Friday, November 30, 2018

30 november

Speaking of which. Grilled cheese for lunch today. It’s a Friday special treat lunch. I almost considered describing it as the grown-up equivalent of Friday lunch special treat chocolate milk, but I’m not too sure if grilled cheese is much higher up the food maturity totem pole. I guess if you call it “special treat lunch” in the first place, you’re probably already looking at a fairly low-level portion of the aforementioned and totally not imaginary measuring standard.

Compromise? Kind of. It’s the last day of the month. I’ve been overdoing it a bit, but it’s probably one of the most accessible options for pleasure available to me at this time. This is not to say that I have a limited imagination, but it is true that I have some standards. In addition to food maturity totem poles, I mean.

I know!!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

29 november

During a meeting, I got a voicemail from a complete stranger, unknown number and name: Alvarez. Due to the miracles of voice-to-text transcription, I got an
email with both the recording and the text: Them call me again reached.
Powerful strange.

So I listened to the recording.

Don’t call me again, bitch.

So that didn’t help much.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

28 november

I live on the fourth floor of my apartment building. There are only two floors below me, and one is slightly below ground level at the entrance side, so I only walk up two short flights of stairs to get home. I never take the elevator, because there is no elevator.

I work on the third floor of my office building. There are two floors below me, as you might expect, so I walk up two long-ish flights of stairs to get to the office. I rarely take the elevator, because it’s only the third floor.

Now, though, my back issues -- but I don’t like the word ‘issues’. Let’s call it something else. First thought: BACKROBATICS! Then it sounds more exciting and less complainy. Backrobatics it is! They are! Will do!

My current round of backrobatics has encouraged me to take the elevator at work more often. It does not, however, encourage me to take the elevator at home more often, again, because there is no elevator at home. I believe there are five elevators at the office.

As a result, I end up in the elevator with complete strangers. Since I’m only going up to the third floor, I feel a little pathetic for availing myself of the lazy ride. Plus, since being uplifted to higher floors requires a badge scan in the elevator, I can’t even help fellow passengers to get higher than the third floor. Sorry, friends. Who I don’t know.

So, that’s an interesting way to start the day. While I’m moving on up, I’m feeling the letdown.

Sometimes I just take the stairs instead.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

27 november

Rodrigo appeared to be totally unphased by Harry’s rude thoughts. Imagine! “So this is a great one,” he said, holding up one of the books. The cover read We Are In a Book, by Mo Willems. “Are you familiar with Mo Willems? Elephant and Piggy?”

“Well, my guess is that this one’s Elephant and that one’s Piggy.” Harry pointed at the cartoony animals on the cover. Should he feel concerned that he knew nothing more than that? Probably not. He didn’t lose any life points by failing to be acquainted with a children’s book author or the characters under consideration. Right?

“Smart guy. My girls love them. And this one --” Rodrigo paused, gestured meaningfully with the book. “This one is, like, really meta.”

Harry had two immediate and conflicting thoughts:

  1. He was totally shocked that Rodrigo used words like ‘meta’.
  2. He was very distressed to find that he’d made this kind of judgement based on nothing at all. Disrespect, apparently.

Actually, there were three thoughts…

(3) He wondered about checking the book out the next time he was at the library.

Monday, November 26, 2018

26 november

Who decides who gets to be Harry and who's the nameless waiter and who isn't even mentioned?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

25 november

The song was a classic. What was the title again?

“I always end up listening to every song like it’s about me,” said the woman musingly, holding the coffee cup in both hands and staring into what must have been her reflection.

Had he said that out loud?

“Ah, you’re so vain,” he blurted out, then laughed. If you laugh it makes it clear that you’re intending to be funny, right?

She laughed. A relief. He found himself actively hoping she didn’t say “LOL”. That would be the end. (Of what? Of anything.)

