Funny how the circle is a wheel

I started talking to someone again, and made plans to FaceTime her at 4. We hadn’t talked since last summer so she asked, how’s it going with your family, with the pandemic? I said it feels like the wheels have been coming off. She said we only get so many reserves in this life and the pandemic has been eating up a good portion of that, like Pac-Man gobbling away the edges. She made an exaggerated chomping face with her jaws but then the screen froze and I had to call her back on audio.

I lay in bed in the middle of the night thinking about that accident I had with the tractor. I guess you could call it an accident, I got tangled up in the netting on the sports court and the front two wheels came off the ground, tearing the netting and bending the metal handle that lifts the blade. It was kind of funny and stupid and happened the way things do in a dream when you see something bad bearing down on you but can’t stop it.

I lay there with the sound of dew collecting on the leaves and dripping off like static when the cable’s gone out and it’s just white noise. The moon was low and with the fog the night had a milky look to it. The tree frogs sang and my mind wouldn’t stop.

I had to start thinking more seriously about my health now that I was turning 50, how I wanted the rest of my life to look. There was a similarity between how I treated that tractor and how I treated my body and I’d probably go easier on both of them if I acted like I only had one for the time I’m here.

After we’d heard one of Trump’s senior aides tested positive I’d sent a dumb text on a group chat wishing he’d get it too and then woke to the news he had, and felt the way I did as a kid when they announced school was closed for snow, a cheap thrill that was short-lived but still felt invigorating. It had more angles than I could understand though, and I felt bad about feeling good about the news and then rationalized why I shouldn’t, and then felt bad again.

I lay in bed wondering what day it was, thinking even if we hadn’t been infected by the virus we’d all been affected by it somehow. I saw polar bears on melting ice caps and felt like all of us were on separate patches of shrinking earth too, floating on the top of a cold dark sea.

From our driveway I’d take the tractor up the hill toward the neighbor’s house, past the play set and trampoline. The play set hadn’t been used in years but would likely be there until the day we moved out a good ten years or more. We didn’t have fences between our yards and the land sprawled out with the large pines above, so the sun came through nicely as it set. There’s a cup holder in the tractor and when I first got it I thought it would be fun to cut the grass with a can of beer but it wasn’t practical to do so since the tractor bounces around a lot and the beer inevitably spills.

Tomorrow I’ll get up at the same time and then jump in the car and head east over the mountains up the valley to meet Brad and then hike to that alpine lake where the Golden Larch turn this time of year, and camp for the night. This life of ours is the greatest. And while I like to believe otherwise, it’s probably the only one we get.

Categories: identity, Memoir, writing

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17 replies

  1. Now I’m remembering, all those years ago, learning the meaning of schadenfreude. Funny I’d never heard the word from high-school, through my first iteration as a college student, through a stint in the Navy, then round two in college. A great word, and particularly meaningful right now, so it seems.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah I love that word Carl, sounds a bit like its meaning to me somehow. I don’t think I’ve ever used it in conversation but it makes me oddly happy every time I see it…ha ha. Be well. Thanks for reading, liked your WFH article on LinkedIn. At least, what the CEOs had to say about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looking at the world feels like a frozen factime face, all distorted and snarly.
    Love the schadenfreude part. I danced around the family room shouthing ‘GO VIRUS!’ and then felt bad about what I was modelling for my son.
    Hope the hike was good, mate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Bruce and for the schadenfreude contribution. Odd, dark times. You’ll be proud of me, I did find a Gene Clark album yesterday from 72 that wasn’t released in the states but had that Wheel song on it. It’s on colored wax and sounds real nice. We’ve got that much at least! And so much more…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shouthing? good word, but I meant shouting, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I lay there with the sound of dew collecting on the leaves and dripping off like static when the cable’s gone out and it’s just white noise.

    my favorite part of your piece

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a crazy effect isn’t it? Everything in our yard hits this breaking point with the moisture and creates its own form of rain, kind of a crackling sound and really cool. Thanks Beth for reading and enjoy your Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been hearing schadenfreude & karma in the same sentence. Isn’t it perfectly ethical to wish for “good examples” to come along, for the edification of the ill-informed and the greater good?
    This image of us as polar bears is vivid and probably awfully true.
    Another fancy word I learned, when looking up that ’70’s Charlton Heston movie “Soylent Green”, was senicide. As in, “In the Great Lakes region, fifty is traditionally when oldsters, mounted on their lawn tractors, are placed on a chunk of ice or a platform of floating reeds, and shoved out onto Lake Michigan, never to be seen again. Although oftentimes, of course, they just wash ashore in Chicago, get some deep dish pizza, and have a hell of a good time.”
    I hope you get up there to enjoy the beautiful larches, I’ve seen them in the mts of Utah and very lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Senicide! How funny, good image you wrapped in there with the tractors floating on the lake. Very funny. Very “Charlton.” And yes I did get with the larches and it was good. Cool you saw them in Utah! Here’s to good examples Robert, I think you’re one. Be well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You feel that way because you are a good person watching a bad thing happen to a bad person, which makes you question whether you’re a bad person too. For me, it’s the ATVs that race down our street. I want them to have an accident, not get hurt at all, just so long as they’re scared. And fuck up their machine.

    Nice to catch up. I didn’t have much to say but enjoyed the view as always. Here’s Jonsi singing with Elisabeth Fraser, two ethereal ships that bump in the night.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonsi and Fraser? Ha well I didn’t know about that! Thanks for catching up and offering some counseling there too, I needed that. I get how you must feel with those ATV’s, too. They make a rank sound and seem accompanied by rank operators don’t they.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ha! So true Bill. I know about the cheap thrill getting into us as we use to in childhood. Speaking with friends are bliss and the 4 am friends mean the world to us and yes take care of your health too. Happy that you are safe, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This ride is sometimes call the Yo-Yo. Where was this picture taken?

    Liked by 1 person

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