Apparently Saturday

I drove in to Lowe’s yesterday afternoon to pick up three LED light fixtures (replacements for garage workspace fluorescent fixtures). The process was simple; shortly after I bought the products, I received notice they were available for pickup. On closer inspection, I saw I could simply drive to a spot reserved for pickup, call for in-car delivery, and wait. I waited no more than three or four minutes. That’s the kind of shopping I do not mind doing.

On the way home, on a whim, I pulled in to an old-style country barbershop to get a haircut. I say it was a whim. It was a long-simmering whim, one that built slowly over time; a slow-motion spur-of-the-moment decision that had been attempting to hatch for days, if not weeks. Finally, yesterday, the shell surrounding the seed of the idea cracked, releasing a spurt of determination. I vowed, then and there, to stop procrastinating.

I expected to have to wait at the barber shop. Instead, I walked in and, after being asked to exit and place my name and phone number on a sign-in sheet outside the door, was seated immediately. Two of the three barbers awaited customers; I was invited by the younger one to sit in his chair. Everyone in the small shop wore a mask. Between each barber chair, plexiglass dividers hung from hooks affixed to the ceiling. I gave the barber vague instructions that I wanted my hair “pretty short all over, but no whitewalls over the ears.” Apparently, those were the only instructions he needed. Twenty minutes later, my hair was considerably shorter, my eyebrows had been trimmed, and the back of my neck had been treated to a heated foam and straight-razor shave. I was so pleased to have finally lost masses of hair that I gave the barber a $5 tip for a $13 haircut. The only downside to the experience was the fact that the television hanging from the wall was blaring noxious lies from Fox News. That’s the penalty for living in a deep red pocket in a deep red state.


Earlier in the day yesterday, my sister-in-law and I went to visit my wife, parking near the dumpster at the back of the drab facility. Asphalt covers the lot right up to the dull beige concrete block walls of the building. After making several phone calls in an attempt to reach my wife and to get someone to open the blinds so we could see her, we met some success. Our conversation with her was mostly one-way. I wish I knew how to get my wife enthusiastic about something; treatment, the idea of coming home—something. We did not stay long, as there was not much communication taking place. I asked my wife to call me later yesterday evening. She said she would try. I did not get a call. Either she forgot, her phone was not within reach, she fell asleep before making the planned call, or…who knows. I wonder whether this place will be any better than the last one.


I tried watching my riveting Finnish television crime drama series last night, but I could not stay focused on it. I was not engaged by it. Perhaps I’ve lost interest in it, or maybe the episode I attempted to watch last night was not up to the series’ usual standards of quality and intrigue. Or my mood might have been unsuitable for watching it. There could be dozens of reasons. Hundreds, perhaps. At any rate, I watched only part of an episode and then gave up. Before I gave up on the program last night, I attempted to drown what was shaping up as bleak despondency with wine. I texted a friend to inquire about her husband’s medical treatments and then spoke to her for a while. I should have asked whether she uses Google Duo. Seeing her while speaking to her would have improved my mood, I think. But, instead, after our conversation, I read an article on entitled “The scarred landscapes created by humanity’s material thirst.” What a cheery way to end the day. Not long after, I went to bed, opting to sleep in the guest room where I could sleep on a queen-sized bed instead of on a borrowed twin bed. Though the twin bed has less room to spread out, it is the more comfortable of the two. I should consider replacing the years-old queen mattress with something more inviting; otherwise, guests will refuse to stay through the night.


Several times during the night, I awoke; howling. Literally howling. I do not know why I was making noises like a wounded beast. But making such odd noises, I was. And sometime during the night I was embroiled in a dream involving some large spaces in the ground floor of a glass-walled office building. The spaces were “decorated” with old clothes hanging on racks, creating hallways or passageways between the hanging garments. At some  point in the dream, I asked a woman from my church where I could find the restroom. She pointed down a half-level set of stairs, to a very long hallway and said “It’s the ninth door on the left. Not the eighth door, not the sixth door, the ninth door.” When I looked down the hallway, I could not make out clearly which spaces were doors and which were spaces between doors. I do not know whether I found the right door.


Apparently, today is Saturday. I should devote at least part of the day to planning next Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner. My sister-in-law and I will prepare a non-traditional dinner composed of tapas. I have dozens of taps recipes. The challenge will be to narrow them down to a reasonable number (I tend to go overboard) that will produce a substantial but not massive feast-like meal. Before I get too heavily involved in planning, though, I will try to go visit my wife again to see how she’s doing and to see what weekends are like for her. My guess is that the place is on a skeleton staff over the weekend and that it will be on an even smaller staff next Thursday. Perhaps I’ll take her some tapas and celebrate the way we’ve tended to celebrate in years past. Though we’ve done our share of turkey and dressing meals, we rather like doing unusual (for most Americans) meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas; Thai, Chinese, Indian, etc.


I got up late today and got a slow start. Time to move away from the keyboard.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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