“You’re so right.” She set down the mug on the counter, peeled open a new plastic thimblefull of half and half, then poured it into the coffee -- with affected artistry -- in a swirling pattern. Then she looked up at him, smiled, and lifted the mug to show him. “And here I am just checking out the clouds in my coffee… clouds in my coffee, yeah.”

Saturday, November 24, 2018

24 november

I had some dream last night. There was all kinds of stuff going on.

The only part I really remember is when someone looked up at me pointedly and said, “Meadowlark.”

I think it might have been a clue.


I guess that’s the thing about clues. If they explained themselves, they’d just be answers. Not the same at all.

Gotta keep piling them up.


Friday, November 23, 2018

23 november

He had ordered chocolate chip pancakes in a surprising last-minute decision. He didn’t care what anybody thought. The idea of that big creamy scoop of light yellow butter gently gliding into glorious greasiness. Melted chocolate smeared between the layers. Fork through a neat stack. A full mouth. A smile.

“That looks amazing,” said the woman.

He smiled back at her. Nodded. The perfect situation. Nothing to say, nothing required. Just chewing.

He swallowed. Glanced over. She was still looking at the menu. How long how she been looking at the menu? It seemed like it had been a long time. No worries. Should he say something?

He took a sip of coffee. Glanced again. Now would be the time. He cut a new stack. Picked it up on his fork. Posed. Glanced again.

She was looking the other way, waving down a waiter. A young, good-looking waiter, with slicked back dark hair. Pierced nose. Great skin. She caught his eye easily and he smiled, nodded, and headed over.

Never mind.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

22 november

So the omelet was pretty good. He’d considered scrambled eggs, but that seemed a bit childish. And really, at a moment like this on a day like today, he’d apparently made the decision that he didn’t want to be seen as childish.

Have you ever seen someone eating scrambled eggs and thought ‘Whoa, that person is totally immature and can’t seem to get it together!’? Of course not. That’s not how this works. It’s his perception that matters -- not your reality.

The southwest omelet, still halfway present on this plate -- that is, half was fully present, fractionally speaking -- included black beans, monterey jack cheese, salsa, sour cream, and unnecessary little spiky bits of tortilla for style, apparently. Partly healthy, at least, it seemed like a grown-up choice.

“That looks good,” said the woman beside him, glancing over at his plate.

He finished chewing as quickly as seemed appropriate, trying not to look too eager, and also trying not to choke.

“It is good,” he agreed. He gave her a huge smile.

Too huge? She was already looking back down at the menu.

He could feel his face flushing. Was it the salsa? No. It was the embarrassment of reality. The attempt to engage and the awkwardness of failing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

21 november

The moment I laid down my head, it became surprisingly difficult to pick back up. Was I really that tired moments ago? Was it really just the pillow that had this impact? I guess really it was my head that had the impact on the pillow, but let's not be that literal. This from the person who was just wondering whether she laid her head down or lay her head down. No bed of roses here. This is not a metaphor. There are literally no roses here in my bed. That's convenient, because otherwise it would be difficult to sleep. As it is I can't pick my head back up anyway. So I guess I'm in for the night.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

20 november

The feeling of deflating.

Now I know I have the options of deflating like a jelly donut or deflating like a busted bike tire. Busted sounds way better. What’s a busted jelly donut called? Jammed? Funny funny. It doesn’t take much. When I started writing the question, I really didn’t know the answer. Language just works it out like that. Rather than writing to see what I think, probably I’m more often writing to find out how funny I am -- or how funny life is, or language, or some other jelly jam.

Diary of a busted donut. Not a bad title.

Monday, November 19, 2018

19 november

Here's a thing. Remember how I was saying that things fall apart when you're not well? Just last night the toilet in my half-bath decided that it just couldn't get enough flushing. Like that was the coolest thing it could be doing. And doing. And so on. Just this spinning gurgling sound that seemed to be nearly always on the verge of resolution. Of one final twirl and then a bow or a curtsey or something. Ta-DA! But no. No thrilling filling finale. Just filling but not up. A show that must go on. And on. Until I had to go back in, jiggle the handle, wait, and then eventually flush again. Repeat. But this time, resolution.

