8.08.2009

Dear Future Generations,

I woke up at 5:15 yesterday to go swim my morningly mile in time for Lynn to run her morningly five, but when I reached the bottom of the stairway I heard an unearthly whirring, muted-screaming sound.  Like a belt thats lost its traction under the hood of your car.  After a bit of inspection, I decided that this belt was somehow connected to the timer device inside our 20 year old gas oven.  

This oven occasionally, on uber muggy days makes a clicking sound which means, apparently nothing, other than:  "You should probably remember that I'm a GAS oven, and I could either explode any minute or kill you very gently, very slowly without you even knowing it."  Those are the meanings of the clickings that Lynn's (incessantly generative and morbid) imagination assigns to the clicks.  

But the oven has never exploded or killed us softly, so we've made peace with the clicks, but NOT with this new noise.  Because we'd never heard this noise before.  

It was high pitched enough to absolutely command 75% of your auditory attention, but curiously, only loud enough to hear on the main floor of the house.  You couldn't hear it at all upstairs or in the basement.  But *if* Lynn came downstairs before I returned from my swim, her gift for imagining the worst-possible-outcomes would be whirring at the same frequency as this broken oven timer boxy type thing (mind you, I call it a gift, I am fully cognizant of the fact that someday we may all be saved, or at least granted a second life because of her shrewd and finely honed gift of worry).

I spent a few moments unscrewing this and that, pushing and probing here and there.  I quickly exhausted my modest handyman skills.  So I stood looking at the whining shrieking attention-sucking baffling tool-which-usually-brings-me-great-joy, but now threatened my (already precarious) ability to get a good swim in before the insistent mundane flow of the day ate all my ambition and self-direction.

Ugh.  I hate technology.  And I hate ovens.  And I hate being so middle-class wealthy that I can afford expensive tools, but can barely afford to keep pay a handyman to fix them.  

My final fix was leaving the following hand-scrawled note on the oven for Lynn. 

"I am satisfied that this is not gas related, but somehow connected to the timer.  (Push down on the dial and there will be some abatement.) Anyway.  I needed to swim.  I promise to work toward a solution when I return.  Damn conveniences."

My swim was amazing.  Baptismal.  Transformative. Renewing. Challenging. Rewarding. 

(etc., etc....I know, I know, blogs that gush about their author's good fortune do not make for good reading.  So I'll hurry from this brief reprieve of beauty back to my middle-class angst...)

I had completely forgotten about the high pitched whine, until I turned back onto Everhard, our street, which, at the early hour of 6:20 a.m. was still idyllically quiet.  

I pulled in the driveway. Readied myself.  Steeled my nerves.  Mustered my resolve.  I walked toward the door. Deep breath.  Opened the door.

Quiet.  Nothing. 

Lynn was waiting for me in the kitchen. 

"Hi."

"Hi?" she said. "What's this?"

She held up my irrelevant treatise: "...gas related...abatement...promise....damn conveniences...blah, blah, blah..."

I shrugged and explained the horror I to which I awoke.  

And then all morning thought about the way that new generations arrive into new social worlds and all the contracts, manifestos, promissory notes and instruction manuals carefully structured to bind particular brands of chaos which now seem so far removed as to be unimaginable.  

Are Human Effort and the Passage of Time mortal enemies?  Each working to render the other irrelevant?  And Passage of Time always snickering at the futility of its regularly defeated foe?

May your promises be modest, and your days full of -- 

~peace. 


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