Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Screaming at the Tide

It is dark.

It is dark, and I am hurtling down the highway, and I am cursing the darkness.

I curse, because, like Dante, I'M NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE HERE TODAY!

I am drinking a shitty cup of (now cold) coffee that I purchased at a gas station. Purchased coffee is de rigeur when I stay at my best friend's place, because - unbelievably - they do not drink coffee at his house. Normally, this results in my getting a quaffable cup of McDonald's coffee, but this is not a normal situation. This situation, that I'm in here right now, is me leaving his house before dawn because my wife left me a message the night before. The message she left was, basically, that she was sick, and wasn't going to be much use to our daughter when she woke up, and could I please come home as soon as possible in the morning?

And that is why I'm cursing the darkness.

Because, it's just NOT FAIR, goddammit! I've waited 8 weeks - EIGHT. WEEKS. - for this weekend, and no, those 8 weeks weren't exactly "hell," but they were 8 weeks of working and working and then working a little more, and Eric & I, we'd been planning this weekend since the beginning of January, and now here it is being cut short, and where's the fuckin' justice, huh? And darkness, don't be tellin' me that I really got to do all that I basically went there to do. Don't tell me "Oh, but you GOT to play cards, and you GOT to see your movie, and you GOT to hang out with no adult responsibilities whatsoever, so what's your damn problem?" Don't tell me that. I just wanted…I just wanted the rest of my time. Just another 8 hours, that's really all I wanted. It's like that billboard I used to pass on my way home from work, the one that told me "You Deserve More." That billboard used to make me cringe, in a sort of rotten and maggoty way, and now here I am, like Tony Montoya shouting "The world is mine!", claiming that I deserved MORE. As if that's how balance in the universe works, that by working hard and loving my family and fulfilling my responsibilities, that I'll actually get everything that I wanted, that the universe is keeping track of my balance sheet and saying to itself "Yep, ol' Animal there has sure done his share for 8 weeks, let's give him 28 hours off, shall we?"


I'm approaching the gas station close to home. Impulsively, bitterly, I pull into the deserted drive. I step out into the darkness and belligerently smoke one of the cigarettes I bought at Eric's. The red and blue neon "Open" sign flickers in the window, brimming with a bright gaeity that is revealed as false once one beholds the tawdry truth within: stale jerky, cheap whiskey, losing lottery tickets, jars of pickled bologna. I exhale smoke into the cold air, searching the sky for signs of morning. Fucking time change. How I HATE the goddamn time change. More than ever this year, since President Douchebag signed a bill that pushed it even earlier in the spring. The FUCK is there to do with an "extra hour" tacked on to the end of the day? Nuthin'. It's just one more hour that I have to wait until pulling the blinds closed on another cold, grey, lifeless day. Seriously, this fucking winter…this winter has been HARD. And LONG. I could give a shit what the calendar says, what the seconds ticking by claim…this winter has been long and brutal and I'm not sorry to see it go. If it goes…

Back in the car, it's nearly 7:30. Roz should just about be getting up, and if Tess is as sick as she says she'll be relieved to see me home so soon. I pull onto my exit, still in the dark, and I realize that the day just isn't going to get much brighter. As I come up to my house, I see the downstairs is still dark, dark like the day, but the light is on in Roslyn's room, a small beacon promising some measure of hope within…

Tess turned out to be as sick as she'd claimed, which certainly didn't make me happy. It DID make me glad that I'd sacrificed the few remaining hours I would have spent dawdling at Eric's though. Roz seemed to be mostly over her own sickness, combinations of unknown things that piled up and drove us twice to the emergency room in three weeks' time. I spent the rest of that day tired, but happy to be in their company, a happiness only granted to a man who finds happiness right where he seeks it: home, among his beloved girls.

It's Monday, and I'm rounding the final corner at the end of my first run of the season. The sun is shining down brightly - savagely, for the darkness that preceeded it - and I begin to walk the last 1/4-mile home. My breath is quick, but not gasping. My heart is pounding, but not desperately so. Back home, I begin a post-run stretching routine, and my joints are stiff. I'm alive with the endorphins coursing through my system, but at the back of my mind is an odd tingling, and when I get up, I'm moving more slowly than I should be. Getting into the shower, I realize that I'm cold, very cold, and while I luxuriate in a long shower, the hot water pouring down over my head, I chuckle wryly. The universe, ever a Comedian, has found its balance; now I will get sick, so that I can understand why it was necessary to come home early in the first place. I quickly towel off, dress in layers of cotton and flannel, and wrap up in a blanket on the couch. The first true waves of illness wash over me, and in my mind I scream vainly at the incoming tide…


Blogger Strangeite said...

I have Dr. Horrible songs running thorough my head today, but these lyrics seem appropriate.

A man’s gotta do
what a man’s gotta do
Don’t plan the plan
If you can’t follow through

All that matters
Taking matters into your own hands
Soon I’ll control everything
My wish is your command

Stand back Everyone,
Nothin here to see
Just imminent danger
In the middle of it, me

Yes Captain Hammer’s here
Hair Blowing in the Breeze
The day needs my saving expertise

A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do
It seems destiny ends with me saving you
The only doom that’s looming is you loving me to death
So I’ll give you a sec to catch your breath

12:48 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

Ugh, so sorry your vacation was cut short by illness. Is it just me, or has this been an across-the-board viral winter. Everyone I know who lives anywhere in the US has been sicker than dogs this season. I've been pretty lucky myself, thus far.

I hate this bastard fuck Daylight Savings thing too. I was so enjoying having that slight glint of sunshine to greet me in the morning--now I'm back to darkness. Although I have to admit that you guys have it way worse up there.

I hope your spring comes soon.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Strangeite said...

Your posting of a blog entry is now past due.

11:38 AM  

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