If I was a different person, I'd spin this into more of a metaphor. Maybe the sands of time, the currents of the ocean that is my soul, something like this. Instead, I'm this person, and I'm telling you about jiggling the toilet handle in my half-bath.

Or maybe that IS the metaphor!!


I know.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

18 november

The idea that if I watch enough mysteries I will solve everything. Not the problems on the shows -- murders and robberies and things going bump in the night -- but the problems off the shows. How to make enough time out of not enough time. Alchemy, I guess. How to say the right thing and do the right things. How to show you love someone. How to avoid being terrible. How to be kind when you don't feel kind. How to be in all places. How to get passports against the odds. How to conquer time zones. How to have enough space. How to be close enough. How to figure out what to do with all the empty time. How to have a balanced diet. How to exercise enough. How to attract the right kind of attention. How to be confident but not too cocky. How to make more money. How to know what you're worth. How to get what you deserve. How to stop your foot from falling off. How to stop crying. How to be more transparent. How to be less transparent. How to be a problem solver. How to imagine the best instead of the worst. How to cook something delicious even if you have the wrong ingredients. How to write a book someone would actually want to read.

How to sleep enough. How not to sleep too much. How to make the most. How to open up. How to keep it together. How to imagine any relationship can ever work.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

17 november

Buying the shareable size of M&Ms does not legally oblige you to share them. Likewise, it is acceptable to buy a family size box of Honey Nut Cheerios even if you don’t have a family. I mean, the odds are pretty good that you have a family, but maybe you don’t live with thim. And probably the box is not the same size as your family, anyway, wherever they may be, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be able to manage it yourself after all. Pace yourself.

Friday, November 16, 2018

16 november

One day you can be on the internet looking up how to sleep with back pain and wondering what sciatica means and the next day it can be impossible to get out of bed and somehow the next day you are running a marathon. Okay, sure, not all of these things are happening on three successive days, but boy would that be success. I am not experiencing that kind of success. However at this time I have turned the heat on, and that has made all the difference. It's like I was on a road... That was in a yellow wood... It was a very traveled, as you might expect. So different. So cliche. To return to the heat. There's something very satisfying about turning the heat on and getting into bed at the end of a long week when your body has been falling apart your plans have been disintegrating before your very eyes and your metaphors have ceased to make sense. Correct that. It's not just something about that which is satisfying. It's every single thing. My muscles are waiting to unwind. Not exactly exhale, because that's an entirely different book. Plus let's not just be crazy. The wind is outside. I think I'll leave it there. I enjoy the sweet tiredness, the weariness of the windy winding week wrapping up. The office at night. The end of the list. The answered questions fading into who cares.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

15 november

My physical therapists want to know if they're in the book. Now they are.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

14 november

Today I have been speaking but my language skills have been lacking. This is happened during a training, a class, a meeting, a consultation... It is also happening now. Sometimes I can blame technology, like when I'm using voice to text like right now and end up with all kinds of weird words... For some reason that's the first time it's got every word right. Meta much?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

13 november

Life is really nothing but opportunity.

Based on recent experiences, I'm now considering a new career as a medical metaphorist. Maybe I mean a metaphorical medical specialist. No, that's off. It's not like the concept of a medical specialist. More like a medical metaphor specialist. Even medical metaphorical specialist makes it seem like the focus is on how unreal the specialist or specialism might be. But no. Way real.

First we had the jelly donuts.

Today, it was bike tires.

All this delivered to someone high on language and narcotics and anxiety and who's low on inhibition and sense and expectation.

Monday, November 12, 2018

12 november

News flash: It is a common belief, among those who believe it, that you can get conjunctivitis by looking at someone who has it.


