking about the challenges I'm facing with my Combat Paper projects. How neat, to be talking about creative strategies in an environment that usually resonates with sports talk.
A little post-workout shopping? Check. I often stop at Trader Joe's on the way back home, mostly because I'm such a creature of habit (I even use the same highway lanes, at the same point in my routine commutes. Talk about entrenched...), and because, in the summer, my post-workout reward is pre-cut watermelon. Yum. This trip, though, was for sourdough bread (mission accomplished), and a few apples (likewise) and some fresh flowers (ditto). I was in and out in minutes, and even had four clear lanes for my left turn back onto Milburn Avenue. A-stounding!
A little post-shopping shopping? Check. Which meant a stop at the South Orange Starbucks, where I got yet another caffeine fix, and flirted a little bit with the very hot black barristo. Very check.
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog. I had a nice cold turkey sandwich for dinner, while I was 'doing the laundry', which we all know means nothing more than putting clothes into magical machines that do all the work, and then switching things around in an hour or so. So not like the primitive washing machine my mother had, in the basement of our house in Belleville IL. I was fascinated by the process of her putting the wet clothes through the hand-operated wringer -- garments going in all plump with water, and then the rush and gush as the wringers did their job, and the clothes coming out the other end, squashed flat and strange-looking. Then these wet garments went outside, to hang on a clothes line to dry. All the modern conveniences. And as she wrung out those garments, my mother was daydreaming, resentfully, of the boy who had almost asked her to her high school prom, and who went on to become famous for something or other, while she was in a basement in Illinois, wrestling with sopping wet underwear for six...
In any event -- my laundry under way, and for once, I'm actually folding the warm dry clothes and (drum roll, please) putting them away! How bizarre!
Oh, and I forgot -- I noticed that the pocket in my workout sweats was torn -- giving any curious onlookers an enticing glimpse of my undergarments -- so I actually... sewed it up! To quote a line from Brittney Spears' somewhat premature autobiography, 'Oh. My. God.'
Well, of course the dishes still need to be washed, and I didn't get to play with my new art toy -- expandable foam. But there's still tomorrow, God willing. And the pacemaker doesn't quit.
See? It's not quite the same as the usual grief and dismay, is it? (Although, while I was sewing up my sweat pants, I did watch a British film, starring John Mills, about the ill-fated Antarctic expedition of Robert Falcon Scott. When I was still recording books for a living, I read a Scott biography, and have always felt a deep empathy and impatience for his romantic and highly impractical approach to his venture. Plus, there's a gruesome personal parallel that I'm both aching to write about, and afraid of committing to public scrutiny. So, for sure, it'll be out here soon)
The white clothes are spinning. The towels are drying. And all's right with the world.
Which makes me nervous. Where's that Bourbon?
© 2012 Walter Zimmerman