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I’m shrinking. Yes, I’m aging and so, inevitably ground down by the constancy of gravity’s punishing anvil. Heavy, relentless, like my 30 pound 5-month Husky puppy. A never-ending stream of energy that refuses to be relegated to neglect and invisibility.
I might be shorter, by an eighth of an inch or so. I’ve always regaled my 5”8″ and 3/4. I believe I was either shortchanged by an 1/8th my last checkup or I’ve shrunk. All that running, pounding the pavement with my spine upright, couldn’t have helped either. Helping gravity hammer the nail.
But that’s not the shrinkage I’m thinking of. My world is shrinking. Intentionally so. I’m closing up the shudders more. I open the blinds only when there’s something to see. I’ve arranged my world so I don’t have to partake of it but a little, just enough to get my fill of smiles, smells, complaints, grunts and questions. Since school let out mid-December, however, I don’t even get peopling twice a week.
And I’m fine with it. I’m only interested in the sun, grass, sea and trees, my daughters’ whining, my father’s banter, and my mother’s rheumy stare most days. And when I’m tired of them, I shut my door, lock it, pull the blinds, and put my headphones on.
At night, I pleasure in the reprieve from estrangement with a glass of wine and slice or two of cheese with my thus-far-in-life-long partner in house holding. I work at the corner of a corner desk. I write, research and read. It’s what I’ve always enjoyed anyhow.
More than before, I’m reading and writing about what I want. Not self-indulgent stuff I’m quick to slap up on my public pages (like this one), or clever tweets (at least I think so). Part-of-the-world stuff, like what business is up to and health culture and building things, tearing them down and rebuilding them in real estate and relationships. I work remotely–in my flip flops–for others all over the world.
I choose not to write or read about politics or injustice. Those are constants. Nothing new. By virtue of my birthright gender, I live by injustice. Whenever your body is public property, legislated and controlled by strangers, fearful white men–and the women they keep–there’s mad, mind-numbing, heartbreaking injustice. I’m slamming the door shut on them. I’ll wait for the right, gentle hands to fold me back in.
Perfect. I’ll do my ten-minute write here, a place I haven’t visited in a while. The last time I imbibed here–my usual IPA per the bartender’s suggestion–I wrote a piece that my editor thought worthy of publishing. Perhaps inspiration will visit again.
Swallowing quickly the two offered shot glass sampler selections, surprisingly I choose the Pale Ale. It’s smooth and hoppy, more like an IPA than the IPA the bartender had me try.
I have not been here–a place exactly five minutes walking distance from my house–because I drink beer here, always drink a happy hour beer here, and I have not wanted to anesthetize in beer-land for a couple months or so. But today feels like the day. There is nothing to hide from, just the spirit of the day I nod to in being here.
Tomorrow I will embark on a road trip up to the far up north, another soccer tournament. With three soccer 17-year olds and a commiserating partner in tow, I will head for Davis and watch the road blur by as I gaze out the window and ponder the big and small questions: What did Jack Kerouac do on the road when he wasn’t taking notes for his novel? How many almond trees are actually out there in endless rows? Will I have time to yoga? Will she play well? How did pioneers foot and horse all of this, leagues and leagues of open vistas, dirt, dust and brush?
My eyes welcome open spaces, too often closed in confined spaces of the classroom, bedroom, kitchen, grocery store and local restaurants for a bite. Change of scenery flips the creative thought channels. Floating. Not like a pc drags me through the cyber-sphere.
The ten minute timer went off, but so did my notification buzz for a text message. She got a haircut and lost ten pounds. She looks the same–memory mine.
Seated at the after thought extension of the bar, maybe the disabled low table, the woman next to me, leaving half her appetizer over, declares to the server, “Close out.” I ignored her while I wrote this but meant to pay her a few words of invitation to conversate. Too late, as ever. But I’m sure her life bends back way past this moment and my feeble speculations about her momentary needs, wants and reasons to be at this bar. Now I’ll just have to create her story without her.