April 23, 2019
Nevada City, California
Tor made coffee this morning. This is not unheard of but it is unusual. “I want mine black,” I shouted from bed, where I was reading an article on my iPhone, an article I thought was badly written. I was copying chunks out of it and DMing them to a friend. At the end of the DM I added my favorite emoji, the laugh/cry one, which I take to mean “God help us,” or “OMFG.”
“NO MILK,” I shouted again, just to make sure there were no errors made. I like coffee black or with cream. I hate coffee with milk and yesterday Tor gave me coffee with milk.
I realized that he’d made the coffee two days in a row. This is practically unheard of.
Tor gave me my coffee and stood in the bedroom doorway holding his coffee and his work stuff. “You’re a slug,” he said.
“I’m a slug,” I agreed. “Goodbye.”
Still in bed, I read another article someone had sent to me, for purposes of publication. It was perfect except for two typos and one small thing. I asked the writer a question about the one small thing. The writer fixed it. Now this, I thought, this is editing!
I drank my black coffee. I made more and made a piece of toast and buttered it and added a hard boiled egg. I got back into bed with my food and coffee and watched the last 20 minutes of a show called Safe which stars Michael C. Hall as a British doctor whose daughter has disappeared. I feel that when you are a writer, you must work very hard sometimes and then sometimes you must do absolutely nothing.
Safe is not a good show. No one in it is hot, except for maybe the blonde detective with these nice bangs. I have no idea why I watch it. I got egg yolk on the sheet. I stripped the bed.
I called to make an appointment to get my eyelashes dyed. At the salon where I go for this service and this service only, they answer the phone: “It’s a great day at [Annoying Salon Name], how can I help you?” The worst thing about this hideous little bit of branding, aside from how it must humiliate the poor receptionist, is that it lets me know that the owner of this salon is a complete psychopath, and I hate knowing that. I would so prefer to be in the dark about the personality of the person who owns the salon where I get my eyelashes dyed.
The eyelash lady is so adorable and kind. (I love you eyelash lady!) We were together for only about ten minutes but as always our conversation managed to cover some deep and fruitful emotional territory. I bought a flat white, which is different from regular coffee with milk in it, and walked home drinking it. I picked up my elderly Blue Heeler Merle and we walked to the office. As soon as we got there, Merle peed in a bed of white flowers.
I wrote fiction for several hours. The scene I was working on took place on a Metro-North platform in Grand Central Terminal in the late 70s, but was preppy rather than gritty, Candace Bergen in a Fair Isle sweater 70s New York rather than Pacino in a leather jacket 70s New York. I have given up trying to write fiction that is not about essentially preppy people. I am not sure anyone cares about them any more, but apparently I do.
I recently told a woman at a party that I was writing a novel and she asked what it was about and I didn’t tell her very much but I did tell her enough for her to start laughing at me and not in a nice way and then she gave me a compliment that can only be described as backhanded and then, partaking in what I’ve noticed is a habit of many women ten years younger than me, gave a damning soliloquy on the institution of marriage while gesturing broadly with her wedding-ringed hand. She was very pretty and successful, which perhaps goes without saying. It was a terrible conversation for many reasons and for a week I was like, God, what am I doing. Then I read a chapter of a book she told me she liked, and I was like, ok, whatever. Fuck her. I got back to my people, and their drives through lush summertime maple foliage, their train platforms, their unimportant problems.
My friend Mike was at the office. We have been sharing a space there for a long time and our relationship puts me in mind of siblings on a CBS sitcom. He told me he was going to see Hamilton tomorrow and that he was afraid he was going to hate it. I dared him to come back to this office and tell me he liked it. He said he couldn’t win. I said he could either be miserable for several hours watching Hamilton or be miserable for the rest of his life after telling me that he thought it was good. Then Mike’s dog farted and he tried to blame it on Merle.
Merle and I drove to the gym in Grass Valley. There used to be a gym in Nevada City, and I hate driving all the way here, but whatever. It’s how things are now. After I parked, I just sat there for a while. I have mixed feelings about the gym. I get a strong incel vibe from many of the patrons. On the other hand, it’s brand new, with a beautiful saltwater hot tub, and there are often nice women in the locker room to chat with. It’s not that I wasn’t sure if I was going to go inside or not, I was just kind of gearing up for it, reminding myself what was in store for me, good and bad.
I got on the elliptical and watched an episode of Safe. I recently found out that a friend of mine goes 45 minutes as hard as he can on the elliptical. I usually do intervals. But today I just kind of walked. I was in “everyone’s just lucky I showed up, ok?” mode. I would have preferred a different mode but this was the mode that presented itself.
I wanted to take a shower. I knew it would be good for me. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I gave myself a sort of sponge bath with the relatively clean bottom of my T-shirt, washed my face, put my dress back on over the leggings I’d worn working out, applied a sort of tinted chapstick product and decided I was presentable. Then I went to Natural Selection, the health food store conveniently located across the street from my gym, and bought a dozen eggs, blueberries, an avocado and, for reasons I can’t totally fathom, a package of frozen corn.
The radio was playing Summer of ‘69, which is the Bryan Adams song I hear most often and like the least. Run to You is much better and less played. I poured the blueberries into my mouth like water. Merle panted in the back seat. “I know it’s hot,” I said. “Your mom will take you home.”
I washed dishes, vacuumed and made hard boiled eggs. Then I constructed a sandwich: toasted wheat bread, one slice of Havarti cheese, one sliced hardboiled egg, ½ an avocado, pepperocinis, pickles, sprouts, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. It was amazing. I had about ¼ bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay left from the night before. I ate my sandwich and drank my wine and Merle, who is not supposed to be in the kitchen, sat in the kitchen, staring at me.
Tor called. I answered the phone: “It’s a great day at [Think of the Most Annoying Salon Name You Can Imagine, Truly] how may I help you?”
“Hey,” he said, “Do we have any food?”