04 May 2009


Six hours sleep and hit the ground running. Some days it's enough, some days not. Today, it seems to be enough.

Son to bus stop. Daughter has standardized testing in the morning; spouse is out to the field. In litigation, it's always field season, or possibly more accurately, open season. Court dates are usually set at my inconvenience. Like two weeks from now.

Colleague appears, and all are waved off to their various destinations.

I go back into the house and close the door, hoping the cat hasn't opted to finish my breakfast. But the cat runs from me, and with a sinking heart, I check the powder room to see that he's peed on the floor next to the box.

He doesn't like his new cat box, mainly because the new box represents a convenience for me.

I spend a half hour sanitizing the floor and doing damage control for odor, cursing him under my breath. He can obviously hear me and steers clear for the morning.

I read the news, check the CDC. Pandemic is not apocalypse, says someone. I snort because I liked my line last week better: pandemic is *not* death, destruction and slavering zombies. Rather more inelegant.

Then it's the exercise bike. I don't call this working out. I call this torture. I like exercise. I pursue it with enthusiasm, but I don't care for the machinery, don't belong to a gym. I was sentenced to this thing two years ago, when my doctor told me I needed surgery for an injury I acquired on my morning run. I politely declined the surgery, bought the bike and with little grace, gave up running as ordered. I spend 210 minutes per week riding this monstrosity. But it's better than the alternative. So I open the windows, turn on the music loud (Zeppelin, REM, Foo Fighters, Rush, in that order, to ratchet up the intensity as I go) and get to it.

I am seeking a return to normalcy. After everything--parties, travel, pandemic (not apocalypse)--I am off balance, adrift. What I was up to last year kept me honest, kept me organized, because it was such a juggle that if I broke concentration for a second, everything would have come down around me, a perfect storm. I miss it, the threat of impending chaos thrumming through my veins.

As I pedal, I look at a recipe, admire a summer dress in a catalog. I fall into a reverie where I am wearing such a dress, looking like nobody's business, both perfect and perfectly incongruous, standing in the sunshine, waiting...

The front door opens; the spouse has returned. After frantic phone calls between 10:30 and 11 pm, last night, the work was unceremoniously cancelled, so the spouse changes to go in to the office. I make him a sandwich for his lunch because he's suddenly decided that a salami sandwich sounds really good. As I wave good-bye a second time, "Reptilia" blasts out from the stereo behind me and into the street. Perfect and perfectly incongruous, though I've no witnesses. Given the fact that I'm wearing a drenched, disgusting t-shirt and gym shorts, this is ok.

I need to bake bread, not because I'm feeling artisanal or anything, but because if I don't make bread, there will be no sandwiches for lunch tomorrow. Most people would just go to the grocery and pick up a loaf. Not me. I plan rosemary sourdough and honey whole wheat. So I drag the sourdough starter out of the fridge. If a sourdough starter could look irritated, mine does. I have neglected it, have failed to feed it for at least two weeks, probably more. Sighing, I stir it down, pour the discard portion into a glass bowl, because I can't bear waste, feed both, and wait for blast off.

While waiting, I chop romaine for my lunch, and the cat begs for the turkey that will top my salad, along with the blue cheese dressing I made yesterday, and pine nuts and raisins. I think again on the dress in the catalog, and I am transported to a dim bar, sipping a drink with a thin slice of lime and carrying on a conversation with people I think I might like...

Go listen to some good music: "Dreamer" from the album Crime of the Century by Supertramp. The Hirschhorn's Louise Bourgeois exhibit closes next week, but I had a chance to see it when I was in D.C. Some of the imagery is quite brutal (a guillotine, even!), but I have to admit that the cells spoke volumes, as did the enormous sculptural spider as cell. I also found myself thinking of Shirley Jackson, particularly the short story "Elizabeth." Interesting the ways we find to dream our way out of entrapment.

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