Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Flower moon

0200. Up with a vivid dream, one that twists and morphs from one bit of nonsense to another, the former returning to replace the latter with every toss and turn in the sheets now damp with sweat. Josh's new car overheated on his drive up here. Lily was driving a transfer truck, and having some trouble negotiating the turns in the parking lot, which was somewhere downtown. Relocate to the couch with some droning TV. Fog in and out of sleep, mostly out. The angle of my head on the pillow at the end of the couch is less than pleasing. Far less than pleasing. Some rum in the house would be good about now, but I'll settle for some generic, fat free, artificially sweetened yogurt. I doubt the effect will be as good, and I hate being right on mess like this. Yes, rum would have been better, or so my addled brain tells me. Experience suggests otherwise.

0300. Up to stay, at least until a nap calls, and that'll be sometime later this morning when I need to pay attention to something else. Gather a load of whites. Strip the sheets off the bed. Can't sleep on them; might as well wash them. Start coffee. Move the detergent and bleach to the clothes bound for the laundry. Notice the top of the refrigerator is dirty. Fill the sink with hot water and Dawn. Wash the few dishes from last night. Clean off the top of the fridge. Dump out the cereal from December that I planned to eat, but never did. It was on sale, but I suspect the rats at the dump will not mind, aside from it being generic bran flakes. And I'm hungry for something, not the cereal, something that'll need cooking. Maybe more yogurt will buy a little time.

0400. My private hallway held the faint strains of the local news coming from a neighbor's TV. I hope he's sleeping on the couch, neck crick be damned, instead of rising early to greet the dawn he would not otherwise see as I will. The private hallway led to my private elevator, which quickly arrived to take me nine floors down. Yes, I should use the stairs, and I sometimes do, but not with a load of clothes under one arm and a mug of precious coffee in the other. You might think that at this hour, my laundry would be private also, but oh no, one of the blind residents is up and at it with me this morning. She asked me to check the balance on her laundry card, and being the ever helpful peep, I obliged while telling her that I rarely see people doing laundry at this time of the morning. I wish I could own up to writing a poor joke in that last sentence, but it's really what I said and the word I chose, not that she responded in any manner. She might have had a dollar on the card.

A wave of nausea born of sleep denied and coffee too early washes over me, and a hastily peeled banana saves the day, if this can be called a day.

I learned last night that Josh is coming for a visit later this morning. He wants to show me his car, new to him, and quite shiny in the Facebook picture. He will be traveling alone. I had already arranged to not be at work today so that I could participate in a gathering at the NC General Assembly, and Josh adjusted his schedule so that he could get here early enough for that. We'll see. Josh often moves in his own time, having inherited that trait, and then there's the morning traffic to consider. I'll struggle to not think of how fast he might be driving during the trip, though I suspect he has a heavy foot.

That he's coming surprised me. Delighted me too. Apparently, I did not live up to expectations during Lily's graduation activities of a couple, almost three, weeks ago, and they had both gone silent. Lily remains so. Of course, they're both grown with lives and schedules of their own, and I work to accept my role now in the margin of their lives, but I can tell you now that I'm hardly one to tolerate marginalization, at least without a tear. Patience might be a virtue, but I grow tired of exercising it, and this leaves me to wonder if there might be another phase to the midlife crisis I thought I'd left in the shadows, not that I think I need a trophy wife or such. More likely, I need a cat.

0500. Back in the laundry room to move the clothes to the dryer. The blind resident and I are on about the same schedule, as she was attending to a dryer this time, and she asked me to check her card again. Either it was a different card, or she had been to the machine to put more money in her account, as she had some over eight bucks this time.

Meanwhile, Adult Swim is not really anything you'd ever want to watch, and even though it's switched to King of the Hill, I'm not sure it's going to hold my attention. Perhaps it's time for a nap, at least until the dryer is done.

0600. So that nap was nowhere what it needed to be, but someone needs to scoot down and fetch back those white shirts before they need the ironing they are not going to get.

0700. Clothes all put away. Bed made up. Further nap denied. There is very little about a five-hour jump start on the day that contributes to additional productivity. More likely, less gets done. I think it's time for a walk. Nope, no walk. That was wishful thinking. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days.

And Josh is on the road, GPS tracking every inch. I need to hit the shower and get myself ready.

0800. Shower. Mirrors cleaned. I do not know what got into me. It's not like he'd ever notice such a thing. Or care. All dressed. Directions for downtown checked. Stuff in my pockets. I go outside at about 8:45 and wait. And wait. Tweet about being bad at waiting. Wait some more.

