Both Sides Now

Fridays baffle me.  After four days of work, my muscles sag like bags of pudding. I flounder through the house, unable to settle on any of the scores of chores that beckon.  Today held true to form.  I watched a couple of guys install my new generator, then took one of them to lunch in gratitude.  Afterwards, I spent too much time assembling its cover and making a video about it.  Later, as I ate dinner, I sat mesmerized in front of my tablet watching an amazingly talented woman who seems to do a ton of work while her husband films.  Needless to say, my clumsy installation of a generator running cover seemed significantly less impressive.

I make my videos on my cell phone.  Using the editing application, I bootstrap little segments into one movie.  My son tried to convince me to use an open source program but this process seems easier, if less glamorous.  I conceded professionalism many years ago.  I only ever have had one job regarding which I could claim that label and the discomfort I felt in navy blue suits killed the deal for me.  I’m an amateur; and I don’t mind.

As I scrolled through my cell phone looking for the bits and bobs of the afternoon’s activity, I realized that I had taken two shots of the trees above my neighbor’s house in the last week. I studied their stark difference.  A night sky; and the clear blue of today’s crisp January morning.  Both sides of a span of time:  The gloom of dark flooded with rhythmic hoots from the tall trees in the nearby meadow, and bright sunshine rippling with the noisy swell of geese in a neighboring field.  There’s something to learn from those two images.

Back in my other life, as a lawyer, I used a library table for my desk.  I didn’t like to place a wide swathe of imposing surface between myself and clients.  Even so, from time to time I went to the other side and sat. I saw what others saw.  My petite leather office chair; the wooden credenza on which my monitor stood; the photos of my son on the adjacent window sill.  I imagined myself, staring back.  Did they feel my sympathy?  Did I sound competent?  Did I seem. . . professional?  I’d stand and wander around the office, gazing at the paintings, the dusty windows, the toys in a corner basket.  I’d sit in the rocking chair and close my eyes, imagining myself in the grips of personal turmoil that necessitated a family law practitioner.  I would hold that understanding close, and take it back to my side of the desk.

The day has yielded to the night.  Dishes sit in my sink, waiting for me to summon enough energy to wash them.  Another Friday has eased itself into memory.  It’s cold in here.  I’ll make a cup of green tea, and snuggle into warm pajamas.  Before sleeping, though, I will stand in the open doorway and listen for the courting owls.  Then I will lock the door against the chilly air, and take my tea upstairs to the tiny bedroom of my tiny house.

It’s the twentieth day of the one-hundred and ninth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


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