Up Here

There’s a Starbucks right in among the offices on the fortieth floor of a skyscraper downtown. At this height the shape of the building twists the wind around so that raindrops drift like snowflakes.

Going

Walking through downtown, focusing only occasionally on buildings where I’ve worked. We’re both sick.

I feel like there will be someone I know waiting at the end of this walk. If there is, I wouldn’t notice him. My mind isn’t on our surroundings. The only things I see are landmarks (the windows where I watched the WTO protests fall apart, the T-Mobile store with the honest salesman) and when we reach our destination we only find bank tellers. When she finishes, Tricia says, “I forgot those checks I was going to deposit. Are you hungry? We could go to that pizza place that you like.”

The heat lamps shine on the cheese in a way that makes them look unappetizing. There are dingy chairs and sturdy gray tables strewn around in random gatherings in the back. There’s also a pile of water damaged acoustic ceiling tiles. I nibble at my pizza, unable to finish. I stare at the Stranger classifieds on the table beside me. I have no doubt that this paper has been sitting there open to the same page since the paper’s cover date in July. I let it lie there untouched. It may last another three months.

On our walk back, a doorman standing outside a fancy restaurant has broken his dignified posture to give me a casual wave hello. We’ve passed him before I’ve noticed, and I don’t look back to see if I know him.

The Funnies

Old man sitting in the driver’s seat of a Volvo, parked in a loading zone outside Taco Bell. Engine running. He reads yesterday’s funnies with a magnifying glass.

The Red Planet

I’m always putting things off. I set a goal. Days pass. Then weeks become months and I haven’t even started anything yet. I make time only for daily life. For example, this morning I realized that I’d been putting off my second space voyage for more than four years. That’s longer than some of my friends have even been blogging!

So today I hauled my rocket out of storage and took it to the park just to clean it up. As soon as it was set up, everyone in the park put their books and strollers aside and gathered around and asked me all kinds of questions. When I told them I was going to take the rocket to Mars, everyone was really encouraging. Some people even offered to chip in on gas money. To be honest I hadn’t even considered leaving for Mars today until I said it out loud. But, I thought, why not?

It ended up being a pretty good trip. I didn’t stay long since I had to get back home in time to ship today’s orders, but I got outside and kicked up a little dust. I’d watched out the window the whole way there, so I just read for awhile on the trip back. Then I typed up this blog entry on my Treo.

Drugs

I tried to coax the passed out man out from the spot between my neighbor’s front tire and the sidewalk. He didn’t respond to my shaking and yelling in any way and, for a moment, I worried that he wasn’t breathing. I started to forget the meaning of things. Had his skin gone cold? I didn’t know what cold was. What does breath feel like? Do I know CPR? Just as I mustered the courage to roll him onto his back to check his vital signs, I noticed that his chest was moving in and out with a steady breath. Okay. Did he just get wasted and pass out or did he have a stroke. Is he homeless? Are those nice clothes or shabby clothes? I couldn’t tell. I shook him and yelled some more, “Wake up.” He finally opened his eyes, just long enough to raise a finger to his lips and say, “Shh.” I talked to him some more, “Are you okay? I don’t want you to get hurt. If someone tries to park here, they’ll run over you.” When he finally propped himself up, he didn’t say anything or look at me. He stumbled away from his spot to get away from the noise. I went to bed and dreamed about bodies tangled up in an exploded pier.