0900. A car that looks a lot like his new one pulls in the drive, but stops short. Josh would have come all the way. I abort my wave lest I spook some stranger, and a pang wells that I didn't expect. It's been three weeks since I last saw him, and only a day since I texted with him. Compared to when he's at school, that's not much more than five minutes ago, or so you might think. After you've had your turn, we'll compare notes, and I'm thinking you'll know that pang well. This is why we keep tissues at the ready.

What turn, you might ask? Keep in mind that I came out when he was on the cusp of teens, and the ensuing years did not permit all that much contact, just enough to know who was who, but not enough as those years require. It was a rough ride, one that I'm not yet over, but one that I can't do much about beyond grin-and-bear-it, which is what I do, mostly. He's done about the same, and seems to have come into his own in a way that makes this daddy proud. It could have been a lot worse.

A few minutes later, he's here, changing cars, hugs, and we're underway. He's still agreeable to visiting the General Assembly for a press conference by a group of people of faith who are opposed to the defense of marriage bill that will be introduced into the session today. In addition, there are busloads of haters coming from all over the state from churches much like the one in which I was baptized. There's even a man from a documented hate group here to tell the haters how righteous concern is not really hate. I suppose there will be flying pigs, in addition to all the walking two-legged pigs.

We reached the GA early, found our room, and then toured the rest of the building. He had visited years ago as part of a school outing. I had visited a few times since way back in the seventh grade when the glass doors did not have emblems on them to make them more visible. Doing something to make the doors visible so people would stop running into them and breaking their faces even made the state newspaper back then.

1000. There was probably more press at our press conference than all the rest together. There was also more good sense, which left me to wonder if the religious upbringing I received might have survived if it had been positioned with more tolerance and less hate, and yes, there was plenty of hate to go around outside. Pentecostal this. Free Will Baptist that. I'm surprised they didn't burn a few crosses while they were at it. To my knowledge, they did not bring any snakes.

1100. We left the GA in search of food, and finally found some at Porter's City Bistro near NCSU. Porter's is one of my favorite places to eat, and it's been months since I was there last. We would have eaten downtown, but the places I prefer away from the haters were still closed then. We might have been the first people in the restaurant today. It was a good lunch not only because the food was its usually excellent repast but also because we were starving. Josh had skipped breakfast to get to Raleigh early. My 2 a.m. wake-up had left whatever I had for breakfast long since forgotten.

1200. We're still eating, talking, and going on about one thing and another. It's a simple delight to have an adult conversation with your child, and I savor that time while I can. I notice that my language is substantially coarser than his, and I wonder how he really speaks among his friends. I know his sister has a salty tongue as I've heard it, and I suspect he is no different, just more judicious around me and perhaps others, at least so far. Or possibly, he's worried about how he might appear, and he moderates his expression naturally.

We finished lunch, moved the car about a half-mile, and took a walk through the Rose Garden, which is a calm and peaceful place. I pointed out the picnic table where I ate lunch back in the early 80s during summer school. Actually, I just assigned that history to an unsuspecting table, and I figure Josh will forgive me if he ever figures that out, which probably happened about 30 seconds after I told him, and he kept quiet about it.

1300. We're back at the apartment for a pit stop and a little couch time. Grandpa ain't what he used to be and although I'd be alarmed if Josh could not outpace me now, I do not like knowing that I'm the one slowing down our progression. Both Lily and Josh have come so very far from the young things I used to chase in the yard after dinner while playing our own made-up version of ball tag. So have I, just not in the same direction.

Shortly, we're back at it again. Gas for the car. A fountain Diet Coke for me. A long walk through the J. C. Raulston Arboretum where our ostensible purpose is to check on the bees, which we did. Immediately following the bee check, Josh spots the other hives that I thought went AWOL last winter. Silly me. No apiary collapse on this shift. Nope. Just some bee keeper doing his job without telling me. Imagine that.

1400. Time for ice cream. Ben and Jerry are always up to the task. We ate and chatted in the shade while Josh downloaded FourSquare. He was intrigued by my recurring check-ins. However, having him remember to do a check-in might take some doing, and I do not anticipate he will be a supermayor any time soon. If you disagree, check his Twitter feed, and then change your mind.

1500. Back home, and time for him to leave. He needs to avoid our delightful RTP traffic. He also needs to get his summer school stuff online and inline. A hug good-bye. And another. GPS set and books to order, he drives away. I stood in the empty space under the oak where I park and watched his car fade from view.