#77 Gathering It All Up!

She was running late that morning, and nothing was where it was supposed to be. Her bag was a disaster, her laptop case in complete disarray, and the laptop had a dead battery since she forgot to charge it. She wasn’t getting any work done on the train this morning, but maybe she could gather up some reading to catch up on. That meant digging through the inbox, finding documents, and synchronizing them to her iPad.

The clock flashed 7:23, and if she wanted to catch the 7:50 train, she knew she needed to get on the road for her 10 minute drive to the train station. She couldn’t afford a random 10-15 minute backup that weren’t unheard of at this hour.

“Hon”, croaked her husband, who lie sick in bed.

“What?”, she asked, trying not to sound annoyed.

“Can you get me a glass of water before you go?”, came the weak response. She looked at his bedside and found his normally fill canteen was empty.

“Yea… I’ll try”, she said as she pushed things around in her bags.

About 7:26 she made it to the front door, and realized she hadn’t gotten the water. She weighed her options. Get water, potentially miss train, or leave her 43 year old husband, who despite being sick was more than capable of getting water eventually, to his own devices. In the end the guilt got the best of her, and she got him the drink.

“Thanks”, he said, as he drank a sip and reached out for a goodbye hug. She didn’t have time for it, but she felt sorry for him. He’d been so attentive to her in the past, so she waited the extra minute for him to hug her and say goodbye. Then she was out the door like a rocket.

And she was more than a bit upset when she got to the train station at 7:49, parked, and missed the train by less than a minute. She’d have to take the 8:10. She found a bench at the train station, wrote some quick emails rescheduling her first appointment, and tried to start working. At least there was a power outlet her she could siphon some power off for her computer.

At 8:09 she made her way to the platform and stepped on to the train. Her phone vibrated with an alert and she ignored it. She was always getting alerts from various services she subscribed to, some about traffic, some about the weather, some about things she only cared about once in a short while. This one would just have to be ignored.

Time © by Moyan_Brenn

Until she looked out the window and saw the strangest sight. The train slowed down and passed another train sitting on the tracks. At the slow speed she could see that it was the train she normally took. In fact, she saw a friend of hers sitting in their usual seat. She quickly pulled out her phone and saw the alert was from a service for rail passengers. It talked about a delay in her general vicinity. She looked up her friend’s number and dialed. The other line picked up quickly, as if her friend was already staring at her phone.

“Rita, what’s going on?”, she asked.

“Our train broke down!”, Rita exclaimed, “And now we’re waiting for a tow back to the hub, where we can transfer. Probably won’t get into the city until 9:30 or 10 at this rate”. They chatted for a few moments before hanging up. She didn’t have the heart to tell Rita she had just passed her – so she said she had gone in earlier, which technically would be correct adjusting for their new arrival times.

As they finished their call, she got another message, this time from her husband. It simply read “Sorry to make you late with my requests – hope all is well”. It was all well, after an ironic twist of fate. She realized that sometimes small differences create other small differences, a glass of water, an ironic reduction in delay. But the perspective to see the important small differences from the trivial – that was what made the big difference after all!


#44 The Inbetween Land

“Where am I?”, the man called out. The foggy grey space he appeared in did not answer. The cool feel of mist, alternating to light rain, swirled around him. He couldn’t figure out how he got here.

The last thing he remembered, he was sitting at his desk at work. After checking his list of items to attend to, his email, and his various websites for around the thousandth time, he sat there, staring at the walls around him. He was in between projects at the moment, or more aptly put, he didn’t have anything pressing and had little ambition to take on anything until it shoveled back to him. His work necessitated these ebbs and flows of action items, as coordinating with a dozen or more teams invariably left him with days where he was overloaded, and days where he was underloaded. Today was one of the latter.

But then it all changed, and he found himself in this space. A grey space, with no discernible start or stop. There was some light, but no visible light source. There was a breeze, accompanying the moisture, but no discernible hotness or coldness to it. With nothing concrete in terms of sensory input, he found it odd that below him, on the surface of the floor, street, rock, or whatever he was standing on, was a perfectly shaped circle, about 10 feet in diameter. He stood in the middle of it, its red outline visible despite the muted scenery.

red circle © by lucamascaro

He carefully walked closer to the edge of it, and reached down. Beyond the red line was solid, at least, so he abandoned his fear of falling if he walked beyond the ring. With great trepidation he stepped over the line. Suddenly the world around him changed. The rain became heavier, and colder. The wind picked up with an icy chill. It grew darker as well, the clouds seemingly bunched up as if crowding into an ethereal elevator. The man quickly took a step back. The climate began to return to its previous state.

Puzzled, he walked to the opposite side of the circle, and stepped out. Now the wind left completely, and the clouds began to part to show a gleaming white sun. The space became lighter, and hotter. This wasn’t exactly what the man wanted either, so he stepped back into the circle. The world returned to its middle ground.

