Tonight is quiet. It is not lonely. Just quiet and alone. Accompanying my wandering thoughts is a steady rainfall that will soon become silent snow. The streetlights outside my window run along the entire length of my block in muted yellows. The cars that drive by sound like a coat zipper and their red lights blend with the yellow lights from above.
It is raining and I am sitting alone in my kitchen.
It seems darker outside than usual. And brighter inside. The fluorescent light above me is harsh and annoying — reminding me I am alone in my kitchen and it is dark outside. And raining.
My pen casts a faint shadow on my yellow paper.
Besides the rain and the darkness and the general sense of alone-ness, there is no football on television tonight. College or otherwise. I don’t like when there isn’t a football game on and I’m alone. It is what I watch when I don’t want to think. Don’t want to be involved in a story. Just want to observe distant collisions between others. Ignore my own.
I read today that America may split into six separate countries. West Coast, Texas, East Coast, Northern States and a couple others. That seems insane like $4 gas. But that happened. And now I’m paying $1.72. So, everything ebbs and flows. The downfall of America today. The strength of the dollar the next. In my email today I read that I should travel to London. That the American dollar is at a five-year high against the British pound. Never mind that no one has any of the strong dollars. That billions are being spent by our government to save companies that should fail. That deserve to fail.
Anyway. It is dark and raining. I am in my kitchen alone reading and wondering whatching the orange lights and listening to the zippers zip by my apartment.
I need to jump in now and become a fan of Michigan basketball, which I never have been. Ever. Even when I attended Michigan, I went to one game when my family was in town. I sat way up in the nose bleed section and probably spent more time talking, snacking and texting that actually watching Michigan win or lose.
But the tide seems to be turning and, while I am not a huge college basketball fan, except during March Madness when everyone is, I think I can get into the games. We’ve got a new coach and, from what I saw last night, a lot of solid new players. Plus, I need a crutch with the impending close of a dismal football season and no possibility of a bowl game this year.
I fully expected to get trounced by #4 ranked UCLA last night. I was going to play the punching bag at my UCLA friend’s house. Figured it would be a chance to hang out, drink a beer, and watch a game I was sure to lose. Then, we clawed back from a poor start. Down 9 to 1 I was laughing and writing the game of. Ten minutes later, there was a crumb of hope on my otherwise empty plate. Very empty plate.
So, off to a 3-0 start. Not much, but far better than the last decade. Perhaps we’re finally shrugging off the Chris Webber fab-five curse.
Now, #2 Duke tonight. Yeesh. Maybe I spoke too soon!
His heart was cracked. With each slow breath of dry Midwestern air he winced. His eyes watered, not only from sadness, but from the shriek in his chest. As he lay picture still in his room his mind replayed what went wrong and forgot to remember what went right. The pain made him numb. Except for the cracked heart, which was un-numb-able.
Sometimes when she was not looking he tried to push the fractions of his heart back together. He would place his left palm on the left side of his ribcage and his right palm on his sternum. Then he would feel with his fingertips for the crack deep beneath tissue and bone and press his palms firmly together. He did this until beads of salty sweat stung his eyes and his butter-cream complexion was splotchy red. Nothing in his life had been so hard as this.
I wish I could pound my chest like a savage beast and break my own heart, but that is not how fractured hearts work. Instead I am left to mend it myself and to hope she will lend a hand when I grow weak.
Written from 11:11 pm to 11:31 pm on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 in my apartment in Concord, NH.
More like how caffeine works. And you’ll find a much more thorough explanation here, where I read about this. But here is the gist:
- If you have never consumed caffeine before, it will initially increase your focus.
- Saturation of this increase occurs after just two to three weeks of consumption.
- At that point, the caffeine no longer increases your focus. Instead, you need it to reach your normal level of thinking.
- Drinking more coffee will not further increase your focus once you’ve reached the saturation point.
- Merely abstaining for five to ten days will return you to normal levels form saturation levels.
I dream a lot. Even while awake. It is one of the only ways, besides camping alone, that allows me to escape the obviousness of everyday life. Dreaming reminds me that even if I know everything that is going on with those around me that I still remain a mystery to myself. I can still feel alone. Others may know me better than I know myself. I can not help that. No one can.
I walk to work in my uniform dark gray suit and navy tie. I feel like I look sharp. Others take notice. A working woman glances my way, catching my eye for a brief moment. This happens everyday. To all of us. We are led on and let in to others lives, if only for broken shards of time. She has grass green eyes, which makes it seem as if I am staring straight through her head to the lawn behind. An imperceptible shudder refocuses my attention on the sidewalk ahead. The woman is past.
“I would like an everything bagel toasted with egg and cheddar. And an orange juice. Please. Thank you.”
“You won’t get fat.”
I chuckle. She is always direct. At least she is that way with everyone and not just with me. I have put on a few pounds since law school. I have not seen the gym in awhile. She knows that as well as I do. That knowledge does not stop either me from ordering or her from serving. Our worlds go around.
As I leave the The Hole, an establishment not only in my life, but in this town, I flash back to this bagel place I used to frequent that sold pizza bagels and for a moment I want to be in college again. Young. Goofy. Riding my bike.
The ceiling is always there in the morning when I wake up. Thank God. I think this as I roll out of bed and plant my feet firmly on the short brown carpeting. My apartment feels cold. I turned the heat off last night when I returned from the gym. Hoping to cut my sweat. The coffee pot is already full. I can smell the full bodied flavor of Folgers in the morning. The smell is intoxicating as I walk through the small kitchen of my apartment on my way to the bathroom.
I pee for a long time. Then brush my teeth. Then place my hands on either side of the sink and stare into my own eyes. There is nothing there yet. It is too early. Every day it is too early to see much of anything inside myself. I note my gray hairs. I note that they are like aliens invading the landscape of my head. Long ago, I didn’t believe in gray hairs. They weren’t even in my universe. Now, well. I have proof of gray hair on scalp.
We all grow up, I think to myself as I start the shower. I pour myself a cup of coffee to set next to the shower. It is the warmth and the taste I like. I have no use for the caffeine. High on life, I like to say. People hate that. But there is a lot to live for in this world.
I saw the latest James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace last night in a packed theater. I was thoroughly entertained from the opening scene to the credits. However, the movie was odd to me. It was one of the most subtle Bond movies I can remember seeing. There were no gadgets. The typical “Bond girl” flesh quota wasn’t met. I don’t recall the line, “Bond. James Bond.” Even the “Shaken. Not stirred” line was delivered differently.
The movie was darker — sad almost. Simple. Almost entirely believable.