It was well after 6 PM when I realized that the day was gone. How could a Tuesday be entirely spent indoors…at this particular moment in my new San Francisco neighborhood? Actually, there was a break to the bakery down the street. I got the residents of the new house happily fueled on scones and sticky buns. But that was it. Oh, there was time outdoors after all. I forgot the long wait in front of the house. But I digress.
Unfortunately, the day began at 3 AM. There was a mishap. Jane is traveling on church business, attending a confab on disaster preparedness. And while she is Oklahoma City, I am sleeping alone in not quite the right part of the bed…and ill prepared for my own disaster. Jane helps me slide over at night, positioning me in the mattress’ center. To elaborate in merciless detail, this is the optimal position for someone with one usable hand, who has to lean over at night to grab, and use, a plastic urinal.
It was one of the latter – and there are two, bedside – that slipped from my hand long about 3 AM. The thing hit the carpet with a splashy thud. I swung my legs off the bed, sat up and looked down…to find a pleasant surprise. The urinal had landed upright, totally vertical. It sat on the carpet as though placed like a vase. Very well. It could stay there. I swung my legs back onto the bed, stashed them under the duvet…but not without grabbing the other, empty urinal for a final pee. And one could put it down to bladder level, the hour…and bad mattress position. Whatever. Somehow the second urinal also slipped from my grasp. Naturally, it landed on its predecessor.
No, 3 AM is not the hour to be throwing towels down on the carpet and running wheelchair tires to and fro. Not at all. Still, this technique…pioneered long ago and tested with other urine episodes…once again, worked. Actually, the new carpet may have something to do with this. Jane did the pioneering in this regard. After all, she must contend with not only me, but four additional mammals.
As for 3 AM, the problem is that one is still considering matters at 4 AM, 5 AM, rising slowly and reluctantly after 6 AM. And angry. Why me? Still, the anger is mixed with some degree of relief. After all, my brother and sister-in-law are here during Jane’s absence. And there’s every indication that this house is highly functional and even safe. I don’t take the latter for granted. The world is full of so many unknowns. But in the Rumsfeldian view, this is one of those known unknowns. The major unknown being the unknowable, principally the force that is described as Murphy’s Law in these, our United States, and as Sod’s Law in the UK.
What else can explain why, as soon as I make my morning bakery run, I launch into an exciting mercantile run…only to discover that my van isn’t. It’s inexplicable. No, the battery isn’t dead. A helpful man in a AAA truck has determined that. Why does a Dodge Caravan suddenly leave the Glen Park caravanserai? I try to think of all the things I might have done wrong. The first guilty pang centers around not driving enough…but no, the battery is fine. I did inadvertently leave a window rolled down the other night. This convinces me that someone fucked with the car. But how? Why? No, the car is reacting to our move…like Nutmeg, the cat. That is to say, entitled and erratic.
It is transformative, all this confusion. I can feel it. I can also feel that I am older than I used to be, which can be attributed to the passage of time. I’m not sure I like the passage of time. I liked the Passage to India a whole lot more. Still, only a couple of weeks in this city, and I’ve already met someone who likes EM Forster too. That’s, more or less, the benefit of being in a place like this. That and the mist blowing in from the Pacific with its swirling promise of moisture…while disappointing. I watch it sweeping across San Francisco’s southern neighborhoods on little cat’s feet.