And so the man found himself in the Inbetween state. He longed for it to change, but was unwilling to experience the extremities offered outside the red circle. However if he stayed in the circle, he would never experience anything more than the state he was in. The choice was his – venture beyond the safe confines, and learn how to cope with the hustle and bustle of the definite shift in realities, or stay put, safe but unfulfilled.

It was about this moment that he realized that he had a third option. He had merely stepped over the line, and backed into the circle as soon as things shifted. He turned to his right and stepped out of the line, and strode confidently away from the circle. The weather again shifted, however the extremes soon subsided. In moving into the chaos, he had embraced it. And by embracing it, he had conquered it.


#2 Freezing

“Watch tonight, I’ll be freezing”, said the lady as she walked into the cafe. She was just starting her shift, doomed to repeat an eight to ten hour cycle that she had done countless times before. She would prepare the same things, for the same people, for nearly the same price, and receive the same lack of respect for her position behind the counter, taking orders from the big shots and unimpressed, as they stared at her over their iPhones and Macbooks.

“It’s warm now, but it’ll cool off”, the lady continued as she observed her co-worker, Rob, rap to himself as he pushed the broom across the floor. She was speaking to no one in particular, for no reason. She found herself doing that more and more as of late, as she slipped into the midlife minutia she seemed destined to stay in for her entire existence. She’d be working this job today, tomorrow, and forever until either she won the lottery (there was always hope), the store closed (there was always fear), or the man of her dreams swept her off her feet and out of this life (there was always the impossible). For now she consoled herself as she went about her work – 8 more hours, 7.5 more hours, 6 more hours, 5 more hours.

“I told you it was going to turn colder” she said to Rob, as the snow began to fall outside the windows of the cafe. She’d be walking home in it, the five blocks to her apartment in the Bronx, on this cold February night. She’d lived there for 10 years, in the same small apartment as her sister had lived in, until her sister passed. She had only a few friends who might come visit, and none of them were the type to volunteer to walk home with her tonight in the impending chill. 3 more hours… 2 more hours.

“Did it stop? No, it’s still going” she said in a sad, resigned voice. Her entire life could be summed up on the walk tonight, she thought as she ate her free meal. Aside from the meals she got while working at the cafe, she rarely ate. This was by choice. Eating without anyone to share it was somewhat boring and only reminded her that she lived much of her existence alone. But in an hour she’d be walking, and in a little over an hour she’d be home. She would make it through tonight, just as she had every other night.

“The handle is cold!” she exclaimed as she locked the door to the cafe. Most employees weren’t trusted with the keys, but when you’re stuck in a job for 15 years, and will likely be there 30 more, they start to believe in your honesty, to an extent. Rob wandered off to the subway as she began walking toward home. True to her thoughts earlier in the day, she felt the cold on her skin, her breath emanating in front of her. It was about 3 blocks from the cafe that she saw the eyes watching her. She heard the rustle from the alley, and turned just in time to see him approach.

“No….” she managed to squeak as he inched toward her, tall and imposing, cloaked in tattered clothes and coats. She turned to run, but slipped on the icy sidewalk. She was laying there, helpless as he approached. She couldn’t say a word, the chill of the weather and her fear kept her silent. As he stood over her, he brought up his gnarled, dirty hand.

“It’s cold”, he said, as he opened his palm to help her up. He righted her, and looked into her eyes. “Hungry” he said, as he backed away and held out his hand.

In that moment she thought about her life, her sorrows, and her worries. Her day of problems, her moments of fear, her self-loathing, all washed away as she considered the man in front of her. As she stood there, wondering what her next move should be, she found herself overcome. As he watched, tonight, she was freezing.


No Rain


Nice day in NYC today, taking a scenic route home. Rain forecasted from Saturday on…ugh

Lawn Wars #6

3 bags, 1 hr 20 min
Well, Lawn Wars 5, not waged by me, was fought last Sunday, and today is Thursday.  Normally I would have let it go a bit longer, but the weather forecast calls for rain from now until forever, so I figured I better cut today lest I have 9000 bags of grass next time I cut.
And it’s sunny again now, after raining heavily for 5 minutes, 2 minutes after I came in from cutting the grass… Crazy Ohio Weather!

Lawn Wars #3

(This was actually written on Sunday, but backdated accordingly)
Waged Lawn Wars 3 this morning against the grass which took 6 bags but that’s mostly because it started clumping since it was still damp.  The weather for sunday said rain, and if that comes true, waiting till sunday would have been a very bad idea since the next time I have to actually cut would be Wednesday morning!  Anyway, T & H came up and we had a pretty good day just hanging out and enjoying the wonderful weather!

Day 3 Of Nothingness

Ah, the posts they get later as the Jon gets up later. Today I arose around noon, an excellent time to get up, after falling asleep around 1. 11 hours of sleep is the best!
Now, what to do today. Well, the weather is still a bit cool, but I may have some time today to go out and do stuff as The Rat has a meeting at his office at 2. I kinda thought I’d watch NYPD Blue at 2, but this can wait if I get the urge to go out and do something.
Oh, and Rhapsody is awesome, especially when coupled with Replay Music…