I tried to explain that makes no sense. What, do germs travel on ether? Which either doesn't exist or will eventually be proven to be the same as dark matter or anti-matter or some other semi-similar matter?

My argument didn't seem to hold as much weight as the fact that this very transmission through vision question was found, at the same instant of the discussion, on an online FAQ of the American Society of something. I think it was opthamologists. Maybe I didn't listen that closely because I was saying something like OH YEAH BECAUSE IT'S ON THE INTERNET IT MUST BE TRUE! Although in reality the A was that it wasn't true. I'm not even sure how F the Q was really being posed there, but the fact that it was posted… just proves we're all looking for a SO THERE. Luckily I happened to agree with this one. Germs don't travel by rays of light, informed the society's scribes. Basically what I said.


Aren't you glad that's where it ended? Science is so crazy. Anything seems like it could start being possible at just about any moment. Hopefully I won't catch conjunctivitis by passing glance tomorrow. Hopefully we won't be treating pain and illness with dark matter or leeches or anything else of the medieval variety tomorrow. Otherwise, tomorrow might not end up being the best day to visit the neurosurgeon.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

11 november

The greatest thing about the day so far is that he’s realized there is sour cream in his refrigerator. While he does, indeed, live alone, yes, anyone with a fridge knows this kind of magic. There are no laws of conservation of anything. You put something in, and it’s not necessarily coming back out. Or, you haven’t put something in, and there it is, ready to come out. It’s not science. It’s fridgetastic. Fridgemagic? Fridgerriffic? Hard to tell where to put in the d and where to take it out in all of these made-up words, but that’s part of the charm, isn’t it?

So! Sour cream! Based on a smart decision sometime within the last week or two -- judging from the smell, because sell-by dates are hardly tell-by dates, what with all the chemicals and all the -- stop. It smelled good. It’ll taste good. Good enough.

Isn’t it miraculous how you can set yourself up like that? In a story it would be foreshadowing, but in the kitchen it’s just stocking your cupboards. Otherwise they’re bare and there are no ingredients for your next adventure. Instead you have oatmeal and rice and cans of beets. Which are all lovely things, too, but not necessarily the grounds for adventure and Saturday morning delight.

Sour cream is. No doubt.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

10 november

Not to brag but i've just had a pretty good shower. By myself. With no help. Hooray! Good for me! Sounds pathetic! Two months ago, six months ago, a year ago, I would have said that this was a ridiculous thing to be proud of. Actually two weeks ago, I would have been proud, and today I'm also proud. It's all relative, as my relatives would say. So yes, I took a shower, with hot water and everything, and manage not to fall over the entire time. I washed my hair, shaved my legs a little bit at least while avoiding bending over, and stepped out onto a towel that did not move. Most of the time I was thinking ‘Wow my legs are shaky I hope I don't fall I hope I don't fall I hope I don't fall.’ I know the idea of positive thinking is to focus on something good happening rather than the absence of something negative, because we have this thought that thinking about the negative makes it happen. As if talking about suicide to people will somehow suggest the idea to them. This is not the case. It's always better to talk about it if you think the need is there. I'm just saying. So I'm still alive and I did not fall in the shower. Is that because his medication is so effective? Is that because I thought continuously about not falling? Is that because nobody understands psychology? Is that because I ask so many questions? There are no answers.

I feel a bit like I’ve been put on ice. Like those long and slimy fish waiting in a market for someone to catch their eye and sling them along home, plus or minus guts, onto some sort of board with big knives and flashing scales and blades and a plating that leaves taste to be desired. Waiting for the bones to be snatched out at just the right moment. Or accidentally crunched to spark some whodunit. Says someone who doesn’t eat fish. And loves mysteries.

And yet. Even those unfortunate fish flung about Pike’s Place and other markets through rough hands and lingo and oily rank air land on crushed ice beds to gleam those dead eyes in a challenge at all comers. Graceful in their arcs. Waiting in the artificial light to be taken home to one final dark delivery. Caught and catching.

