I spent an hour and a half on the phone with a lady at Blue Shield who possessed a wealth of minutia about Medicare supplements, except the tiny detail of whether the vision coverage would pay for the prisms in my glasses. She covered everything else, though, including the potential price spread if I called other companies. As my current provider, she could create the application and send it to me for DocuSigning. My next call netted the welcome information that my Medicare enrollment had been authorized and my card mailed two or three weeks ago. I should call back, Heather told me, if I did not see it within the next ten days. I promised I would and told her to stay safe, the startling and new way in which we all close our conversations these days.
At the end of those calls, I found I had time on my hands. I used five minutes to check my mail (no card) and exchange pithy observations with a couple of my neighbors. Another half an hour saw lunch made, a YouTube video watched, and dishes done. Suddenly, four days loomed ahead of me and I had no idea how I would consume them. Would I fritter them away, as I seem to have squandered most of 2019 and the first quarter of this pandemic year?
I dragged myself, my laptop, and my Canon with its broken lens cap out to the deck. I gazed behind me as a hummingbird flitted from my feeder to my neighbor’s flowers. I caught a blurry photo of him at which I stared, fascinated by the line of his small feet. I followed the quarter-inch to his beak, buried in a blossom while he fluttered his wings to stay level.
One click over, I discovered a photo of a hawk that I took on the way home yesterday, and another of a blackbird on a utility pole. The casual usurpation of human accoutrements continues to fascinate me. Today, sitting on my deck, I wonder if I could fare as well as these wild unfettered creatures. They tack around the barriers which we scatter before them. They rise higher. They skirt ungrounded wires. They flick their wings and lift their bodies to impossible heights, above the fetid funk clinging to the low lying clouds of the Bay. They leave us earth-bound, standing in the feeble light of our open car doors, straining to capture the grandeur of their flight.
A songbird twitters from the eaves of my neighbor’s house. Leaves flutter to the ground as a woodpecker drills away at the rough trunk of an ancient oak. My neighbors shrugged when I voiced envy of their weekend camping trip. “There are plenty of tents to be had,” Noah observed. I could drive to the ocean. I would have to find an open Jiffy Lube, and some way to get gas with a faulty flap door which requires two people for deployment. With hotels closed from here to Marin County, I would need to sleep in my car, or drive all evening to get back home. The risk would have huge payoffs. I might just do it. Tomorrow, maybe; or Sunday.
But for now, I sit on my plywood 8 x 8, next to my shallow porch, outside my tiny house, and dream of ways to spend the hours of time on my hands.
It’s the twenty-second day of the seventy-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.