6 A.M. / 06:00
Mother Nature’s silent yet bright shade shattering alarm peaked through the wooden blinds into the bedroom. Subdued rays smacked me in the face, causing my turning over. It was only the beginning to the waking up process, the preparation of anticipating the getting ready for the day process that simply waited. The bleating alarm, stretching, electricity humming through its components, warming up the wiry vocal chords, sat high and mighty upon the dresser. The digital rooster crowing would be the slap on the baby’s ass for my getting in gear, springing out of bed if the sun’s rays had not pushed me off the bed already.
Despite being miserable about the fact of having to wake up–everyone loves their sleep and we feel as if we never get enough of it–it’s reassuring that when you actually do get up and so something, in this case it would be going for a run, you feel productive and a bit successful. I needed something different, so I pushed myself to do it. It was a confidence booster, and I am anticipating doing it again.
To kill the redundancy of the usual run, I opted for the reservoir in the Strathmore section. Hearing the delight of the view, I couldn’t resist. The overcast morning could not have been more fitting. It emphasised my skepticism to try something “new,” the groggy feeling of getting up early for physical activity, but the haziness glazed the beauty of home. The second time I ran the reservoir, the afternoon was splendid and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky; you could see for miles over the city. It really was a beautiful sight. That morning, however, the fog was equally as beautiful Not once did I wish the sky was clearer; I made a promise to run it again. I will have to sit at the top at night, though, to complete the trio.
Sure, it is a .8 mile circle, 1.1 if you choose to run the hill–if you so choose–and save the fact you are running in a circle. Not too many people enjoy that running in circles, including me, but that course isn’t all that bad. I can keep track of my mileage easily, for one. Secondly, people walk their dogs and hang out with their kids. It’s nice to stop and introduce yourself to a dog for a quick pet/breather. One of the families I ran into had a little boy, and he is approximately three years old. Three isn’t just a safe age, but he knew darn well how to give me hell. He never moved from my running path, which his parents kept asking him to do. He, also, made faces at me; my chuckling only encouraged him. The little guy gave me a look, extending his hands to his side with his palms out and facing me; this was as if to ask for acknowledgement, his looking for a high-five or something.
In all honestly, the kid looked a lot like Gage Creed (ref. Pet Semetary, 1989). “First I play with Judd, then mommy came, and I play with mommy. We play daddy, we had a awful good time! Now, I want to play with you…” Nothing creepier than a zombie child with a scalpel.
Poor Mr. Munster.
12 P.M. / 12:00
There is nothing better than enjoying the afternoon with a walkabout. Hat atop head, slightly tilted. Top button, unbuttoned. Tie hanging, slightly loosened. Elated spirit. Slight bounce in steps.
The slight breeze was too slight, depending on one’s position. The closer one walked next to a building, the better the breeze. The more buildings in the vicinity, the greater the breeze. How do I know this? It blew off my fedora, causing it to roll down the sidewalk. For about five minutes, I wore a sign on my back: That Guy. For those who saw the show, I was. No romanticism about it; there was no hat stopping at the foot of some stranger in a sundress, sipping an iced chai whilst reading a great novel on a park bench, taking a break from walking her dog. No. However, the rolling hat almost reached two guys, the guy to my left, who was actually on the right, told me he would have stopped it for me. I let him know that I had a handle on it, and he told me to be careful to not lose it again. It was weird, but I shrugged off the awkwardness, cradling my tail between my legs as I walked off.
So, it continued, my mid-day walkabout. Venturing this way and that way down the streets through and around the Hanover, Armory, Clinton, and Columbus vicinities. The warmth and humidity placed a hand on my forehead, slowing my progress down and causing me to work up a sweat. I had a good pace going, so I convinced myself that I was not that out of shape. Unlike the run around the reservoir, my not going in circles, the walk I mastered started to become redundant. It has not reached the point of boredom, but it’s seeing the same buildings and unfamiliar familiar faces that really isn’t cutting it like it used to. I really enjoy walking around on lunch, which is a very constructive and healthy activity, but I need to find a new path. It’s either that, or not walk at all. The latter may be an option; slowing down and sitting while enjoying an alcove of the city could be what is needed.
