Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday notes

9:00 a.m. Shower, dress, emerge into the living room to find outdoor furniture sitting inside the living room. A man is on my balcony, right by the open door, industriously rolling stain on the wood.

“Hello there,” I say, as if he was out there every morning. He smiles and hellos back, goes on with his rolling. Hello there, I say in my head, Isn’t it lucky I didn’t wander out here naked? Because you know, I do that sometimes in my own home. Make a quick dash out here without getting dressed. Because, gosh, I don’t expect there to be a man on my third story balcony. Now wouldn’t that just have been too funny? If I’d decided to do that this morning with you out there working away? Wouldn’t be both have been surprised?”

”I was wondering when someone was going to do that,” I tell him out loud, “They sent a note around saying we’d be advised the day before so we could clear our balconies.” He pushes the roller back and forth.

“Uh-huh” he grunts.


At work, I’ve hired five new students in four days and constructed a training schedule that is a veritable house of cards…one piece moves by a hair and the whole thing collapses. Meanwhile the library system and its backup have been murdered by a power outage and are still dead after a week. My pre-term stress levels are threatening to overflow the sanity wall.

But today, nothing is going to diminish the joyful prospect of a four day weekend for me. Certainly not an unexpected male person appearing on my balcony. I sit down to put my makeup on. It’s that kind of day. I feel like looking nice for myself. The plan, after lipstick and eyeliner, is to attend to a large basket of laundry I’ve been collecting during a spell of weather so hot that being in the vicinity of a dryer might have been life-endangering.

10:00 a.m. - The plan changes when the phone rings. It’s Man I Don’t Write About Anymore.

“I was going to drop over,” he says.
“Um,” I say, eyeing the walloping basket of laundry, “you figured out I wasn’t at work, huh?” Duh.
“You told me you weren’t working today.”
“I did?”
“Yeah. Is it ok? I mean, are you busy?” I walk the phone into another room.
I was about to do laundry but that’ll wait, only there’s a guy on my balcony.”
He decides to wait for an hour and give my new roommate time to finish.

I do a quick pickup around the house and try to change gears. Not laundry. Not reading. Human interaction. Another unexpected man in my morning. Rather like dandelions popping up on your freshly mowed lawn. Fine. I can adapt to anything as long as it isn’t at work. Man I Don’t Write About Anymore is not exactly work and he’s an appealing species of dandelion and so my morning and early afternoon arrange themselves. Another house of cards plan goes down.

2:00 p.m.The kitchen. Spread out on the bread board: organic peanut butter, blackberry jam, banana, whole wheat bread. The oddest thing happens. At the precise moment that I drop the bread into the toaster slots, I become absolutely present. I am thinking, with delight not called for by such a simple, mundane act, This is my old toaster. This is my bread. This is my afternoon, my life, my peanut butter sandwich. The dandelions have departed. There is a cool breeze blowing through the balcony door. A pearly white overcast sky outside. The laundry is slooshing around in washing machines downstairs. I fit perfectly in my own skin.

It’s always like this. The moment that is illuminated, charged with magic, everything deepening and assuming connection, taking on additional colors. It’s always a perfectly ordinary moment, always when another house of cards has blown down and I’ve stopped trying to pick up the pieces.

And off-topic. For those of you who enjoyed the conversation about relationship and monogamy, I refer you to a wonderful response piece at Yottabite, Contracts and Negotiations.


herhimnbryn said...

Spooky! Have just read this after posting on my blog about 'being'! I do so know just what you are saying, apart from the man on the balcony, my you took all that with such aplomb and panache lj. I think I would have been reaching for the rolling pin!

beadbabe49 said...

I was thinking that very same thing hh! And I would have been on the phone to management in about 2 seconds flat! But, I understand, from my friends, that I'm abnormally territorial and fiercely defend my boundaries! (maybe I need to mellow out a bit, eh...;)

LJ said...

Hi H & BB...
I might have reacted a little more strongly if I actually had walked out undressed. The fellow doing the work is a nice older man who often does odd jobs around the place - and my Super is a saint with us. I often wonder how she can stand the number of demands and phone calls, so I'm loathe to add to that load.
Now if you want to see overreaction...wait until the fall term begins. I turn into Ms. Hyde at that point and react to "hello" as a threat.

phlegmfatale said...

Yes, it IS yours. I'm pleased to see you are enjoying your self. Your toaster. Your peanut butter. Good on you!

LJ said...

PF...My friend's son (a kind of counter-Buddhist)once remarked: Anybody who thinks stuff doesn't make you happy hasn't had good stuff.
I hadn't however, expected to feel joy using my aging toaster!

Zhoen said...

I have a toaster, circa 1962, left to me by a beloved aunt. It doesn't really work, but it's shiny.

Oh, man, a day to live to my own rhythms, I need one of those too.

Zhoen @ work.

Teri said...

I love this post and the one above. And I love your Moment of Illumination. And I love that bracelet!!!!!! Gorgeous!

Sorry you can't sleep. xo

Katie said...

"It’s always like this. The moment that is illuminated, charged with magic, everything deepening and assuming connection, taking on additional colors. It’s always a perfectly ordinary moment, always when another house of cards has blown down and I’ve stopped trying to pick up the pieces."

LJ, I almost don't even have the words. That is beautiful and yet that does not even seem to do your Words justice. How do you do it? How do you capture a feeling like that? So simply, so eloquently.

I really loved this post. Very open, very real. With some humor mixed in for a perfect story :)

Hope you are doing well. I missed your writing while I was away. I have a lot of catching up to do here!