Which is to say: At some moments I feel the fish have it better. They don’t need to worry about false moves. They’re not concerned about which bones are connected to which others. They’re not wondering over the short- and long-term effects of the chemicals seeping through their systems. The short- and long-term future. The effect on others. The loss of independence. The death of stubbornness. The freeze of winter sidewalks and the need to be a grown-up. The fear of needing help.

Lucky fish.

Friday, November 9, 2018

9 november

Now, breakfast.

It would be okay to out and pick up something to eat, but he didn’t really fancy the idea of dining out on his own. Fancy? Come on now. That British influence that had twisted into his morning seemed to be lingering. Malingering? Probably not. Fancy that. Nothing fancy, just a baked potato.

That’s what he thought when he opened his fridge, anyway. There was not, in fact, a baked potato in his fridge, let alone a fancy one, but there was a potato. Indeed there were four potatoes -- and no small potatoes, either. These were the robust and no doubt chemically generated mega-sized potatoes that were used in giant photos spread across the sides of grocery delivery trucks. The kind that appeared on spoofy magnets in Idaho that weren’t so much spoofy as both stereotypical and accurate. The models that starred in commercials paired with a golden and gleaming slab of butter that used to be a pat but got carried away.

He often kept potatoes in his fridge, despite a vague awareness that they didn’t really need to be in there. He liked the idea of a cold cellar, but he didn’t have one, so the fridge generally made do. He’d found, though, that keeping potatoes -- or anything else, for that matter -- in the lower drawers of the fridge more or less made them invisible. Someone more organized would keep an inventory of some kind on the fridge itself to ensure that nothing ended up lost, stolen, or strayed (like James James Morrison’s mother, who seemed to have been mislaid (A. A. Milne citation along there somewhere better worked in than a parenthetical (or not))). Or, someone more sensible might just remember what he put in the fridge in the first place and, therefore, what had not yet come out. Being neither of these seemingly fine fellows of the organized or sensible variety, though, he put nothing in the drawers anymore. Which is how these potatoes ended up on the top shelf, clear and prominent and available.

Those are some top shelf potatoes! he told himself.

You’re a top shelf potato! he told himself

Eat me! said a potato.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

8 november

When you live alone there’s nobody to turn to when you hear creaking in the night. You’re laying lying low, your face catches the light from the window, and your seen-by-nobody-expression shows that you know: there’s someone in the house.

Alone, you realize that the phone is too far away. The bedroom door is open. Nobody could hear you through the window even if you did scream. Nobody wants to interfere. And anyway, it’s not even the first floor. No way out. The light fades.

If you’re not alone, you simply nudge the person next to you. A tap. A shake. A shush. There’s someone in the house. Somehow, through bravery and luck, it works out. Someone else legit knocks on the door and surprises the bad guy. Or the alien. Or the ghost. Or the darling companion turns on the light and picks up a bat. Or a cricket bat. Which is also a bat. The ghost / alien / bad guy disappears. The light fades.

Too many movies? Too many dark nights. There’s a joke there.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

7 november

It’s not uncommon to end up writing something other than what you’d planned on. It’s actually quite common. Writing is a discovery process. How many times have I used this quote? Let’s add one more to the total: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” And how many times will I have to look it up to be sure I’m writing the citing insightfully and also accurately? Once more into the breach that is the internet. And on return: E. M. Forster. Didn’t see for the trees.

This time I have a good idea. This time I will keep writing about it. This time life will not interfere.

And yet.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

6 november

I asked her if she had been able to see my face -- if that small circle of glass just above my head was a camera. Apparently not. I wasn’t sold, though. It seemed like the right thing to tell a patient so they wouldn’t freak out about being stared at so closely, or filmed, or anything like that. The perfect punishment for the insecure. As if there’s any privacy there in the first place -- wearing just a gapingly awkward cotton gown over underwear, no jewelry or tattoos or metal in your eyes -- so many things to worry about -- and you’re getting your entire body scanned from every angle, inside and out. And I’m asking about a camera. Face it: It’s all in your head.

