I got up at the usual time, before the alarm which I didn’t set, because routine, because … Saturday.
Kicked on the light, read in bed for a bit. Around seven stumbled out to the living room, mumbled a good morning to Karry.
She: Goin’ to Joe’s?
Night before, eyes end-of-long-week-heavy, I queried the Universe in general, Karry in particular — Saturday morning donuts?
Both said yes.
Karry’s living room reminder did the work of my future coffee, shaking me awake like my recurring dream where I’m wandering the halls of an unfamiliar school late for a final I didn’t study for. I threw shoes on my bare feet, ball cap atop my disheveled mop, grabbed my keys, and hit the pedal and (bonus) all the green lights in a beeline up North Main Street that was also still very much waking up on Saturday morning.
Seven o’clock is a brazen act of tempting fate if one holds out any hope of Joe’s Donuts, especially on a Saturday.
I braced myself for empty trays and zero sympathy.
“Get yer ass here early!” — is all you will get from Joe, and all you deserve. If you ask me, it’s also what should be scrawled (in maple icing) on the sign on the side of the building beneath “Best Donuts in Town.”
Pulled into a spot across the street as a couple walked in ahead of me. I took comfort in not being the morning’s only straggler as I ducked inside.
Things that got me through the week, in no particular order, and mostly in spite of myself ….
Dialing up an episode of 99% Invisible, which turned out to be Roman Mars’ recent appearance on another podcast — Dear Hank and John, whose John is John Green, who I can say without an ounce of irony nor hyperbole I super love, whose Anthropocene Reviewed podcast was among the many, many, little, golden things that got me through the Pandemic, literally and persistently whispering into my ears on my walks and slow jogs that there is still yet much in this world to fall in love with.
Discovering that John and his brother, Hank, have done like 370 episodes of Dear Hank and John, whose premise is answering reader’s questions with dubious advice, which, for me, is the equivalent of that recurring dream I have where I’m in a house I’ve been living in for some time, and I go downstairs, where I discover (or am reminded, I’m not sure which) that there are many additional, large, unused rooms in it, and I’m like, whoa, more rooms … awesome.
Roman Mars’ laugh, when he is coaxed into a giggle, which, I swear, is one of the best sounds in the world.
Noticing that hot coffee in the morning sometimes makes me sweat. Anyone else? Should I be concerned?
Making time in the mornings, before diving into the day’s work pile, to step outside into the driveway and listen to the birds. Noticing one I’d never heard before, whose song is three notes, the second and third lower than the one before. Grateful that she decided to sit in with the band and take a few choruses.
The sound of the wood pecker off to the left in the woods behind our house, going to town on what sounds like a perfect piece of dead tree (which, I swear, is one of the best sounds in the world), probably the woodpecker equivalent of discovering the all-you-can-eat-peel-and-eat shrimp station on the buffet.
Thinking of a friend whom I hadn’t corresponded with in a couple weeks, and taking a couple early Tuesday morning minutes to send a message in a bottle email, sharing something I thought he’d appreciate while confessing the week had the upper hand on me, and his reply, in essence, conveying, “I’m here for you.” The many lessons of the simple that.
How, for some reason, the meaty sound of Mr. Woodpecker reminding me of exactly how it felt to barrel a Wilson Comet rubber-coated baseball (worth the $2 at Dice’s Sporting Goods) with my 28” wooden Adirondack bat that one time we played the long field (home plate near the swing sets) on the asphalt on Areford Playground during my 9-year-old summer, which went for a ground-rule double, the closest I ever got to a home run that summer. To this day, nothing like finding the sweet spot.
Receiving a letter in the mail Tuesday from my friend, Jim. Deciding on the spot to wait until Saturday to open it to give me something to look forward to, which I plan to do right after this.
Getting to the track Tuesday night right when a high school meet was letting out, and about 20 minutes before the Tuesday night youth program convenes, allowing me some quiet moments of lugging myself around the loop. Emma making the two of us breaded pork chops for dinner that night, upon which we drained our bottle of Red Hot dry. Both events could not have been more perfectly timed.
Having new variations of my ongoing, recurring series of “unprepared” dreams, one of which involved what I think was a violent lobster that had gotten loose, and me grabbing ahold of it while it ‘bit’ (they don’t bite with their claws, I know, but ‘pinched’ doesn’t sound violent enough) me so hard and often my hands were pouring out blood, and (the next night) me wandering into a dream version of one of the newspapers I used to work for, and having one of the editors remind me of that evening’s shift (which I was not expecting or prepared for), and being unable to find the ‘second’ newsroom where my desk was, and also freaking out because I no longer remembered how to format stories or do layout. Grateful, I suppose, for the unambiguity of my dream life.
Trudging downstairs after getting outta bed every morning and finding Viktor (one of the cats who live in our house), sitting in the dark, ‘meditating’ (as I refer to it), patiently waiting until I sat down at my desk, so he could hop up for our morning conversations while shedding seemingly inexhaustible plumes of fur all over me and my desk, which I receive as my morning armor.
Giving Karry her hardest laugh of the week, when my son, who is on a mission to trade in his car for something, um, up-leveled, texts me his discovery that “the bank won’t finance cars more than 10 years old” … and me, waiting a beat before replying, “oh … we have something in common, then.” Being reminded that Karry’s laugh is the best sound in the world.
Sipping a single adult beverage with my wife and our oldest on an ‘almost there, not sure we’re gonna make it’ Thursday night while trying out a new-for-us pizza place. Spoiler alert: we made it.
Upon discovering “Dear Hank and John,” discovering that John Green is also a prolific You Tuber, and stumbling upon this, which pretty much sums up all of the above, and is worth four, glorious, minutes of your precious time. There is still so very much in the world worth falling in love with.