All the grisly-bearded rooftops in the morning covered with frost, warming up the car. Realizing I’m falling into familiar work patterns, things I used to do in my last job: going out to the car a few minutes before I need to leave so I can listen to a song and just sit there.
Getting so comfortable at my new job I kind of shouted down the hallway at someone this week, I almost made small talk in the men’s room, I spread my papers out around me and my coffee now, and one day wore wrinkled pants.
And later, I walked to the lake to shake it off, to separate, and it was mostly frozen over. There were teenagers out on the dock with nice-looking cameras and lenses. I got on the side and sat: and along the shores the ice was so thin you could see it kind of bubble when a wave came under. It looked like wet paint in a tray, how it streaks and striates, and spiders out in strange patterns.
And I heard the queer sound from under the surface, like some dark spirit or creature howling, the ice splitting or cracking, a steel tension line snapping. And I sat there a while longer waiting to hear more, thinking about my friend Loren with his field recording equipment, the two of us coming out here with mics and headphones standing around looking serious, trying to not look strange.
It seemed you could hear more from across the lake, with it frozen over: what was going on in the lakeshore homes, some hammering, a shop vac—and when it stopped, the small peeps of birds, some ducks quacking.
Over lunch, I went back to the cafeteria where I go every day, didn’t really make eye contact: my normal place I sit was taken so I had to sit somewhere new, and thought after 15 minutes I should get back upstairs, back to work—like technically, if I was billing for this I shouldn’t take too long to eat—though it all slops together, the time. I’ve been really good about tracking my hours to make sure I don’t go over, but I’m not sure how much it really matters.
I was so excited to go hiking in the morning I put my shirt on the night before. It was one of those synthetic cross-training shirts meant for athletes or superheroes but I looked like neither—it was so tight, it felt like trying to fit a condom over my head but I wore it around the house anyway, went to the bottom of the driveway to view the moon, said many times to Dawn how good things are, right now.