Friday, February 4, 2011

cummuting blues no. 1

Driving home after my sixth night in a row at work, thinking about how I should eat something, but nothing sounds good because what I'm really craving is a big glass of whiskey and something to write about. I am stumped for ideas.

I work in a bakery over night and I dump raw lumps of greasy dough into crusty pans, put them on even crustier racks, and roll them into the big stinking (well, not stinky since I scrubbed all the black mold out of it) proof box where they will become even bigger and sweaty and their sour odors will mix with the sweet smells of pastries and the fumes of onion and garlic and hot asiago of the bagels.

When they're done gestating in the womb of mother bread I will scratch at them with a cheap dull knife and throw some more sugar or cheese at whatever it is then roll it in the oven. While the products bake I will engage in a game with the oven in which I rotate products around on the rack trying to find just the right place in hopes of achieving the ideal color, or I will say "fuck this bullshit" and go smoke a cigarette. Depends on my mood and if one of my bosses or trainees is around.

When I'm done I clean and restock and do whatever else I need to do like hiding plastic gloves or a good knife I like to use I don't want ground down to a dull edge on a metal table from the day staff. Today I got snapped at by a cashier who must be close to sixty, is missing teeth, and sings very loudly in the morning. Too tired to snap back I just stood there and stared at her. She started apologizing. I wanted to accept the apology, but I'm too tired to give a shit about any of it. Feeling disconnected to the whole situation I just walk away. I don't have thoughts right now. I'm just a socket-eyed, living to-do list.

The traffic usually gets a rise out of me. Pick your lane, people! I see all the same damn Honda and Lexus drivers do the same rude crap every day and given that THIS is the most of my human interaction on a daily basis I start to really think I hate all human interaction.

I fantasize a flood that sweeps over the road and all the cars get washed away and mermaids and dolphins leap from the water. Noah's great rainbow arches over the scene. The survivors are those who do not drive like they are the only people in the world who have important destinations and are therefore entitled to hold up entire lanes of traffic, cut people off, or force other drivers out of lanes have been spared. The ones who signal with blinkers have been healed of any serious ailments and made young again. They swim to the tops of their cars where they sing praises to god or whomever and rejoice and wonder how the hell they're going to get to work.

In reality I am slumped in the car, a cigarette sitting in the pissy twist that is my mouth and laying on the horn at someone who nearly hit me. Maybe it's the curse of driving a tiny car, but it is at least twice a week I have to make someone aware of the fact that they are headed RIGHT FOR ME on the interstate. Assholes!

I am wearing all black if you don't count the fact that I look antiqued by the flour. I'm surprised the company I work for doesn't try to deduct the cost of the flour I find in my hair, behind my ears, in my shoes, pockets and everywhere else from my pay. I mean, they would do it if they could figure out how. I believe it.

At last as I turn onto the road where I'm staying I feel at peace. Now it's all over and I can go upstairs and write about something. The words will nourish me, the activity will soothe my feelings of loneliness, I will take a hot shower as long as I want because no one else is home, and all will be right with the world for the four to five hours I am asleep.

What the hell do I have to write about? I haven't thought of anything and certainly nothing will inspire me about today.

But, then there he is! He is amazing and completely out of place in this upper middle-class neighborhood. It's an old Asian man with a long flowing beard walking down the street, a massive backpack strapped to him, and two big gold earrings bling-blinging in the stingy light of this February morning. The wind is blowing his long gray hair that flows from beneath his fluffy UT Knoxville toboggan. In my head he becomes a kung-fu master in disguise with full on, anime physics super-abilities.

As I turn into the drive way building it up, I decide if I'd stopped to offer him a ride I would have in some zany way wound up his side kick. My main contribution to our adventures would be to pretty up a page, but my clumsiness would have made me hilariously useless in a fight. My special abilities would be swinging a bread peel extra hard at bad guys, never dropping a cigarette in the heat of battle, and scathing looks.

Now I'm home and can't think of anything to write about. So I guess I'll just drink and smoke and watch from the balcony for any signs of an epic battle until it's time for bed.

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