This week I tried out the assignment, Another Day from the writing category. The details for this assignment is as follows:
“People often forget about how beautiful the world is, the way the trees blow in the wind, how flowers bloom in the spring and how amazing the grass feels on our feet. We come from a generation where the only beauty we actually see is over an electronic. Go outside every once in a while, smell the fresh hair and the flowers, lay down on a blanket in the grass and look up at the sky and see how the clouds look, We dont really live in a bad world, you are just blinded by what you see. Show me what you see.”
I was inspired to write about “another day,” when I read Maddie’s post, Another Day With The Dogs. Being a dog lover myself, I started formulating a response to this prompt. It’s so easy to get caught up in our daily lives, our computers and smart phones, that we start to dismiss life (and ignore our furry companions). What does “another day” look like when you are consciously trying to remember the details of a day as they occur rather than pushing them away? I decided to tell this story in two parts. The first part shows how we speed through life, and the second part is when we stop to smell the flowers.
Part 1: A Power Walk Past Life
My neck hurts.
The first thought that enters my mind each morning. I sleep wrong and never wake up right. I had set two alarms the night before (the chicken is set 5 min. later than my phone), but I’ve already hit snooze on both of them 3 or 4 times. My mind feels heavy. I remember dreaming about throwing knives at my computer. Why did I do that?
‘I have to get up,’ I tell myself. ‘I have 2 quizzes and I need to get my Major Declaration form signed. I’ve been putting it off.’ I struggle awake and get ready. I choose a pair of jean capris and a Homestuck shirt. Vriska’s symbol, because I need allllllll the luck.
The dogs are barking at the loft window like they do every morning.
“Oh, they’re here,” my mom says to no one as she rushes downstairs.
I look out the window and see a white van in the driveway blocking my car. I’ll have to take the mustang to school. Luckily, I checked the tires yesterday. They don’t hold air for long.
“The garage door guy is here. He’s been here before. Man, that guy can talk.” Mom says.
“Great.” I say.
I check to make sure that I have my phone on me. It feels heavy in my pocket- a reassuring weight.
I pour some coffee in a thermos, grab my bag and keys, and I’m out the door. The coffee is never hot by the time I take my share, but I don’t mind. I cross the threshold of the garage where an old guy with long stringy hair has a workbench set up. The first thing that hits me is the smell of cigarette smoke. I don’t usually mind that smell, but this…
I power walk past him as he tries to engage me in conversation. He only gets out a “how are you” before I make it to the car. I throw all of my bags in before I realize that I need to run back in the house for a forgotten item. Do I risk it?
I do, and as I leave the house for the second time, I get caught by Smokes-a-lot.
“How many daughters your mom got living here? She wanted me to program the cars.”
“Me. Just me.”
“That your car too?”
“One car for cruisin’ and one for business, ‘eh? ehehehe.
“uh…sure.” (How do I leave?)
“I wouldn’t take this nice car to school either, they’ll ding it up. This one time….”
(ugggghhhh, I don’t care, let me go).
“…and that’s probably why ya got this car, for when ye start havin’ kids? ehehehe.”
“Nope!” I make a dash to the mustang that’s parked on the street and peel off towards school as though my life depended on it.
‘C’mon, c’mon, walk faster or move out of the way,’ I silently seethe as I weave in and out of the throng of people bottle-necking the covered walkway at school. I start thinking about how this is probably my biggest pet peeve. When I walk slow, I stay to the right. Why do groups of people insist on taking up the whole middle of a path?
I jet past a stand on the left that says ‘Voting Registration,’ and one on the right that is for who-knows-what. I only notice the drink dispensers. I make the mistake of glancing over at the table to try and figure out what it’s all for.
“Hi, how are you today?”
“Hi, good.” (Sorry, no time). I walk past.
I huff and puff up the stairs of Trinkle and catch a breath inside, pressing the ‘down’ button on the elevator. (I’m so out of shape).
I step off the elevator and take my Major Declaration form out of my bag. A couple of feet down the hallway is a cluster of offices where professors hold hours. A guy sits on a teal couch just inside, staring at his phone. I gently knock on the wall as I peek into Ian’s office.
“Hey, Ian, I think I need this signed by you.”
“Yeah, no problem! Glad you’re declaring!”
Ian takes my form and I take my leave. I have a few minutes before class starts, so I sit down at the tables facing the elevator. A group of 3 students are chatting next to me. I overhear bits and pieces.
“I spent $99 on it. I splurged.”
“Yeah, I played the beta. It was good.”
“Smash Brothers tournament is Thursday.”
I try to focus on my notes before the quiz, but I can’t think over the conversation.
“You should wear pink again to the tournament just to mess with them.”
“To get into their heads.”
“To win again.”
I get up and make my way to the classroom. I either know this, or I don’t.
I look at the clock on the wall. I still have a whole 5 min. left to finish up my second quiz of the day. Only 2 other classmates are still working on the quiz. Everyone else has already left. I can’t decide whether the cardinality of this set is 3 or 1. Oh well. I get up and hand the piece of paper over to Anewalt.
