It’s Sunday Morning.

It’s Sunday morning. I should be watching Friends for the umpteenth time and drinking coffee (dark roast). I should be curled up in a blanket, on a couch somewhere, taking sips and laughing. I should be daydreaming of weekends in the Caribbean, of trips to destinations unknown because I’ve seen them in a postcard somewhere. I should recall what postcards used to cost. I have no idea how much they are now.

I should be doing many things. After all, it is Sunday morning. But instead I am looking outside my study window, at the intermittent rain. If I am patient enough I can see it touch down in a puddle, which is how I know it’s still there. I’m sure if I open my window I would be able to breathe it in, the salty with the sweet, just like a confectioner’s shop.

I leave the window closed. It’s enough to imagine it, to remember it again, because I’ve been fooled before. I’ve been surprised by the smell of the rain, and I’m not in the mood for surprises this morning. Continue reading “It’s Sunday Morning.”

Advertisements

Driving Sideways

Ever since the accident, I’ve been extra careful, especially when it snows. I can still feel the gravitational pull as my car slid across the ice, past a braking Honda Accord, and planted itself sideways in the ditch.

I’m sure my expression was one of shock. I kept thinking, “This isn’t really happening.” My brain had it on replay, the only phrase that made sense out of the chaotic wasteland that was my mind in those brief moments between driving down the road and being sideways in the ditch.

My mind still goes there every time it snows. I try not to drive by that spot, if I can help it, with the tree, and the house back a ways, and the ditch that I imagine still has the imprint of my Santa Fe in its depths. The car I slid past pulled over to the side of the road after I went into the ditch sideways, its driver scrambling out to assist me.

I am grateful for the kindness of strangers, always, but definitely then. I was in a state of shock. In my mind the whole accident was replaying in slow motion, over and over again. Continue reading “Driving Sideways”

Losing It Again

“I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Memory is a fickle thing. It used to be my constant companion. People often asked me for clarification when anything involved a shared memory because they knew I would know what had really happened. It was a gift I guess I took for granted, that I lorded over others like Excalibur newly freed from the stone.

But unbeknownst to me while I was in the middle of that blessed time, memory was also fickle. I imagine it had begun curving away from me, its ends a bit frayed by time, without my even recognizing the shift. As time went on I started to lose fragments of my massive memory. I used to joke about it, back then.

“I guess that memory had to leave to make room for this one, right now,” I would tell people, but inside my brain this niggling doubt began inching its way in. Continue reading “Losing It Again”

Stocking H2O

“How could this Y2K be a problem in a country where we have Intel and Microsoft?” ~Al Gore

Sure, I had water stocked up. At last count there were 30 gallon-sized bottles edging out all other space on the kitchen floor. The apartment was small enough without the attention to detail that the possible looming emergency situation “required.” I argued that it wouldn’t be necessary, that, as the vice-president said, it wouldn’t be a problem, but I was one simple voice in the void.

What did I know anyway? What did anyone know?

I did know that I hadn’t worried about it at all from the moment the news outlets started talking about the horrendous possibilities.

“The Y2K problem is not caused by technical limitations. We simply forgot to think of the problem.” ~Hasso Plattner

That was the crux of the issue right there, at least as any ordinary citizen could understand it. These days it’s easy to say there are failsafes for all the failsafes, but back in the early days of computer technology it wasn’t even remotely the case. Scientists were lucky the systems were even working, they hadn’t considered how their coding could affect things all the way into the 21st Century. Continue reading “Stocking H2O”

How I Remember It

My parents left me at EPCOT Center on my birthday.

I know, it seems like a wish come true, but for a newly minted 9-year old who was afraid of his own shadow, it wasn’t quite as cool as all that. The day before we had visited the Magic Kingdom and all the fascination that came along with it. In fact, they had given me the choice of if I wanted to spend my birthday at Disney or EPCOT, and I chose EPCOT because the 26th was closer to Christmas, and I felt that Disney would be lit up better because of the proximity of the holiday (My birthday is the 27th). I was wrong. It was just as lit up on the 27th.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

Anyway, my dad told me once that I didn’t remember it correctly, that I was sitting on the bench, refusing to go on whatever ride it was with them, so they let me think they were leaving me. But I recall wandering alone, crying, hoping I would see my parents again someday (my sister too, if I’m to be honest). I was also mad at them, though, because it was my birthday, and they were supposed to treat me like the king of everything (“Who died and made you king of anything?”). It seemed inherently wrong to exclude me from any of the fun, to leave me sitting there thinking I was deserted.

My sister told me that I was in a pissy mood from the start, that I wanted everything to revolve around me, and when it all didn’t I pouted and threw a tantrum. I remember no tantrums. Continue reading “How I Remember It”

Afrodisiac

afromanAt the absolute apex of my adolescence, I sported an afro for two years. It wasn’t some kind of fashion statement, or some kind of returning to my roots, or even an homage to Michael Jackson, circa 1979. It was instead a product of laziness and the procurement of two cheap picks at the dollar store in the summer of ’91.

The laziness kept me away from the barber shop, that and a misguided attempt at better handling my own meager finances. The cheap picks went along with the aforementioned misguided attempt; they were chunky, multi-colored plastic, but I thought they were the world. They allowed me to shape said afro into an enormous halo over me whenever I wanted, giving me my natural shade in the heat, and my protection from the rain as well.

I loved that afro because it gave me an identity I didn’t feel I had at the time. It gave me a persona when I had none to my name. It gave me an excuse to live. Then, on the coldest day of the year, in the wintry chill of 1993, I had that afro shaved off.

“You got a hat?” the barber asked me as I sat in his swivel chair.

“Not today I don’t,” I replied, realizing what he meant. Having that afro meant my head was never cold. I had lived in the warmth of its cocoon for so long I had forgotten what the harsh outside world was like.

“You’d better get one right away, if you still want me to shave it,” he said, gesturing out the window.

I looked that way for a moment, and on the corner out there on the street was a man selling all manner of items, from sunglasses to copied audio tapes, to beanies and pull down hats that somehow didn’t make me feel warm looking at them. He was doing a brisk business, though, because his product was cheap and he was a convenient business destination for brothers in the hood. And maybe the barber was getting some kind of kickback from recommending him to me.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” I said, as another customer walked in, and a gust of chilly air followed him inside.

“Such a great head of hair,” the barber told me, and I could see he meant it. You see, in 1993 all the brothers were shaving their heads to be like Michael Jordan, either that or GI Jane, and I really think it was the former. So I was an anomaly, a throwback to a different age, and I think the barber appreciated that too much to just shave my afro without a word of advice first.

“Yeah, it just keeps up my overall body temperature,” I replied, my course set, my trajectory plotted in without chance of detour.

“Then yes sir, you need to get yourself a hat,” he repeated. “It’s cold out there.”

The buzz of the clippers drowned out my thoughts as, like Samson, my hair fell down all around me, hitting the floor in waves. It gathered at my feet, a veritable sea of black, curly hair, but I didn’t feel like my strength was ebbing as a result. Instead I felt lighter, more self-assured, like that butterfly rising from its self-imposed exile to spread its wings and fly.

See, I don’t think it was just time, that I was trying to “Be Like Mike” even though that craze was starting to peter out by then anyway. I think it was all about finally knowing who I was, and not needing a gimmick anymore to validate my existence. Yes, I knew it would be ice cold out there when I emerged from that barber shop, that it would feel like little ice needles were pricking my scalp, but I needed that feeling.

Now I’d give anything to have that afro again.

Sam

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: