No matter how busy your day is, you’re probably better off moving, eating or reminding yourself of your humanity. On a day off, you can probably fit in at least one of those activities. If you’re lucky like me, you can hit all three. Today, that also meant getting to huff and puff up and down one of the steeper neighborhood hills, watching the adaptive photochromic material in my glasses do their thing if I caught my reflection in an unbroken window of a parked car, en route to the Grand Lake theater for a matinee of “The Shape Of Water.” Guillermo del Toro occasionally makes great movies but, thirteen Oscar nominations aside, not this time. I’m still thinking hard about just why. Is it better than a classic monster movie with dashes of “Amelie,” “The Artist” and “Hairspray”? Yes, but, argh.
It was one of those days where the branches look particularly bare and the sidewalks seem especially wet, but the rain doesn’t clean the air and the chill just sort of hangs there and taunts you underneath your collar and down your socks, a day for closed conference-room doors and poker-faced concentration while listening to distant decisions heading toward the newsrooms where reporters and photographers and editors work.
It was, as it turned out, also a day for another company’s announcement about a new tool, beta-testing right now in a popular Mid-South city and much, much closer by as soon as next week, after more than a year in development.
Some people start their mornings with prayer, meditation, motivational literature. I don’t spend time around those folks on a regular basis, but I know they exist because I saw a guy waiting to cross Lakeshore Avenue with a Tony Robbins book under one arm.
Me, I start by looking at my cat. I mean, yeah, I also drink water and coffee, but a little time looking at this actual animal is a thing for me. She prefers me horizontal and as still as possible — if she can be said to have preferences. When it becomes clear that I’m going to escape the cozy confines, she’ll slink down off the covers and hide under the bed or out in the hallway, stopping to tune up her scratching post like a boxer tags a heavy bag with a puncher’s touch.
The best looking comes when the cat is off on her own, peeking out through the blinds or staring out at birds from the edge of the bed or seated at the base of a wall, catching the last little bit of wan-as-fuck autumn sun that swings around the corner of our apartment building.
And when I catch her sticking out her tongue, it’s because she’s about to groom herself so she can stand the rest of her day in style, as well as a reminder for me to do the same.
They sit lightly on the bridge of my nose, arms clinging lightly to my temples. Through their lenses, the world rushes at me with greater clarity and richer dimension than ever before. They feel oddly sturdy for their thinness and absence of weight. I do not wish to test their durability. I prefer drinking in the details floating in the air around me, higher-resolution data I hadn’t realized I was missing from squinting at small screens or staring at landscape horizons hurtling suddenly closer. All this before I notice the built-in shade that I’d forgotten about requesting, and here it is, seeping in to shield me from the brightness all around.
Words slide more easily across my eyes. Pages’ edges catch my fingertips and flip just that much more crisply. I can’t see all the way back into a rock legend’s life, but a look back at accounts of his formative years comes easily into focus for a little while this afternoon.
I kept getting up to wander around the newsroom and looking out the windows onto Grand Avenue to see if the rain had started. When I decided to pack it in and tromped out to the car, I found the windshield and the roof wet with spray from nearby sprinklers.
I made it home and got to my bedroom’s desk and noticed the wind rising outside. Then a rush of noise came, spattering buildings’ roofs and slamming down onto the neighborhood park’s basketball court.
As keen as the region seemed for any help from overhead to beat back the recent wildfires and cleanse the air, I felt sure a lot of people wanted every individual raindrop for its own selfish reasons, and not just because gravity meant each was already predestined to fall.