Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ten minutes older.

Ten minutes older.

Ten minutes older. Twenty minutes wiser. Thirty minutes until you’re dead.

On any other day it takes ten minutes to walk the six blocks. Today it will only be six and half minutes when I reach the corner of Christmas and Kansas. Running fast. Running hard. There’s no time to stop but I wait at the corner for the red light to change.

A man riding a bike pulls up next to me. He claims to be homeless. I think when did the homeless acquire transportation. Foldable and aluminum space perfect transport. He says sorry to bother you when asking for money. Then why bother asking, because you aren’t really sorry for it. It’s funny but they all ask for money, not change. Money. It must be inflation.

Some mornings it takes ten minutes to boil eggs. The hot water has to come to a constant state of agitation before it can properly cook the eggs. This morning there were no eggs. But just as the hot water with it’s agitation I’m nearly ten minutes down the street, picking up steam. And there’s something more precious in my possession than a couple of fragile eggs.

Every minute that passes leaves you older. Older. Aging towards the eventual end. Don’t worry so much. In the grand scheme of things it will all be over soon. Right now as I wind the corner of Franklin and Kansas I find myself ten minutes older and learning a lesson or two that should have come sooner.

"Never be late. And more importantly… don’t buy the day-end flowers. She’s not going to want those."

The voice of my station manager, Stephanie echoes on the other end of the phone.

Thirteen voicemails, a broken alarm clock, and two espresso double shots later, I’m scrambling to make the 8am cattle call at the studio. It’s 7:42 am. Body is pushing the limits of break to move faster and the calls don’t stop coming in. The people I pass are more distracted by my siren ringtone than the fact that I’m wearing a Laker’s jersey over my Marc Jacobs three piece suit.

"Pick up the dry cleaning. Stop at Georgio’s for a delivery. And don’t forget the flowers."

The station manager’s list rolls out of her mouth like this is a hostage negotiation and someone has to get a bullet for every missed item.

"Then get Howard’s coffee from that other place. You know, shhh. Not the one that rhymes with Cars and Trucks. Remember his L-A-W-S-U-I-T."

Dry cleaners are on 18th. Franklin will cross that in five feet. Thirteen and half minutes.

The morning began with the sound of my phone ringing and it hasn’t stopped. She prattles on that zero percent milk and three sugars belong in Howard’s coffee.

Seven minutes for coffee at the other place. If the other place isn’t as popular why is there a line outside the door? Why are there no packets of sugar? Howard won’t drink it. Howard never drinks it. Back out and on the run. At the corner of 18th and Somerset,the homeless man on the bike is back and hits me in the shoulder.

Seven minutes are gone. This is a waste of my time and I’m now carrying a handful of plastic garment bags covered in spilt zero percent milk combined with Columbian roast from the other place. And a pocket full of precious from Georgio’s that will hopefully save the day.

Twenty minutes wiser. Should have gotten the coffee last. Older means wiser. You live and learn from your mistakes. Wise and racing to beat the clock. Next time arrive early. Order flowers ahead of time. And never answer the phone. Too late.

"Three packs of Marlboro reds and a copy of Vogue. She needs that too."

I can almost hear Stephanie filing her nails on the other end.

"Did you get the Laker’s jersey. Melborne needs the jersey."

Melborne is a dog. A very large dog. A black lab that needs a Laker’s jersey. A coffee covered Jersey that I’m wearing while running down 21st street with an armful of plastic wrapped clothing and a pocketful of cigarettes. Italian Vogue is in nestled in the front of my pants.

The people at the florist don’t know about flowers. Six minutes to discuss the difference between roses and lilies. I just want a bouquet of appropriate flowers. Stephanie says get lilies. Lilies are for funerals. The roses are ugly in this shop. Lilies are even uglier. The woman behind the counter has a thick accent that I can barely understand. She calls me Jim. I didn’t give my name. I leave with an arsenal of flowers. None are roses or lilies.

Three minutes to take an elevator seventeen floors. It should take one. The studio is silent.

The new intern says, “You’re late.”

I shake my head. I have at least a minute to spare.

The tiny little starlet screams in the distant corner of the studio and everyone runs. Hurry! Quick! She might explode. An indoor Vesuvius. What will they think of next?

“Where’s the coffee, the jersey, the precious, the magazine and cigs? Get rid of those flowers! NOW!"

Of course the flowers are all wrong.

It is late. My watch is three minutes behind.

There’s coffee on the Laker’s jersey. The magazine and cigs are crumpled. The homeless man pick-pocketed my pants and there is no precious necklace from Georgio’s.

Stephanie says “ You’re Dead!”

Thirty minutes you’re dead. And I would say I am. Except for the hole in the lining of my trousers that nicely holds a piece of precious hope.

Older. Wiser. Resurrected.

Not what was coming next, but the form on that particular item has me fascinated... Creatively for a couple days. This is relatively new. And still pressing on. There is more... Enjoy. m.

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