Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ducks in a Row

It’s morning again.

I awake to the nasally pounding-like rhythmic punishment of my alarm clock. I appreciate the aggression with which it assaults me, because I know that only through some great amount of annoyance could I be made to rise from my dreaming.

I press the Alarm off button, but it doesn’t seem to work. The damned old alarm clock always wakes me but never seems to want to stop buzzing in my ear. I press furiously, and can only hope that it will stop. It complies with a residual whine, leaving the room in a silence that is palpable, the afterimage of sound still pressing on my senses.

My wife is beside me sleeping still, snoring again, but I’m used to it. They say that you become accustomed and even affectionate for the quirks of marriage. Snoring had yet to graduate into the bank of marital endearments that Dr. Phil’s book outlined. 

I’m staring up at the ceiling again, and the light is beginning to filter in through the drapes, silhouetting our tree out front, holes of light pinpricked across the ceiling; a kaleidoscope of nature.

I’m allocating a moment out of the seven minutes I have until I need to shower to squint at the light and think for a moment about the tasks ahead, while I muster the energy, the will, to get up and get to it.

So I’m getting out of bed again, and putting on my glasses. I’m clearing my throat and putting on my watch. My favourite watch; with the hands that tick so precisely in time, keeping me from being late. Its six twenty two, and I’m seven minutes ahead of schedule again.

I wonder at the irony of being regularly ahead of schedule. If I’m ahead of schedule every day, isn’t that just right on time?

There are no devoted moments to consider the points of scheduling philosophy for me, however, so I’m starting my morning stretching as always, hands towards the sky; my neck bending side to side and to and fro; working out it’s kinks again. I’m feeling spry already. 

I pull the covers off me, and I glance over at Miriam. Still asleep, still snoring, but beautiful also. No one can question my love for my wife; that much I know as always. 

“Are you making coffee again?” She asks me, and I reply I will, but I need to shower first.

I’m up and at them, in the washroom again; and I’m brushing my teeth. I use a Colgate electric toothbrush that reduces plaque. I have straight teeth. Some people tell me I have a nice smile. I’m working around the gums. Gingivitis is a problem for me, my dentist said. So I take an extra minute to do my dental diligence. There’s always time for vigour when it comes to hygiene.

I don’t smile to examine my teeth; I pretend to be something carnivorous, some terrible animal of prey, maybe a Lion in a cage, scaring kids at the zoo. It’s my private joke with myself. Some people tell me I'm quite funny.

I’m adjusting the knobs in the bath now, moderating the perfect temperature. Two turns counter-clockwise cold, one and a half turns hot; making for delightful measures of warmth again, just the right amount.

My glasses start to fog as I’m taking off my boxers now, and I wonder why I put them on if only to take them off. I recall that to read the time I need them to see the hands of course. 

No time for reflection on glasses protocol though, so I take them off my face. I put them on the bathroom sink as always, so I can remember where they are.

I’m stepping into the shower again, and beginning my morning grooming ritual. I catalogue the various items I use to clean myself. As always I start with a specialty shampoo; Miriam likes it so I buy it up in bulk. 

It’s scented of lavender and something else that I’m sure is from the far reaches of nature. Maybe some rare Amazonian reagent, maybe some fictional plant, or maybe just some abstract concept. Use our new body wash Simon, it’s flavoured Lavender Justice. Wash up Simon, smell like Truth or Beauty, Simon.

Sitting in silent subsequence is my body wash; flavoured moon lily. I’ve never been to the moon, but I guess there are lilies there. 

Finally some potent, effective, see-the-results-in-days-listen-to-the-testimony-of-these-celebrities facial scrub; consumer reports rating of five point five of six; which I use to exfoliate gently, as per instructions, as always. 

Now I’m clean and squeaky again, with my glasses on I check my watch – four minutes ahead of schedule as always, leaving time enough for coffee and a shave.

I'm dragging the razor across my throat again, chopping short stacks of dark Simon hair, leaving smooth pathways of pink Simon skin between foamy shaving gel. I'm feeling my face with my hand of course; smoothest shave that Gel Mach 14 can offer, with 13 micro blades, thin as atoms, could cut the coarsest hair.

I’m looking through my closet and I'm scrutinizing my clothing. My job doesn’t really require a full suit – I’m a medium to large account sales coordinator for a mid-level software company, not exactly a board of directors position. The hardest part of my day sometimes is picking out a tie. I have trouble deciding between saffron and maize, so I sometimes cheat and just wear yellow.

Yellow tie, pale blue shirt, dress pants. The holy trinity of work wear, I rarely deviate from what works. 

She’s making breakfast in her bathrobe as always; I appreciate her eggs. We share duties. I make coffee, she makes eggs. We’re a team. 

Black, no sugar, no milk. She’ll want the usual; she keeps it simple. I give her the cup, she takes a sip and she’s satisfied as usual. 

“Another murder in Charlesville they say, the fifth of them this week. You need to start locking the door.”

“Yes, dear.”

“I mean it Simon. This isn’t a joke, Simon. Are you even listening Simon?”

“Of course dear.”

“So you’ll be locking the door tonight I hope, because I don’t want to have to worry, Simon.”

“Don’t worry dear.”

We part ways sweetly, as always, a bye-dear and a drive safe-dear and a kiss upon the cheek.

My car is unspectacular; it goes from A to B. For it’s purpose it is precisely what I need, and I don’t lament it’s poor choice in colour, it’s boxy frame, and the smell that describes without words the hundreds of sweaty summer commutes.

Seven fifty eight arrives on time, my hand ticking just at twelve, the timing pristine. I’m two minutes ahead of schedule of course, and I’m hopping in my car. The commute ahead is twenty two minutes, and I’ll arrive ten minutes early for work, factoring in a minute long walk through the parking lot.

There’s no time for reflection regarding commuting though, so I’m starting up the car. 

There are four or five routes to work that I’ve explored, and the one I take is the most efficient; a short cut through the countryside, in fact, in order to circumvent the other commuters also busily speeding to their jobs. 

Always distracted and hurrying people; they’re drinking coffee in their cars, brushing teeth in cups, fixing Half-Windsor’s in windows, spreading mascara in mirrors. Sloppy and inefficient, they’re bumbling along the road. Silly, slow, and tired people, I bet they don’t even stretch.

So I’m taking exit thirty and I’m moving along the road, scenery blurring by. Trees swaying and brooks babbling to my left and to my right; nature tugging gently at my senses. I turn on the radio and keep my eyes on the road. Nothing I haven’t seen before, I’m habituated to its charms. 

Suddenly I’m beset upon by a curious sight to see in the road; a perfect row of seven ducks, beginning to cross the road. I stop the car to wait for them, annoyed that they are wasting my parking lot minute-stroll. 

They’re walking slowly straight in line, one after the other, like a military promenade; perfect, straight and yellow. Their heads don’t look from right to left, don’t check for predators, cars, or people. Oblivious and calculated at once, they’re nearly in front of my car.

Even their waddle begins to seem a determined strut, angling in and straightening out – like they had crossed a thousand roads in a thousand different lifetimes, reincarnated as ducks each time for yet another crossing. No rush or sluggishness, but rather the determined pace that encompasses the realization that the other side of the road is exactly where they plan.

I'm gripping the steering wheel now, as I realize I hate them.

That’s when I accelerate.

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