Peeling potatoes I took off my finger tip and imagined a piece of it there among the red bliss skins in the sink, something small and pink you’d find on a beach. But it got me out of cooking, and I sat on the couch with a beer trying to remove myself from the pain, sending garish texts, exaggerating.
I was almost done with a speech for my client’s boss, a Colombian woman talking about diversity and inclusion to 400 people in her division. Her life, whittled down to five slides. Trying to make it sound like her and not like a speech, more natural.
I went to Portland for two days: me and Loren nearly 50, still acting like we did when we met in the 5th grade (just with booze). Having animated discussions about commas, the fact that no one appreciates or uses them right, commas. Taking pictures of moss-covered walls and walking across the bridge, into the old town. Driving home Monday, a mixture of frost and fog, the same moody ride up the 5 feeling sad and sentimental about my kids, my wife, my life.
Loren, telling the story of a poly-amorous colleague who sends him suggestive texts hinting they should get together: one, describing a date with an online guy she met: “no PV-penetration, but after a lot of effort he managed to satisfy me / then he tells me he works on the side as an elf on a Christmas train, has written an essay about it he thinks is profound / with long pauses, expecting a response.” I had to ask, what PV-penetration means?
My dentist texted, with all the snow they’ve been delayed at the lab / we have to reschedule your appointment to get the night-guard fitted. And it was weird, getting a text directly from my dentist—I said the pain was getting worse, and thought I could make a play for pain killers, but decided I was above that.
I packed my things from Loren’s, sleeping in his son Arthur’s room, put the stuffed animals back where they were on the small bed, noting the pictures and toys…and I felt sad and far away from my own past, from my kids…unable to really connect with either, feeling I should.