Friday, March 11, 2011
Meeting people who you just never stop talking with. The people who, within 1 or 2 good long conversations, you suddenly find yourself discussing everything you can think of. It used to be we found those conversations at the all night coffee shops, but people get older and have to wake up for work, and forget to be interested in other things, even though inevitably at first it's the talk of ex relationships. Girl or Guy, it always comes up and quickly between new people. Cause let's face it, if you're really introducing yourself to someone, if you're being honest with yourself, those exes are critical phases of your development. You get older, they rack up like chips, becoming maybe the first thing you want to know about that person. How fucked over have you been? How fucked up have you been? What lengths did you go to, and why do you think that was, and what do you think you failed at, are failing at still?
Or perhaps that's just a portion of us. Or maybe that's just how it always happens with me. I mean, there's someone else in the conversation, so it can't just be me. It must happen to them too.
Took notes all night, sipping coffee black with Jameson's, in a little soft tip blue pen in a little blue notebook and my friend drew lots of diagrams and graphs. And jesus, did you ever have a moment where you remembered having all the same stories at one point in your life, a catalog of quaint events that got repeated to boys, and right now you're listening to yourself talk and you realize that the entire catalog has been backlogged and burned and suddenly there's this whole other cache of things you're mentioning. You have somehow lived enough time that now there is a whole 'nother set of stories to tell, that you hadn't even realized were stories until you thought of them, sitting at a wooden booth and wiping burger grease from your fingers as daintily as one can hope to ever complete that awful task.
The bedtime story tonight though is how I drove home from Cedar and Lee tonight, all the long slow way back to the West Side and the safety of a garage. It had snowed a lot more than I thought when we finally left, and it was sticky and feathery. Like, if there's snow powder, than this is snow cotton candy. I cleaned off my car, and almost got hit by some guy backing out of his driveway when I left the parking lot, he just kept backing straight up, and every goddamn conversation with clients I had today flashed through my head, and I swerved just a little and rolled on past safely. Cedar Hill is what scared me, this steep curvy descent, the kind of road that in traffic causes you to judge your space in the lane closely, and in the rain you end up braking the entire way down, just to stay within the speed limit and not rocket down the street. But I coasted down carefully, and everything down Carnegie was fine, white but new.
When I turned onto E.55th, there were no rules anymore, cars just made their way best as they could. Cause the problem with E.55th right now is that it has been beaten apart by potholes. I mean, not little cracks, but huge deep gaping tire eating holes. Big square chunks of collapsed asphalt. It occurs to me that E. 55th might be the chewy poison center, the fault line of Cleveland. Perhaps there is just some chemical burning up from the sewers, eating away the concrete and brick and industry. So you can't stay in your lane, you have to drive with your eyes peeled for shadows and tell tale dips. It is a fucking obstacle course that road. Which is terrible when you are driving it, but the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you make it past the last one right at the entrance to 490 is hot.
The highway itself I had complete control over, riding on that high from playing the pothole video game. I stopped at Dunkin Donuts to buy coffee for tomorrow morning, having mistakenly bought whole beans at the grocery store and oh my me without my grinder. Everything was empty, the parking lots and streets. The traffic lights continue changing for no one. Driving up to my house, I saw a young guy walking in the street on his cellphone. Dressed in standard issue Northface, red baseball cap, collared shirt. Can't understand why anyone would be walking in the neighborhood on their cellphone in a snowstorm at 1am, but I'm sure it's worth knowing. Meaning, I would like to know please. And I might have actually asked him, but he had turned the corner by the time I parked the car and made my way up the driveway with baby blue steps.
Edit: And all this was what I was doing while earthquakes hit Japan on the other side of the world, and tsunami waves fractured across the Pacific Ocean. A thought that overwhelms me with size.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 12:59 AM