As Karen Walker says, “they say that humans can read each other in a hundred subtle ways, in the briefest expressions of a face, but somehow I had communicated with amazing efficiency the exact opposite of what I most wanted.”
With amazing efficiency, I communicated a need for a recliner in a busy room with a board balanced across the arms to support my computer, instead of a private office downtown with an ergonomically designed chair and swanky barista. My bad.
Communication is not my superpower. There, I said it. Let’s not dwell on the obvious.
Lately, I’ve been focused as if a laser beam on preparing my manuscript for publication, and I don’t see an end in sight. I keep making changes, my editor can barely keep up, and then I delete the entire chapter she just spent an hour painstakingly removing gratuitous commas and misspelled words. I might need therapy?
Then we have Larry, who’s been throwing distractions at me as if I’m some sort of dartboard, the bullseye being this fifty-mile tandem ride coming up in three days. I haven’t been training, one thirty-minute ride hardly qualifies, and I’m exhausted because every night I wake up at 2:30 am and reorder the manuscript in my mind.
It’s my current obsession.
To make matters worse I’m worried about the Ukrainians, the cost of oil, being put in jail for watering the front lawn or washing my car. We have a severe water shortage in California and just when the mask mandates have been lifted, we’ve been hammered with water restrictions. I feel bad flushing the toilet, brushing my teeth, or making a second pot of coffee.
Am I the only sane person left on the planet?
I thought so.
Today is my writing day and let me share with you how it actually went down, all the horrific details, you might want to pop some wine. At least it’s not a waste of water.
As I said, I’m exhausted, so I went to bed at 7:30 pm last night, when Nancy texted me at 7:45 pm about meeting for coffee in the morning I was half asleep. Of course, I said yes. I jump at any opportunity to see my sister but I didn’t really grasp the nitty-gritty details. Sue me.
Waking early, hello, by 5:00 am I’ve been in bed for like ten hours. I grab my computer and start weeding through my manuscript. There’s so much to do and it seems inhumanly impossible. I’m trying to put 60,000 words in some sort of meaningful order, stories that will resonate with others, fulfill a need, make us feel less alone.
Breathe. Refill your coffee. Floss. One thing at a time.
I combed through the final essay for the hundredth time. This is new material, it’s missing something, but I can’t find it.
At 8:37 am I scramble out of bed and into the shower, I’m supposed to be at my sister’s by 8:45 am, but that’s when I leave my house. Story of my life. When I arrive at my sister’s, I walk right in the open front door carrying my coffee and phone, but no one’s home? This is when I realize she must have inferred that we would be meeting at my house but I somehow misunderstood. Damn it.
The minute I buckle my seat belt Larry is calling, he says, “your sister just arrived at our house with coffees. Where are you?”
“I’m at her house.”
“Whose the communication guru?”
Yeah, I hung up.
Okay, to be fair when we reviewed the text messages after I returned home, she never stated where we were meeting, just the time. Whatever. We’re together now.
Time with Nancy is like giving yourself a facial. She a soft scrub. I feel better, smoother, and regardless of whether the effect is temporary, I feel as if I’ve done something uplifting for myself. I’m sure she feels much the same, although I can be a little harsh on the epidermis, and I might leave a rash. There’s a cream for that.
She’s leaving for Disneyland this afternoon, Mackenzie, my niece, can barely contain her excitement. Mackenzie is checking on the flights while Nancy and I exchange gossip and coordinate our calendars. But as so often in close relationships, the subject being discussed is not the subject at all. While words and dates pass between us, mingling over our heads are our hearts, and the communication is much more sublime.
She scheduled one hour for our coffee and she stuck like glue to the plan.
Before her car is down the street Larry hands me a list that he and Dante have collaborated on. It’s a list of foods missing from the refrigerator. How did this become my problem? At least Dante offered to go with me. I’m trying to publish a book, people. Whatever. I also take every opportunity to spend time with my son Dante, one of the most rational human beings on the planet, he’s kind and strong. Besides, someone has to carry the beer.
As soon as the groceries are loaded into the refrigerator I run back to my room and open my computer. I spend an hour weeding through the manuscript before Larry is warning me about a meeting with our financial advisor in twenty minutes. We’re trying to establish how the hell we’re going to maintain Amazon Prime in retirement and still eat. Ends up that’s the least of our worries.
Our financial planner, James, looks exactly like Steve Carell, only younger, and slightly cuter. The first thing you notice is his high energy, it’s alarming, his personality is an intriguing combination of philosopher, therapist, mathematician, philanthropist, and financial guru. His meetings are entertaining, to say the least, as if watching an episode of The Office, a mockumentary if you will, that ends with a sizable severance package. I like him. He’s absolutely positive we can afford an outdoor fireplace, fly first class, set up college funds for the grandkids, and help the homeless. What’s not to like.
On our way home, Larry pulls into the Costco parking lot because now he thinks he has money to burn, and we need to add to our already laden refrigerator. Really? And for once we don’t need toilet paper, he grabs ribs, shrimp, and socks while I frantically check my watch.
I let him unload the loot. I have a deadline, so instead of training for Solvang, I fire up my computer, and settle my butt in the chair. It’s quiet for like ten minutes.
I wrote two paragraphs before Larry strolls into the room, turns on the television, and places a glass of wine next to me.
He said, “Biden going to give the State of the Union in a few minutes.” He seems to think we were on the same page. We’re not even reading the same book!
I HAVE A BLOG DUE TOMORROW!
I say as calmly as possible, “Honey, do you have to watch it in here?”
He says emphatically, “Yes.”
“I like to stay uninformed.”
“I’m putting that in my blog.”
I get the look.
So this is why you’re getting a post that is subpar, unpolished, and without the bow, but here’s the summary of the State of the Union. Covid is winding down, Russia is winding up, and Biden suggests this is an opportunity to reset? I heard nothing I didn’t already know.
I say, “please tell me we’re not listening to the analyst dissect every damn word?”
“This is the best part.”
This is my living hell.
Finally, he decides he’s hungry. Thanks be to God. Dante and Larry leave my writing space and move to the kitchen to panfry some steaks, boil gnocchi, and steam some greens. I admit it was a scrumptious meal.
My asthma has been rearing its ugly little head as of late and it feels as if I’m always exhausted. This is becoming a thing with me, so instead of burying my head in the sand, I capitulate to Larry’s suggestion (harassment), and make an appointment with the doctor. She’s slipping me in Mid-March. Let’s hope I survive Solvang.
Here’s the plan for tomorrow, after a productive morning writing session, I going to train for thirty minutes in the cold garage, then wash my hair if we haven’t blown through our water allowance, before returning to my chair, my board, and unpolished manuscript. I’m trying to emulate my sister and stick to the damn plan even if I show up at the wrong place.
Communication might be my superpower after all, with a miss in front of it.
I’m Living in the Gap, sticking to the plan, please forgive me for missing so many of your posts, for not responding to your work, or joining you immediately in the comments. I’m on a mission but I miss you.