Tuesday, June 12, 2007

30 Over 30 #1: The Day (Alone)

I wake up at 8 a.m. My cell phone is ringing. Actually, my phone has just emitted a short beep. Like a truck backing up, but only once. For a moment I reflect on the horror I might have visited upon myself if the phone beeped repeatedly, like a truck backing up. Imagine being awoken to the sound of a truck backing up beside your head.
I'm a light sleeper, but a heavy dreamer. Sometimes, especially now that I don't have to go to work as soon as I wake up, I linger in a half-dream-state and can't tell the difference between conscious and subconscious memories until well after my first cup of coffee.
My phone beeps again. Maybe a truck really is backing up beside my head! I snap open my eyes. No, it really was my phone. The second beep means I've missed the call and it's gone to voicemail.
"Blocked ID" reads the tiny screen on my flip-up phone. A third beep, which means the caller has left a message. sounds. But I don't need to check the message, I know who would call me at 8 a.m.: the phone company. Sometime on Sunday my landline stopped working. I didn't notice for nearly 24 hours. This made me sad and reminded me of Richard Brautigan, the American poet who died of loneliness (via a self-inflicted gunshot wound) in his own home. His corpse wasn't discovered for an estimated six weeks.
I check my message anyway, and I was right. The phone company had sent a serviceperson to fix the phone. When I called them the night before, they said someone would be by "between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m." I had imagined the visit would fall somewhere more centrally between the two inconvenient extremes.
I lay in bed a while longer. I hear a van pull up and then footsteps along the side of the house. A few minutes later the real phone rings--a sound I'd not heard in days. I don't answer that either.
Eventually the van pulls away, and I lie in bed, contented that the phone has been fixed as invisibly as it stopped working. Sometimes, the waking life holds as much mystery and wonder as dreams. You just have to put the effort in.

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