A two-packet bowl of Apples & Cinnamon Quaker Instant Oatmeal at 4 pm. This is not “me.” I don’t snack. I’m calling it a late lunch. It is comfort action on a day when I have come to the end of my rope with the extreme cold that has blanketed this town for more than a week.
When I went to bed last night, I dreaded rising early for an interview with the prime “player” in a story I’m writing for the March Springfield Business Journal. I like getting up early – 5:00 am or earlier — when I have a reason, and if the snow had not been so intrusive, I’d have looked forward to this morning, to arising about 6, showering, reading notes at least once and driving off to the interview over breakfast at a fine restaurant on Springfield’s far southwest side. The nature of my journalism seems confined, coincidentally, to the heart of Springfield, Illinois in this”the city of my discontent” (thank you Mark Harris), and the distant interview destination seemed like Santa Fe or Phoenix from home. I knew going to bed I’d awaken in time, focused on getting to the interview, but for the first time in YEARS I had a disturbing dream and it shook me up.
I was bathing in a large tub like it was my last bath, alone in a room off a large tiled room, conversing loudly with a friend (who lives across the street in real life) justifying my life to him, not holding anything back, more of a rant than dialogue over what seemed like a span of two hours. When I finished my story, a familiar voice whispered “It’s time” to me. I rose, wrapped myself in a towel, and exited into the larger room, There I encountered a former paramour, source of the whispering voice. She was partially disrobed, leaning forward at a dressing table with her head resting on her arms gazing at me but not speaking as I walked out of the room . . . . . . . . and then I awoke. This was not a happy dream.
I didn’t have time to shower. But as I pulled into second gear beginning the trek, southwest bound on the veryvery cold ice-packed street, the sun and crystalline blue sky took the cobwebs away. The drive was a delight, the interview and breakfast the same.
Home again, I carefully exited the toasty-warm truck, arms full of camera and documents, steadied myself with a hand on truck’s front left fender. I began a tentative step toward the front porch and I slipped on the cantankerous ice, landed flat in the icy snow in my neighbor’s yard! No harm done; I was freezing; not hurt. With the assurance of a blind tightrope walker walking the wire in a hurricane, I resumed, standing, gathering my ice-besotted camera etc., and inching my way to my front porch. After reaching the hand rail, the front door came easy.
Yes, I HAD shoveled a lot of snow from around the truck but there were patches of ice, hard, unpredictable ice coat over the top of snow patches. Incredibly hard, the slickest deviltry under foot I have ever trod. If I had parked by my sidewalk, a technique discouraged by statute in this town, I wouldn’t have slipped. It’s as clean as though ’twere June.
I arrived in the toasty living room, snow melting from hands, shoes, camera and a prepared document from the interview, like I had walked away from a train wreck. A fast cup of coffee brought me back to a positive mental attitude and I began making phone calls and getting the rest of the article together. Made decent progress but got stymied when failed to connect with the two remaining “essential” media liaisons. I left word on voice mails and caught my breath during the Charlie Rose Show repeat. I wasn’t hungry after the excellent breakfast at Perkins.
Returning to the office, I piddled most of the afternoon away (including seven or eight games of computer solitaire) waiting for two media flaks to return my calls. Had they called back, I would have been focused and sharp for brief interviews, but my brain was temporarily “offline” for any AeroKnow tasks. I could not leave to put some time in at AeroKnow Museum because I had to stay close to the phone. About 1:30, the full impact of what must have been less a “long winter’s nap” than I thought I had had, my icy tumble and fading “joi de vivre” hit me like a brick wall, and I put my head on my arms on a desk-side table, trying to catch 40 winks — unlike Mary Ann from my dream, with ALL my clothes on — and listening to BBC radio on WUIS report live from Cairo. I must have slept a little because I found myself a mite refreshed when I arose to fortify my resolution for a more productive remainder of the day with more coffee and lots of it.
It’s time for a cell phone in my life. There is surely a budget plan for a bloke likely to use it maybe 15 times a month and even then mostly to receive calls from media flaks who take their time returning calls to pesky journalists.
Time for another cup of coffee and another stab at productive work before the sun goes down. I have 20 minutes . . . and I’ll likely have dinner with Charlie Rose at 10, and with luck a better slumber. There’s no wine in the house. But tonight I wouldn’t touch it if there were. My state of mind is my own best agent for retreat into slumber.
I am ready for spring. I take this cold hard ice personally. Friday will bring a second face to face interview and a trip to a nearby Radio Shack to talk about cell phones.
I shall prevail tomorrow.
Live long . . . . . . . and proper.
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