I went Somewhere Else to see my niece while she was in town. I wandered the hotel lobby like the ghost in Macbeth. I do not sleep well away from my husband. I checked and responded to email at 1:30A. As exhausting as it is, I love Somewhere Else.
I was in a shop trying to find a pair of comfortable shoes. I like to have something with a neutral to negative heel, for walking in the fall. I was alone, unattended, enjoying the mission. The phone rang.
I answered, clarified a few inconsequential matters, and inquired of other undertakings. At the near conclusion of the call I was given to know the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE had called and left a message. A message from the IRS is what we lead a conversation with, not the way we end the evening broadcast. The sun shone and there was a slight breeze, people ate and pets were fed, by the way the Internal Revenue Service called. That’s it for tonight folks, tune in tomorrow… .
I am fastidious in financial matters. I have receipts for receipts. I run monthly balance sheets, quarterly balance sheets, year end spreadsheets that make my fragile heart go pitter-pat in their virtuous accuracy. I prove totals in every conceivable way. I can defend whatever it is we have done. I abandoned the shoe search and called the IRS. I heard a recording, from a department I had sent correspondence to almost 3 years ago, about an issue that is now irrelevant.
The following morning, I was out on the loose before seven, when my favorite bakery opens. I wanted coffee. The downtown Starbucks was open. I could have gone to any number of breakfast joints but I didn’t want to smell like grease for the remainder of the day. I could have gone to Dunkin Donuts too but there’s a Dunkin Donuts here; I don’t go to it very often, so why would I seek one out Somewhere Else?
I look forward to coffee in the morning. It’s one of the few pleasures left to me. As I opened the door to the Starbucks’ living room, I noticed background laughter. I ordered my coffee, took it to the condiment counter, spoke for a moment to the gentleman next to me, while I added cream to my coffee. I was sussing out the available seating when I heard an uproar of riotous laughter. Hmmm, I could sit in the corner like a wallflower or I could sit next to those happy, noisy, people.
I sat next to the raucous, fun, people. All three of them had grey hair and spectacles. They did not hold back. I overheard them talking about the bracing turn the temperature had taken. I commented. I became a cacophony contributor. They asked me if I was a writer. I was wearing wide wale corduroy pants. They insisted I was funny and suggested I do stand-up.
People often think I am funny. I do not intend to be funny. I am direct, which is often mistaken for humor. It could be that my life is sadly pathetic and people laugh because they think it must be a joke. I’m not sure.
Anyhow, before I was done with my coffee I’d told them about the underlying love in my husband’s delivery of the disconcerting IRS message, explained to them that I work all the damn time for no good reason that I can discern, that blended families are an urban myth, that testosterone should be regulated, and lamented the days gone by when I burned the candle at both ends came home in the wee hours took a shower went to work and did it all over again. By then it was seven. I left to go to the bakery.
I took coffee and pastries back to the hotel for the Red Haired Philosopher. She was in town for two weddings. I loved seeing her for the the short time that I did. She was very busy with her friends and their weddings, busy burning the candle at both ends. I didn’t mind the least little bit. I’ve been where I am for a long while, so long that there is nothing new about it, or me. Like summer flowers, I have gone by. I don’t mind. I’m glad to be home so I can sleep.