In the morning my eyes were puffy and my hair askance, and I went to Starbucks like that for a cold brew. I said skip the ice, I just need the caffeine — the woodpecker woke me up again. And then I went by the store for hard-boiled eggs and onwards, up Cougar Mountain.
On the ride I remembered the early Saturdays when I was in the Mountaineers club, meeting at the Park and Ride to carpool with others like me, who all seemed a bit off. That time up Mt. Forgotten one of the guys fell and hit his head on the rocks, and we all had to test him, was he concussed? And the time we went up Mt. Stuart in a day, which you can do in the mid-summer with all the light — that time I sang Robert Plant the last few miles out, probably concussed.
Up Cougar Mountain I went through the forest, the sound of woodpeckers better on trees than gutters. And I thought about my client at work, the irony that she’s having trouble making time to prepare a speech about work-life balance. I recalled the rest step technique, which I learned in the Mountaineers, and the guy who taught it to us Ed Martinez, watching him demonstrate it in the snow…how with each step climbing up, you roll your leg back so your thigh’s not flexed the whole time, it can relax a bit. He said do that, and you can go on forever. And he sure looked like he could, rest step or not.
But the analogy didn’t hold for a tech conference. And the idea of balance sets you up for the likelihood you’ll fail. No one can hold a pose for more than half a minute, I learned that in yoga. The concept is right, the phrasing is wrong.
I ended the week well, and got a text from Dawn as I was leaving the office: both kids were sleeping over at different places, and she was on her way to Seattle to see some friends. I had the night to myself, and got in the car to hurry out, unsure what to do, or where to go. And part of me felt sad and selfish, I felt like I should be with them.
I stopped by the bar for a drink and a meal, and then home to feed the animals. I pulled the chair up the lawn and sat with the dog and cat, waiting for the moon to come out. And I decided I’d go inside on the recliner and fall asleep as it got dark, and play Steely Dan until I heard that song I wanted, to get it out of my head by hearing it out loud.
Post title from the Steely Dan song, Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, 1974.