I work a lot of hours. I walk a lot of hours. I sleep very little. I eat very little. I never, ever have enough time in the day to do half the things I want to do and I get damned resentful about that. (Note to self: "Limes, whose fault is it that you don't do the things you want to do?") I am so sun deprived I feel nearly ill from it, and we're entering the heart of darkness part of the year. I will walk in the dark, go to work in the dark and go home in the dark. For quite awhile.
Having gone camping for the previous full weekend, my home looked pretty bad. I'm not sure why my coffee mugs land near the dishwasher, rather than in the dishwasher. The clothes and shoes lying throughout gave the place the look of a college dorm or a thrift store. The jacket still smelled of the campfire, attracting the constant attention of Dylan and Virginia Woolf. The pantry and refrigerator were empty. It was clear I was going to have to spend my one day off working my butt off, if I wanted the reward of a few short hours of pleasure in my day.
Having treated myself to a luxurious sleep-in until 5:00 a.m., I rolled out to check the weather and get ready to walk. Below 40-degrees (for the first time this year) and wind screaming - yep, just like meteorologist Sherry said it would be. I bundled up and went for 9 hard, fast miles. I reminded myself again to order a couple of warm knit caps from Kass's friend Holly. My hair is so short my ears nearly freeze in cold weather!
Arriving home, I brewed coffee, soaked in Epsom salts and completely enjoyed the Beatles-fest Tag had posted. Without knowing my personal favorites, he certainly landed on several of them. I enjoyed listening and kept following links. I enjoyed it . . . . until I didn't enjoy it any more. For I got a little down, a little sad, a little melancholy. It was the John Lennon videos that did it - it never stops hurting, and Ringo Starr's tribute tune makes me weep every time I hear it. But a pity party can only go on so long and then the party's over. I had work to do.
Every appliance in the home was running. Virginia Woolf cowered in some unkonwn location as she is terrified of both the vacuum cleaner and the broom. I played music I shouldn't have played. It didn't lighten my outlook. Finally a few, short e-mails were exchanged. "How's your morning? Have you walked yet?" "I have and it was miserable. I have to tell you, I'm struggling to get right today. I'm not doing very well. I'm going to need a little TLC later on." "OK, you shall have it."
I was pleased with myself when I noted the time, looked around the now sparkling, fragrant home and thought, "Time to relax. Things will look better soon." I showered and dressed, made the grocery list, and the BlackBerry rang. The area code from San Diego does not please me when it pops up on the display, but it's almost always an important or necessary call. I answer it every time. It was a person I dislike, calling to tell me about the death of a person I liked. This man hadn't been in my life for some years (after Cousin divorced him), but nevertheless, he was a good man and I liked him. He was considerably younger than I. He caused himself to have congestive heart failure due to his alcoholism. This was not playing out as the most pleasant day I'd spent in awhile. OK, shed a tear for the deceased Dan and move on . . . .
Fresh & Easy pleases me. It's no Trader Joe's, but I like it very much. I It has all manner of prepared dishes I enjoy (best shepherd's pie I've ever enjoyed outside the U.K., all manner of pasta creations), good organic produce, unusual foods, good prices, and it's smaller than a megalomart to trudge through. Sometimes I walk there, tucking an extra 3 miles under my belt for the day. But yesterday, I drove. I had a long list to fill. I became intrigued at the premade salad case by a chicken caesar pasta salad. I wanted to check the percentage of calories that come from fat, so I turned the container over . . . . and poured gloppy, wet, white stuff all over my gray peacoat, black pants, black tights and black shoes. Grrrrrrr . . . . the clerk was nice about it, offering me a paper towel that caused little white paper balls to adhere to the salad glop and I moved on to complete my list. Yes, I bought one of the pasta salads that was in a container with a lid that was secured. I turned the corner into the next aisle I wanted, and there was Bob. Bob, with all the color draining out of his face. Bob making surreptitious, snarky little motions at me with his hands. Bob's snarky hand signals made me angry. Bob is a fortunate man. I do not usually cause great scenes in public places.
