For a month I drove to work with the same playlist, 10 hours of ambient music, that I made for the flight from Germany to Seattle last December. The cord that connects my phone to the car stereo makes a crackling sound but it goes with the music, makes it sound like vinyl. Everything’s falling apart.
There’s a new crop of birds in our neighborhood now that it’s February, and in the morning they call out from the treetops to one another, along with the frogs that sound like handheld nutcrackers scraping against walnut shells, trying to get a grip but sliding off.
I texted Andrew on Sunday, said today I’m going to buy a new car: how do I haggle about the warranty? He said it depends.
It was Super Bowl Sunday and on the roads, it felt like a storm was coming, no one was out. I didn’t bother to wash up and I wore the jeans I wore for 90 days in the UK a couple years ago, that have holes in the back pockets where I used to keep my mini notepad and the wire binding wore through.
The guy came out on the lot to greet me and I asked, could I take this E 350 for a couple days? He said maybe a couple hours.
I got in, sunk down, touched the steering wheel, chuckled. And then I pulled in front of someone to get on the on-ramp and gunned it, then chuckled again.
But coming back later to the dealer I didn’t feel it, didn’t feel like I had to have it. So we let it go after Dawn and I pretended to be at odds over the price, and played strange head games with the sales guys no different than a thousand couples before.
In the mornings on my walk to the lake I’ll stop to pet the moss on the pavers along the neighbor’s front lawn, try to find some lines of poetry in the sky or sidewalk.
For the first time, I started to imagine the end of our lives with a sense of romance, not dread. It all came from the budgeting, from thinking about retirement and paying for college. Dawn said she’d like to live out on the islands, always did, that’s where we started looking for houses originally, on Vashon. Maybe we could befriend my hair stylist Donnie, who just bought property there. We could fall into the island lifestyle with retired hippies: both of us could leave the tech industry and spend our Saturdays playing folk music in the den, drinking wine, hosting dinner parties. It would be the Sunday of our lives, long and slow and mellow—and in the morning there would be no Monday.