“So, how’d you do, Miss ‘haven’t done high school math since 2004?'”
“Oh, I think I did OK. I had a quiz before this and I bombed it. We only had 10 min. to do the quiz”
“Oh man. Yeah, it can be hard getting back into the swing of things.”
“I think he was in a hurry to get his lecture in.”
“Yeah, we try and get in as much as possible in an hour. You should talk to him about it. Maybe he’ll move his quizzes to the end of class.”
I hadn’t considered talking to my professor about the quiz, but now it was all I could think about as I emerged into the bright light of day from the dark depths of the Trinkle basement.
I make my way to the mustang parked at the other end of campus. ‘I mean, I know the concepts. But I didn’t have time to read it carefully. 10 min.? I couldn’t tell you my name in 10 min. Never mind do long division.’ I formulate what I will say in my email on the drive home.
The radio is playing that new T-Swift song.
♪ You are somebody that I don’t know
But you’re takin’ shots at me like it’s Patrón
And I’m just like, damn, it’s 7 AM ♪
‘I don’t want to make a big deal about it. But I have to say something. maybe I can make it lighthearted.’
♪ So oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh
You need to calm down, you’re being too loud ♪
‘I’ll poke fun at myself for being slow. Am I overthinking this?’
The song changes to Barenaked Ladies’ One Week and I sing along as I pull up to my house.
Part 2: You need to Calm Down
I am showered with puppy love. I say ‘hi’ to all of my dogs by the stairs. I joke with them that they are ‘in jail.’ Gretel licks my face furiously. Each member of our household has a favorite Schnauzer, and Gretel is mine. The feeling is mutual. (We all love the Doodle equally).
“Dinner will be ready in 15 min.” Mom says.
I sit down at the kitchen table and finish the rest of my coffee from this morning. I never have time to drink it all before heading to class.
“Geez, that garage door guy can talk. He caught me on the way out,” I say.
“Yeah, he kept me outside for hours! I finally told him I had to go start dinner.”
“What? that’s crazy.”
“Yeah, and he had some stories! He told me about this one neighborhood with pineapple flags in front of all the houses. Pineapple flag, pineapple flag! The guy thinks it stands for peace and happiness, or something like that. He finally asks one of the owners, hey, what’s with all the pineapple flags?”
“Swingers! It means they’re swingers. And if the flag is upside down, it means they’re having a swingers party and people are welcome to join.”
“Yes! And he said one time while working in one of these neighborhoods, he saw a woman sitting in a lawn chair in the driveway, naked from the waist up. She moved her chair closer to the guy to see what he was doing. The husband was there working in the yard. He didn’t care!”
I listen in astonishment to the story that came from Smokes-a-lot. I somehow think it would have been less interesting to hear from his mouth.
Dinner is ready and I fill up my plate with noodles and sauce. I add lots of Parmesan cheese and grab a piece of bread off the pan that’s resting on a glass cutting board.
I stare out the backdoor window as I eat.
Light is playing off the leaves of the bushes and trees.
Inside, the dogs have calmed down and are spilled out on the floor. Kitchen talk puts them to sleep.
“C’mon, let’s go outside!” I say as I take the stick out of the backdoor and undo the locks. A flurry of motion happens as all the dogs rush outside. Vi always barks in excitement.
The bells tied to the door handle jingle as I slide the door open. I pull on it with effort- the door doesn’t slide as easily as it used to.
I walk down the patio steps and take in the sights. I always did think that our yard looks like a jungle. Banana trees with their huge leaves dot the landscape. Birdbaths, sculptures, flowerpots, tools, and rugs are placed haphazardly. Potted plants with flowers are still in bloom as Summer winds down. I hear a buzz near the willow tree and stoop down to find its source. A bee is flying around the purple flowers at the base of the tree. I try and take a good picture. ‘Stay still.’
I swat the mosquitoes away from my legs as I stumble backwards. I look at my phone ‘gallery’ to see if I got the picture. ‘Hey, not bad. It’s not as close-up as I wanted, but at least I got ’em.’ (I aspire to take good bug close-ups).
Doodle is nipping at the long-leafed bushes. She’s still young and has her puppy ways. She chases the other dogs around. Vi and Gretel run under the bushes and play ‘keep away.’ I notice Zoey is not out with us. Our polite senior. She prefers to stay indoors and rest.
The dogs mill about the yard for a time. Doodle sniffs at the air and looks towards the neighbor’s yard. She hears something that I don’t.
Vi pants and licks her snout.
“Time to go in!” I say as I head up the stairs. Some of them have already gone in via the doggy door. Vi follows me in. She’s the ‘needy’ one and likes the reassurance.
I lock the door back up and take note of my new bug bites.
“Another day in the life of me, huh?”
Happy dog faces look back at me.
I wonder if my professor has emailed me back yet.