At least the nice weather brings everyone out of hiding. The temperature has not reached it’s peak at this time, so the sun is tolerable. Yet, after speaking with my buddy–we will call him Mo–in the State Tower Building, the guy who damn near breaks my hand when he shakes it and then slaps me on the back to jolt me more than coffee, he overheard individuals talking about it being too hot. I look at him and say, you’re friggin’ kidding. He laughs. I tell him, people complain about it being too cold and then it being too hot. I asked him why he chose to immigrate and settle here, the beautiful state of New York and land of confusing individuals.
I love that guy.
Mo then asked me about the 2012 scare. He literally starts on a new topic every time I see him. When I first met him–I digress–he busted my balls about asking where the New Times was. Mo pointed me in the right direction, telling me I owed him $20 dollars; he stopped himself in thought, and he told me I could pay him next week. The following week, I told him I didn’t have his money; I said I’d give him $30 the week after. Mo commented to make it $40 and the week after would be free.
Last week, his son came in to help him out. The assistance came with hand-held video games and headphones. I ran into Mo after I barely saw the kid’s head bobbing over the counter of his father’s news stand. For a second, I thought you had found the Fountain of Youth, I told Mo. He laughed, shook my hand and nearly broke it again.
So, Mo asked me about the threat of Armageddon. I told him I would be greeting the date with a bottle of Jameson and a couple of my closest friends. I rhetorically asked about the Millennium scare. I mentioned the Mayan calendar not having leap years, so the Downfall would have already occurred. Mo agreed with me, or humored me.
We always leave our meetings, telling each other to take it easy and enjoy the day. If we see each other on a Friday, we tell each other to enjoy the weekend. I’m sure if one of us moved, we’d make it a point to run into each other, wishing each other to enjoy life before the departure. I have never seen him without a smile on his face, or without an upbeat personality. We need more people like Mo.
6 P.M. / 18:00
It’s that time of the day to kick your feet up. It’s that time of the day to enjoy a Guinness at Kitty Hoynes. It’s that time of day to enjoy a hot panini for dinner (with wine) at Bittersweet, or a Tumbleweed Burger (with brew) at Empire. It’s that time of day to enjoy a scotch at Al’s. It’s that time of day to enjoy a couple bottles and a game of pool with coworkers at Bull & Bear. It’s that time of day to get out and celebrate another day of progress with friends and/or enemies, people like you and people you don’t know, individuals you see eye-to-eye with and/or those from the other side of the tracks.
It’s time to accept everyone for who they are, because you’re all sharing the same agenda. It’s a time to break bread, pop bottles, take care of the kids (if you have them) and then sleep–maybe. Your agenda starts in six hours, beginning with a countdown.
Unfortunately, those few hours of solitude fly by faster than the eight hours of work, leaving you wishing that you were more constructive. When do you not?
As dusk settles in, you’re sitting by a bonfire, basking in the glow of warmth. Of course, a fire produces heat, but it never feels too hot to have a fire. It is the fire that burns like the gas in neon lights, cascading a faux Christmastime aura across the barroom floor as you sit and chat with your friends, watching the game or if you are outside and under the stars, listening to some Tom Waits tracks, playing off of The Heart of Saturday Night, exiting the bar and spilling into the night. The cars done by as street lamps burn and hum, paralleling the soft glow of the moon and buzzing mosquitoes hovering around your head while you and a date sit next upon a bench at Skaneateles Lake. The slowly churning water echoing through the night, reverberating off the stars, is as loud as taking a candlelit bath, trying to get over this or that and having a good cry sprouted from anxiety of thinking the bad string of events in your life is bullshit, and everything is going down the crapper.
It’s all but a phase. It’ll pass. At least it’s not a cold shower.
Full bellies and satisfied thoughts, coated by ashen sips of red wine, are more fulfilling than intense schedules of being here and going there. Relaxation takes your mind off everything, realizing this simplicity amounts to so much more than worry.
12 A.M. / 00:00
I try to be in bed a half hour earlier.
I play with words and invisible objects.
A mind, a pen and a piece paper have the best relationship ever.
"Remember this--if you shut your mouth, you have your choice."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald