In my left hand, an iPhone* and a book I won’t read clutched in my palm, a napkin between by ring and pinkie finger and in my right hand I’m carrying an almost overflowing coffee cup up three stories of very narrow uneven winding staircases from the 1920’s with doors at the beginning of each floor. The doors are also from the 1920’s so they don’t open easily. I let my napkin hand finagle the door handle while the coffee dances and I have to be silent to not wake my sleeping love because who knows what time she actually fell asleep last night, also I need these quiet hours to be who I want to be.
And in one daily morning motion I feel like I’ve captured the kind of person I am.
Complex, I don’t do anything with ease, I make things way more difficult for sake of efficiency, I’m always in a rush to relax, a creature of habit, I don’t like to take up any space, people-pleaser, perfectionist and the first cup of coffee in the morning is the golden god of my universe. If my approach to living was a style of music it would be free jazz that I still ended up paying for.
Lately I freak out about time, the sewage in the basement, feeling like there’s human snakes all around and the endless chain of events that have not allowed me to take a proper breath in almost a month. How my creativity is suffering because I’ve been in constant motion and how this related to time and how I have none of that to waste. It’s then countered by heavy levels of gratitude when I tell my brain to shut up and look around me. I would never know it, but I usually find that I am safe in almost every moment of my day when I actually take account of it.
I woke to the sound of 4 knocks on the door. But I don’t know if it was the Fran Lebowitz documentary on the TV left on all night, or the actual front door or a door in my dream. The fact I was awake lead me to believe it was not the dream. Instead of going downstairs to check the door and finding some midnight psychopaths face in the window, I went to the second floor room and opened the window and stuck my head out. I found a blast of refreshing morning cold air and silence, just me and my big dumb head alone with all the secrets of the street. I could hear the houses all whispering to each other or maybe that was the distant highway noise*. For one second I was the only person that existed in the whole world and all of this before 6AM. Imagine a cinematographer and their camera positioned down the block to accidentally capture the scene, a silent dark street then suddenly a glowing gold light and human head with large hair pops out. Like the director caught me walking into the secret meeting of the universe.
And now I am here, third floor, in a mustard colored swivel chair made in Sweden, wearing a sweatshirt I made myself, writing this down. A surprisingly compelling thing about how nothing and everything happened this morning so far. As days go by I think I am becoming a neurotic grandmother looking back on the not so distant past as if it was an alternate version of me long gone and never coming back. But truth is, this is a temporary retreat forced by circumstances. There is nothing BIG and exciting in your life to talk about right now. We are all living the small life we’ve always been living, but it’s just more obvious than ever before. Humbling. No you are not taking a train through the Swiss mountains today or waking up recalling the blur of a night last night at the loft party with the guy and the lights and that song and the ——.
But it is reminding me something really important – even when “nothing happens” there is something profound and almost miraculous in every occurrence in every moment of everyday. When we were little kids we were wide-eyed always, seeing everything for the first time, not desensitized, fully aware that the only point of living is to be alive and experience things. Sometimes, on some mornings when you take note you can get back there.
The coffee mug is 2/5 full now and the sun is coming up, and by sun I mean light behind gray clouds. I don’t remember what the sun is like so I romanticize it – like sitting at a wooden picnic table at Cheer Up Charlie’s in Austin, TX at SXSW with friends from all over the planet around on that one day every year, you know the day – where it feels like spring has finally arrived, circa 2017, no mask, no worries, and 4 shows to play that day. Soon, the day here will start, and it will take me a way from these AM nostalgia trips where I remember who I am briefly. One of these days I have to just not forget.
*by the way the computer autocorrected that to make the small “I” and big “P” and that is when you know you have made a cultural impact)
* That constant sound that you eventually tune out.