Monday, November 5, 2018

5 november

Getting somewhere earlier is generally advisable. It also generally means waiting a lot longer in a location not entirely of your choosing. I knew where I was going. I didn't really want to go. I didn't really have a choice. But. Of course. We always have choices. This is my adventure. That's the way to see it. I didn't present the choices, but I get to decide. Maybe I created the choices through some earlier series of actions. But. Not that I know of, in this case.

It's like the phone ringing, really. It's almost always sudden. Even if you're expecting a call, there's nearly always -- speaking for myself, sure -- a little jump when the phone actually rings. Whoa! There it is! The same thing's true -- yes, maybe just me --  for outgoing calls. Whoa! Someone answered!

The phone never kinda rings. It just does. The phone never gradually rings. It's all or nothing. What to do?? Make a decision. Now!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

4 november

When the phone rang, he struggled to figure out whether to answer it. Why not? He did, but in a pretty tentative way. “Hello?”

When he was invited out, he struggled to figure out whether to go. Why not? He agreed, but in fairly tentative way. “Sure, probably.”

By the time he hung up, in fact, he wasn't entirely sure whether he would go or not. In fact, he was pretty sure he wasn't sure.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

3 november

When he awoke, it was to a sound he did not know. Not a surprise or a shock - a Saturday sound, the background of someone else’s industry or entertainment. He lay still -- wondering if he was supposed to be lying still instead -- but could make little of the noise. Ultimately -- filling an extended investigation span of about three minutes -- he concluded that it was a sound he did not know. Some investigation! Some conclusion! You don’t need to tell him. Well aware of the pathetic nature of his assessment, he next struggled to decide whether to get out of bed and look out of the window -- perhaps instantly solving the mystery -- or to stay firmly ensconced and wish the wonder away.

Two minutes later, according to a log not kept, he was pulling back the top layers of his sleep sandwich and stepping onto cool linoleum. The linoleum always felt almost wet, but that wasn’t an important detail in this description, nor in the investigation -- at least thus far.

Five steps and two shuffles later, he pulled back the nondescript curtains and revealed the answer. Despite the early morning -- was it? -- success -- was it? --  he was strangely disappointed. Deflated, he shuffled backward. Enough for now, he told himself, lying and laying down.

Friday, November 2, 2018

2 november

While there's nothing to talk about until something happens -- someone speaks, an apple falls from the sky -- we're frozen with wonder. Or indecision. Or that vacancy when you're not sure if the medicine is working or you've just briefly lost consciousness. Or when you should get up from the chair but it seems like the chair is the perfect shape perfectly primed to keep you happy and where else would you go anywhere anyway?

This is what happens while we're waiting for the action.

There can be beautiful descriptive text about The Nature. It's lovely, it's fresh, it's wild. When we're lucky, it's ripe with metaphor and foreshadowing we can come back to later when we have to write that paper and include key evidence from multiple literary elements. Just saying: If you have to do this kind of assignment, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is probably a pretty solid choice. It's a super short book, actually. Perfect for high school sophomores early in the year. You can do it! But all that nature up front gets buzzed over. Why bother? It's all there for a purpose, people! There's so much going on, but as you explain it, you get a lot more zoned out stares than thoughtful pondering. Choices. Engage or not?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

1 november

But now there will be something fresh -- something unexpected -- what do you think of that? Or would you rather stick to the safely sticky structure of the five-paragraph essay -- as they say: Here is what it's all about and here are three things I'm telling you about it and hey yes that's what I just told you rolled through a finely designed outing and shiny smooth transitions to listen to what's about to be said then to have read exactly as expected -- neglecting nothing but originality and also the hope of surprise --