The Daily Drivel

Once again, I am alone in the early morning darkness, the house bathed in the kitchen’s light. My wife and our house guest are asleep, as one would expect at such an ungodly hour, and I am alone with my thoughts and my hot cup of freshly brewed coffee. For some reason, it occurred to me the moment I awoke that washing clothes at this hour makes perfectly good sense, so I emptied the clothes hamper of shirts and shorts and socks and put said garments in the washer. Forty minutes hence, more or less, they will be clean and ready for the dryer. The sound of the washer’s “cycle completed” alert may wake the others several minutes before five o’clock, but people should be awake and alert by that hour, anyway, in my opinion.

No, I’d really rather be alone with my thoughts, letting my fingers sprint across the keyboard in their efforts to record what’s on my mind. I depend on my fingers to express my thoughts; they do a far better job of it than my tongue, which trips and stumbles in fruitless attempts to articulate what’s on my mind. My fingers are far better suited to the task and they’re more practiced at it. And, to be honest—and at this hour and with no one awake and aware but me, honesty is absolutely necessary—I don’t much like the sound of my voice. I like the way I think it sounds, but to hear it played back to me from a recording device I realize it’s the croaking from a poorly constructed throat aided by malformed vocal chords and an inadequate diaphragm. There are more broken pieces involved, I’m sure, but those are the key players in the noise emanating from my lips. So, my fingers, lacking the distractions of voice, do a better job of expressing myself.

I’ve gone off on a tangent, haven’t I? Well, yes I have. And it’s no wonder. I don’t really know what’s on my mind, so I let my fingers skip across the keyboard as if playing a game from my childhood. Not that I recollect any games from my childhood. I really don’t. Sometimes, I wonder whether I had a childhood. Most people seem to recall with fond appreciation the games they played, the friends they had, their teachers, etc. I remember Ms. Corbett and Ms. Stephenson (I don’t recall whether either of them were Mrs. or Miss), my first and third grade teachers, respectively. I think Ms. Painter was my second grade teacher. I know Ms. WhyCan’tIRememberHerName was my fourth grade teacher; she was blonde and was the owner of a brood who attended the same school. Aside from those recollections, most childhood memories either have been erased or buried under more recent records of where, when, and who I was at any given moment. I know more childhood memories exist beneath or within the layers of brain cells in my head because I’ve written about them. But, for the moment, they’re out on recess, ignoring the bell calling them back in to focus on the studies at hand.

My job today, aside from entertaining our house guest and finishing the load of laundry I started a while ago, is to do the preparatory work for a casserole I’ve agreed to take to church tomorrow in honor of the Ladies’ Day Luncheon. It used to be the Mothers’ Day Luncheon, but someone decided it would be best to honor all ladies, not just all mothers. I wonder why it’s not called the Women’s Day Luncheon (or is that Womens’?) to honor all women. I suppose it’s possible that someone in charge (if there is such a someone) decided to make a subtle dig at women in the congregation who, in someone’s opinion, are not “ladies.” That doesn’t sound like the sort of folks who attend the church. So, I choose to believe someone simply slipped into the language of an earlier time. The importance of the name given the event is far less than the space I’ve given it here, so I’ll stop. Instead, let me explain what I’m going to make for the luncheon. It’s called “Easy Lemon Chicken Potato Casserole.” I’ve made the aptly named dish before. If I were making it for home consumption, I would incorporate liberal amounts of jalapeños or habanero peppers to add flavor and excitement, but such an addition would make the dish inedible to many in the congregation, so I’ll refrain from the improvements. Tomorrow, in addition to providing food, I’ll help with set-up, serving, and clean-up. The “ladies” are to be waited on. The organizer of the event claims the men who help earn “brownie points” for an entire year. As if a single day of not expecting women to do “woman’s work” is worthy of a year in which men are waited on hand and food. I think I may have the wrong attitude. I know the intent of the event is good, but it just seems to me that, even in jest, suggesting that this one-day affair in which men do “traditional” woman’s work is an adequate sharing of the burden of feeding people is…I don’t know, just insulting. Maybe I shouldn’t have volunteered. With my attitude, things could get ugly. But I won’t let them. I’ll be good. I’ll just cook my casserole, prepare and serve and clean up, and keep my mouth shut. Best for me to write about it, anyway, inasmuch as my voice would simply sound like the screech of an angry barn owl.

Pause. The clothes are clean. They’re in the dryer now and, if all goes according to plan, they will be dry and cool, ready for hangers, in around forty-five minutes. Don’t worry. I won’t continue writing for the entire dry cycle.

For some reason, even though the indoor temperature reads 77 degrees, the room feels hot. And humid. I’d really like to open the doors onto the screen porch and let is some cool morning air, but doing so would also let masses of pollen flow into the house. In a matter of an hour or less, a thin yellow film would cover every surface. The air would feel cooler, but the house would require a deep cleaning. And everyone would have a bit of a hard time breathing, what with their noses and lungs exposed to allergy-inducing “stuff.”

If I’d been thinking yesterday while preparing for our guest’s arrival, I would have taken the ear buds out of the desk in the guest room so I could listen to music or news or whatever this morning. But, apparently, I wasn’t thinking. So, in the interest of not interrupting the sleep patterns of people who have more normal patterns than I, I will not play music or listen to the news. Instead, I will now turn to another morning ritual, wandering the web, looking for ideas and inspiration and motivation. If you’ve read this far, you’re a better person than I. It occurs to me I could start an online “news” service. I’d call it The Daily Drivel.

About John Swinburn

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