By mid-morning, my chest hurt when I breathed deeply. I fitfully sipped at my morning water and coffee. Dreading another day of stressful breathing, I went to the grocery store. Not even the usual store-playlist trainspotting could distract me: oh, huh, that’s Seal’s “Crazy” followed by The Beatles’ “Come Together” and a half-dozen false starts on The Emotions’ “Best Of My Love,” before settling on REM’s “Orange Crush.”
So I was pretty happy when I got the call back from the family-run chain hardware store in Jack London Square. True to their word, the owner’s son rung me just as we got to the checkout counter: their latest shipment of masks had just arrived. So we went over and I bought a box. Then I went home, read the instructions, and took their admonitions seriously enough to shave: goodbye, goatee!
Then I went to work, settled in at my desk and masked up. After several hours of breathing with reasonable levels of comfort, I ate lunch and thought about how odd it felt to wear this thing on my face. I’m not anywhere I can’t be mistaken for anyone else, I’m not hiding my identity, and I can still answer phone calls. I’m just breathing easier.
It can take a long time for a proper future to get the showing it deserves, one both highly plausible and impeccably attached to an earlier vision. Tonight, it took almost three hours. But here A and I were, spending Cinemark XD money (unicorns and all) to see how things turn out and what more is still left to learn.
I was less spooked by the new characters as doppelgangers to earlier ones than I was by the cities and the climate, and the gaps that viewers are left to fill in, the history left to infer. That leaves at least threemorevideos to finish watching, as well as whatever useful video essays come down the assembly line.
It was one of those most wonderful times of the year: the opthalmologist visit. It’s when I get to see what I’m going to look like for the next year or two or longer after picking out new frames. It’s also when I get a decent sense of how my eyes are holding up under the strain from all the tiny screens and bad lighting and poor information-consumption choices. Nice as the glasses look like they’re going to be when they’re ready in a little more than a week or so, it’s the contacts that are most exciting. I spent most of the day walking around in a trial pair and even with the left eye’s prescription seriously underpowered, my fit felt really comfortable.
After I finished work, I swung around from one side of the lake into downtown and slipped into Bar 355 to wish a musician I know happy birthday. As it turned out, a guest of honor was at the bar: a veteran bartender from previous watering holes who had moved to Hawaii but was visiting. On top of that, it felt good to see a couple of the folks I’d hit it off with at other places last year while A. was out of town, like the DJ spinning tonight who put on Toto’s “Georgy Porgy.” Places pop up and go under, but I’m glad the bar and the people have stuck around. I guess I shouldn’t make it so long between visits.
I had it for years. I’ve fallen off it hard and gotten right back up and kept going. I spent the last five months getting serious about tracking my trips. I was seeing more and more of my city. I had a way to get around that didn’t require gasoline, but balance and effort and sweat. I actually started losing weight and gaining strength. But you took it off my second-floor apartment’s porch in seconds. It was mine. It didn’t belong to you. You’ve made me feel safe where I live and less trusting of my neighbors. I hope somebody finds my bike and brings it back to me. I’m going to stop writing now before I actually say what I hope happens to you.
My favorite DJ was spinning the Police, Steely Dan, Tom Petty and a few other sublime slow jams at a bar I hadn’t officially been to in four months. Then there was a burrito, just extra carnitas, beans, rice and cheese, and a really low-hanging, tiny swollen moon on the western horizon. Eventually there was sleep.
I woke up under too many blankets. They wouldn’t stay put in one place, so I folded them and propped them up on the rolling chair in front of my desk. I drank much more water than I usually do. I was much more grateful than I usually am to live in an apartment that gets no direct sunlight after 10:30 a.m..
At the end, there was a trip to the grocery store and an extra trip around the lake just for spending an extra fifteen minutes in air-conditioned sixty-five-degree comfort, followed by a falling-through of plans and a run-through of the album I expect to spend a lot of the autumn digging.
I appreciate reporters. I still can’t believe I am one. I never feel more like one on days like today. Everyone is watching things happen and trying to make sense of things.
Some of us are cracking jokes. Some are waving notebooks around and apologizing for brushing politicians in passing. Some of us are trying to walk the line between observation and commentary. Some of us are just trying not to open their mouths until they know the shot.
Can I be trusted? Almost always. I don’t have much room to get it wrong about a dead body or a crashed car or a fire. Independently observable and occasionally natural phenomena offer their own proof. More often than not, it’s easy enough to get out of the way of people intent on arguing with reality.