Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Around Corners We Cut

First thing this morning I turn the hot water faucet and the knob comes apart in my hand. I go back to bed. Hours later, Daria calls.

Daria: Are you sick or sick and tired?
Tata: I'm enjoying being flat on my pillowtop bed, which is seldom available at work.
Daria: I wanted to call and invite you because I didn't want you to feel left out. It's Sandro's birthday -

OH SNAP! My godson!

Daria: - and if you'd like you can join us at the Rainforest Cafe. We're going to -
Tata: No! No, thank you! Have a hot time without me!
Daria: It's like banging your head on a door: feels great when you stop. I love leaving there!
Tata: That's not saying much for the joint.
Daria: Oh sure, their acoustics suck but my kids make the noise.

My momentary panic subsides. I didn't forget to buy a gift. Every spring, I use my tax refund to buy my nieces, nephews and teenage sister one savings bond for Christmas and another for their birthdays. I don't know anything about economics and can barely spell it but I've read that buying savings bonds hurts the federal budget by creating debt. Personally, I think the federal government hurts the federal budget by creating debt, but then again I believe in crazy ideas like telling the truth, so what do I know? Anyway, Daria and her husband are in possession of a savings bond for my little nephew/godson and I can calm down, can't I? I can.

Just after noon, I decide to run errands. The day is perfect. I sit in my car and do all the little things one does before putting the car in reverse: fixing the seat, buckling the seatbelt, adjusting the rearview mirror, clicking the faceplate on the CD player. Then I think, 'What the hell,' and put the top down on my convertible. The CD player erupts with Iggy Pop's Lust For Life. I turn it WAY up and back out of my parking space.

Someday, when we are truly smart, we will find a way to live in the sun. For the first few minutes, traffic crawls toward French Street, then down toward Hamilton, where I turn left and deliberately slow down. Hamilton Street becomes Amwell Road and both are speed traps, serving as fundraisers for three towns. A lot of people pay no attention and fund municipal projects with their impatience. They pass me today and I smile sweetly, my heart suffused with joy. There's no room for rancor. I'm driving a fucking convertible on a sunny day.

Recently I've come across two interesting campaigns. One asks you to leave the truth of the matter lying around where other people can find it. The other asks you to insist the piper get paid. Things fall apart, people come together. There is simply no excuse for the brutality we are visiting upon one another and on peoples around the world. Just this once, I won't give that teenaged Speed Racer with the tricked-out used Saturn the finger. With the sun on my face, I remember that happiness can be as powerful a motivator for change as horror, and laughter fends off the authoritarian in any nature. I can let him go and hope his antics buy library books. 'Cause I'm peaceful. Like.


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