Bob is a man I met and came to like very much. The feeling was mutual. We spent a good deal of time together and some niceties took form. He enjoyed having dinner ready for me when I got off of work in the evenings. The headwaiter at a lovely little trattoria located not 500 footsteps from my front door soon knew at which table we'd like to be seated, and which bottle of wine opened. We were in one another's homes many times. I liked Bob so much, I had decided it was time to tell some important people in my life about him. The Sunday approached when I would unveil Bob to a most important person. I'd given it a great deal of thought and knew just what I would say. The Thursday before I would tell about Bob, Shelly called me at my office. Shelly is Bob's wife. Shelly called me exactly the names I would have called her if the tables were turned. No, I never saw a picture of her or even any indication that a woman lived in his home. He claimed to have been long divorced. When Shelly called to tear my head off of my body, she had not yet confronted Bob, for there was one last sweet e-mail. I responded with, "Shelly just called to introduce herself to me." I imagine that was Shelly I saw with Bob in Fresh & Easy. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before (or since). For a long time, I felt like I was some of the choice things Shelly called me.
I hit full throttle scanning and bagging my purchases. What if they got in line behind me or next to me? I needed to get out of there. I felt my spirit sagging. It had been quite the day. I was out of sorts. I went home, put everything away, took one deep breath and the Badger called. "Still want to walk a few miles? The wind has died down, although it's chilly." We agreed to a routine we commonly follow: we each set out from our homes, meet on Desert Inn wherever we happen to meet, then set out for some serious miles. I plodded along to meet him, feeling weighed down in every way. Bundled up in heavy clothes, more day's events than I wanted to deal with, and - hey! - in much fewer than 12 hours, I'd be bundling up to go out walking alone in the predawn. But who's counting?
I saw him across the intersection. He'd walked farther than I had. Was I trudging? Plodding? Dogging it? He waited across the boulevard for me with his warm cap on and his red and black Filson coat. The driver of a small car played chicken with me, daring me to keep walking when he wanted to make that right-hand turn. I never made eye contact. I just squared my shoulders and kept going. Finally I crossed the street and said, "Hey, Badger, some kind of day." We started to walk due west and had taken perhaps ten steps when it happened. One of the concrete blocks of the sidewalk was slightly raised and my toe caught it. Wham! Faceplant. Hard. Water bottle skittering across the sidewalk. The wrapper of the string cheese I was carrying burst open. Me in shock and embarrassed. The Badger grabbing at me, "Limes, here, get up." I staggered to my feet and he took me in his arms. It must have been a fairly spectacular dive, because a nice man in a car put his head out the window to ask if I was OK or if we needed help. "No, but thanks!", the Badger waved him on. I started to cry. Oh, it didn't hurt all that badly. I cried for the day I'd endured. I cried for John Lennon. I cried for Ringo who missed his late mates ~ it was almost 50 years ago, and how did the time pass so quickly? I cried for deceased Dan. I cried for what Bob did to me. I cried because I was tired. The Badger just let me cry it out. "Come on, Badger, I believe I was promised a walk." We set off again.
"Limes, you're in for a treat 100 feet ahead." "Why, Badger, what's up?" "A dead rat on the sidewalk." Hmmmm - that is a treat! Soon we were upon RIP Rat. He was, decidedly, a rat and not a mouse. Long, long tail. Scruffy fur. And there on the sidewalk, in beautiful juxtaposition with RIP Rat, lay a golden desert marigold someone had uprooted and put beside him. "Did you do that, Bader?" He said he hadn't. "If I lay dead on the sidewalk, Badger, would you put a flower down for me?" He said he would.
By the time we'd walked a few miles, we were both laughing. Look, I can only wallow in misery for so long. After dinner, I was starting to stiffen up and said so. This morning I am sporting scraped knees (although my pants did not tear, they caused abrasions), bruised knees, scraped up hands, a black goose-egg on one knee, a banged up back, hip and neck . . . but I've got the long massage coming on Wednesday evening and things are pretty upbeat today. Homes helped me carry my week's worth of groceries up the stairs and the sun is out, although it's cold. "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they're here to stay . . . . " Nah!
One photo credit (Limes at the petroglyphs): J. D. Morehouse
One photo credit (RIP Rat): J. D. Morehouse, taken with my BlackBerry
In my ears right now: Natalie Imbruglia - Torn. My clothes were not.
Something that charmed me: The care someone took to place that desert marigold just so at RIP Rat's final resting place. I wonder who . . . . .