The More I Travel Across the Gravel

I.
I called at 7:13 a.m.

Tata: I’d like a cab at [none of your beeswax] to go to the library.
Dispatcher: Okay.
Tata: How long –

She hung up without telling me how long it would be. Blood pounds in my ears. I put on my coat and stare out the window, ready. Time passes.

Tata: This is [my address]. It’s been twenty minutes.
Dispatcher: He hasn’t cleared in Highland Park.
Tata: What?
Dispatcher: Ten minutes.

If I ever see this miserable human in line at the liquor store I’ll bash her over the head with cheap chianti. I am already late for work. I stare out the window. Time passes.

Tata: This is [my address]. It’s been an hour. Is that cab coming or not?
Dispatcher: Number 3, where are you?
Number 3: Benner and –
Dispatcher: He’s five blocks away.

Ten minutes later, the cab finally comes. I squeeze into the front. How I slam the door with all that steam coming out of my ears I’ll never know. By the time Number 3, who is truly making the best of frozen roads and inexplicable gridlock, drops me off at the library I am starting to calm down.

II.
I eat weird food. Awhile ago, I stumbled on this vegan PBS cooking show that never mentioned the word “vegan.” The principles and this particular cook’s reliance on Chinese medicinal techniques interest me. I haven’t got the faintest idea why she advocates dark leafy green like they’re the Second Coming and only steams or sautes them. I plunk them on top of a frozen fish filet, other vegetables and some herbs, a little salt and pepper. When I get up, I throw them in the oven, exercise for half an hour with small weights, then let the packet cool a bit while I shower. Since I started eating this for breakfast, I’ve stopped looking for snacks mid-morning. This represents improvement over eating as if eating were my job.

III.
Last Thursday, Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, became agitated as I sat down to breakfast.

Cat: Dude!
Tata: Dude?
Cat: Dude!
Tata: What is is, Lassie? Has Timmy fallen down a well and he’s in insulin shock and Farmer Jones is crop dusting the south forty with no idea?
Cat: What?
Tata: Come sit with me and explain your problem.
Cat: If you insist. Pardon me while I lick this fish.

Most folks would shove the cat on the floor. I have too much food and enjoy watching an antic play out.

Cat: So as I was explaining while I lick this fish some more, you should buy me more catnip. Mine, while amusing, is stale. Hope you don’t mind that I’m talking with my mouth full. In fact, why don’t I take this bite of fish and get my own plate?
Tata: Certainly, my delight. Care for another morsel, perhaps all the ones you licked?
Cat: You’re so thoughtful!

When I stopped howling with laughter, he was licking his lips and not at all thinking that I am made of meat.

IV.
It was warm out this afternoon, most of which I spent hunkered down in my cubicle and avoiding my co-workers. It is no secret that when I’m in a mood the office goes silent. The terror is palpable. I took a cab home. Because I’ve got my priorities straight, I watched General Hospital and couldn’t figure out what’s going on. Not on TV, either. Then I went outside, looked both ways for old ladies, and floored it in reverse until my car broke through the slush and snow and onto street. I parked my car where some decent human being shoveled out yesterday. Then I spent the evening avoiding my windows and small calibre weapons fire.

V.
Tomorrow is my birthday. Tonight I Naired my mustache. Just in case. It’s a miracle innocent bystanders let me live this long.

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