I heard a good song on the college station while I was driving back from lunch. I don’t know the name or artist. I wouldn’t do it justice if I tried to describe it. It was a part of my day. It was a good part of my day.
I got off work early to go to the psychiatrist. We had a check in so he could fill my prescriptions. When I got there, the lobby was empty. The woman in the office talked to me about long hours and we agreed we both could use a vacation. I sat down and read articles about foreign wars on my iphone. Fifteen minutes went by. The doctor came out to greet me.
It took five minutes and four questions for the decision: keep on keeping on, things are working. They are working so that’s what I told him. Still, I wondered why I spent $150 for five minutes of someone’s time – no new opinions, no insights, just a couple questions – ‘are you good?’ ‘Yes, I’m good.’
But I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. See, I can afford it. It’s worth a bit of wasted cash to get an extension on drugs that are helping me. What about the working parents, though? What about the double-shifters working two part-time jobs with neither providing health insurance? We wail and moan as more people slit themselves open on opiates but damn the thought of higher taxes and public care.
Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand
It’s been a week of traffic. I’m driving to a branch in RTP. Maps says 25 minutes but the trip always takes longer. I was five minutes late the first day, five minutes late the second, etc. I even turned the clock back on departure but I was late all the same.
I like it though.
Five years ago I was a teacher. I got the job in Durham then had a bad break-up. I’d been living there, the break-up broke that up. I moved home for awhile. The commute was Burlington to Durham, 45min one way. I left early and stopped for coffee at a truck stop in Haw River each day. I got to see the sun rise. On three separate occasions, I passed a burning semi pulled over in the pre-dawn. It got to be an omen. I didn’t like the commute so much back then.
But I’ve come to appreciate the in-between. Nothing can phase you on the road. No goals, no expectations. You’re stuck. It’s lovely. It may feel like you’re trapped, but really the whole world is on hold for you. What’s that? There’s dishes needing doing? Later! And work? Bumper-to-bumper says I’ll be a few minutes late. And when I get there I’ll unpack the car of all your things – the clothes, the letters, the mattress pad you used to sleep on, hand them off one at a time in your driveway, and watch you take the shortcut through the garden on a cloudy day to deposit yourself back in comfortable places, turn the key, wave from the window, and lovingly say ‘bye’ forever – but for now, the doors are locked and I’m moving, only looking left and right and never too far in the future.
urrently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker
I don’t remember when the insomnia started. Years, at least. I can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep, don’t sleep well. I used to pass the box for The Machinist in a movie rental back in High School. I never picked it up but Christian Bale looked like death and horror on the cover so I read the box: “Man suffers debilitating insomnia…” Anyway, the image stuck with me.
Other oddities of getting old: I can’t really smell anymore. Flowers, sure; piss, sure; something weaker, not so much. I also can’t quite hear because my ears are always stuffed. And speaking of stuffy, I don’t remember what it feels like to have two clean nostrils. In fact, the left channel is frozen over like an English winter. Maybe that says something to the smelling.
Life fills you up to spilling with humors, bile, juices. They become blood brothers. You can’t think to leave them. Maybe they chase out dreams, diminish anticipation, but the dull numb throbbing is something you welcomed, something you wanted, an amorphous scuttle stuck into you to keep the daily doldrums from spilling out.
Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker