Friday, April 12, 2019

a moment in the day: twenty-one

I'm driving home after work, start and stop traffic down Burnside street. On the news, they talk about some place in Alaska where, usually this time of year, they can drive across this road made of ice, but the globe is warming and the ice is melting earlier and people fall through the ice and die.

The whole day seemed to have gone by in two or three hours. That's what time does, now. It was just New Year's and already it's April. At work that means it's time to start planning for the holidays, and I spent a large portion of the day emailing people and setting up meetings about things like Christmas decorations.

A red light turns to green and my car moves forward. On the news they talk about rain and the river and where, in and around Portland, are the biggest chances for flooding. I try to remember little moments in the day. Email, email, email. I remember when a coworker said to another: ever since I moved to Portland, every time I bought an umbrella—every time!—I would leave it on the bus. I like to try to write down moments from the day. Sometimes I even turn them into little posts for my blog. Like if I could focus on every small moment, it could make life stop speeding away so fast.

When I was a kid, life was eternity. Waiting for Christmas lasted forever. In my thirties, I spent an inordinate amount of time playing the game that I could actually slow time if I paid better attention to it. I paid attention and paid attention, but then I was forty and then I was almost fifty.

I ease the car onto Burnside Bridge. Doing what I always do when I drive out onto this slab of concrete suspended over space: pretend not to think about earthquakes. Traffic stops, starts, stops again. Stops completely. I wait. Pay attention. Look down over the Willamette River, take my eyes across the shoreline, the tiny people walking along the edge, try to look for someone walking a dog.

The water is so high. On the news they talk about North Korea and say words like "missile."

When they do that, all I want to do is eat all the pizzas in the world. Eat pizza and cheese and noodles, eat it all before it's too late.

Traffic starts up again. Everything moves forward.

It's twenty-one years, today, since my grandfather left this world. Twenty-one years.

It's April, and it's already almost Christmas.