BLESS THE LORD: EARLY DECEMBER ITINERARY
5:39AM: look at clock. Remember reading an article in which a personal trainer claimed that getting enough sleep was just as important as exercising. Believe it fervently.
6:46: remember that the singer from the band may be coming home with you tonight. Get up too quickly. Narrowly miss crashing into doorjamb. Weave before mirror. Wash face.
6:49: take yesterday's clothes from behind bathroom door. Make bed. Start a load of laundry.
6:58: begin ironing two-hundred fortune-cookie fortunes which you've had crumpled in an envelope for two years, but which, for some reason, must be ironed this morning, even if it means being late for work. Consider that this may mean leaving the frame shop kid out in the cold for half an hour.
7:15: continue ironing. Sort fortunes into duplicates, in order to use the "learning Chinese" segment printed on the back, as well. (Reverse of Your Life's Foundation Is Becoming Quite Strong: "bu dui" No, it isn't.)
7:48: begin itinerary.
7:54: consider frame shop kid. Hang laundry up anyway. You're going to need those jeans tomorrow morning.
8:03: leave pajamas on floor of laundry room.
8:05: shower, cursorily.
8:09: weigh yourself. See?
8:11: realize you haven't changed your towels since he'd been here last. Hope he'll assume you've washed them since then.
8:16: realize you've left the ironing board up. Leave it. Hope it'll contribute to the illusion that you've washed your towels recently.
8:20: Bless the Lord that the disheveled punk look has finally been coopted by traditional women's fashion houses.
8:22: make the cats another promise you don't intend to keep.
8:25: finally find cell phone on floor of car. There's a message. Don't check it.
8:27: take out 8 Mile soundtrack and put in Elvis Costello. Feel like a fraud. Try to put some spin about your catholic tastes on it. Know you're a fraud.
8:36: open frame shop. No sign of frame shop kid. Go upstairs and turn the heat up to 85 again.
8:38: are you allowed to lie in these things?
8:45: realize the clock in the office runs later than the one in your car. Turn on the computer. Open up the activities list you turn in to your boss on a weekly basis. Check phone messages. Check and respond to email.
8:47: turn all the lights on, so you won't go blind, like Milton.
9:07: is leaving stuff out lying?
9:20: call the music reporters you should have called yesterday to let them know they're on the list for the show tonight. Forget your own phone number. Cover this fact by acting thoughtful. Realize you should have sent kits out for the Kalamazoo show last week. Check the date in hopes you're wrong. Tell yourself that no one reads the monthlies anyway.
9:28: who the heck was calling you at 7:25 am? Check your cell phone message. Wonder if someone who calls that early to ask about a show really, really deserves to go, or shouldn't come at all.
9:29: call them back with the door time.
9:33: call the kid who quit last month and leave your daily message about how you need your stuff back. He's started using again, and the messages are getting weirder and weirder, but he hasn't changed this one since yesterday: it's still an audio clip from the Spider Man movie: Tobey Maguire begging to be let out of the cage he's locked into with the crazed wrestler. Wonder why you don't take "Call John" off your To Do list. Wonder what he does with your messages.
9:36: staple faxed invoices to original order sheets. File by gallery.
9:37: put in the Elvis Costello R&B CD. Grin. Bless the Lord.
10:15: pay bills.
10:32: pay Payroll.
10:33: frame shop kid finally rolls in.
11:18: clip payroll checks to broken clipboard. Consider ordering new clipboard.
11:28: black dog in pen out back makes a brief escape. He knows its too slippery for his owner to chase him.
11:40: order Borges Non-Fictions as a Christmas present. Try unsuccessfully to order the Elvis Costello R&B CD as a present. Fail. Decide he wouldn't like it anyway.
11:45: finally succeed in ordering Elvis Costello CD. While celebrating, realize you charged it to your boss's VISA.
11:47: check email. Discover you billed the CD to your bosses expired VISA. Go back in and put it on your debit card.
11:50: take call from brother. He's running late.
11:51: get out Fortunes album. Pull all duplicates of those you added this morning off previous pages. Add new ones in empty spaces. Consider how to explain the current scene to the frame shop kid if he comes upstairs.
12:06PM: brother arrives. Let him wait downstairs while you find a duplicate copy of "Soon You Will Be Sitting On Top Of The World."
12:08: drop off mail.
12:09: realize you're overdressed for the Black Sheep Tavern. Go in anyway.
12:14: it's the grouchy waitress today, not the one who's missing fingers.
3:46: finally get off the phone with N. Turn heat back down to 60.
4:02: the houseman shoveled your boss's steps without being asked. Bless the Lord.
4:03: but not the ones that go to your apartment. You'll take what you can get.
4:04: nuzzle white cat.
4:11: black cat insists she should go to the show with you, since she matches the trim on your jacket. Failing that, black cat takes to the sink.
4:28: consider changing your clothes. Decide it's too cold.
4:32: wonder how you knew today was one for an itinerary. Wonder how its all going to turn out. Wonder what you thought was going to happen.
4:44: make a wish.
4:45: get stuck at traffic light overlooking commuter lot where you left your true love early last month.
4:49: calculate that none of the cars at the last turn to your folks house will have your true love in them, because he wouldn't be in town visiting his dad this early in the weekend. Bless the Lord.
4:50: true love.
4:53: kiss mom, pet dog.
5:08: casserole. Citrus Salad. Recriminations about father's punctuality. Bless the Lord.
5:08: Mother says it's 5:08 again because she just reset the clock, but you suspect a more sinister explanation.
5:52: play Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Silver Bells on the piano. Try to decide which one of them is the saddest song in the world.
5:58: realize how much more time is spent driving from place to place when you live in a small Midwestern town than when you live in a big city. Recognize the narrative advantages of this in an itinerary, as readers really have no idea how long it should take you to get anywhere. Remember other benefits of this same phenomenon, in creating other narratives, totally unrelated to itineraries.
6:05: forget the name of the guy from the Flint Journal for three miles. Finally remember. Call brother to tell him to put DP and Rachel May from the Free Press on list.
6:17: in dark, put CD in at random. Blood on the Tracks.
6:21: almost chicken out on second song. Don't skip it after all.
6:24: remember singer thinks he just lost his true love. Think you don't think she was. Remember everyone else thinks this about yours. Wonder if this is a hallmark of true love. If not, wonder what is. Think about trying to get this all down later. Decide you better try to get it down now.
6:54: Trinity House. Brother couldn't find list. Neither can you.
6:55: make list out of paper intended for itinerary.
7:03: lose a key in the bathroom. Find a key you're not convinced is really yours.
7:05: listen to the soundcheck through the doors. Bless the Lord.
7:42: backstage, brother is still trying to pick a band name. His favorite: Hell Toupee.
7:38: stand at window watching traffic for E, just like you did on Halloween.
8:11: brother's band takes the stage: red sweater, turquoise chair.
8:13: music begins. Forget itinerary.
10:17: talk with brother's grad-school friends in lobby. End up next to the girl who was dressed as Cher for Halloween. Her real name's Hillary. Refrain from saying "that fits."
10:51: convince E. to finish the last five drawings for Handbook for Spies. Watch him do the Ferris wheel, suit of armor, playing card, gas pump, and binoculars while the band packs up.
12:17AM: arrive home, singer in tow.
12:32: what becomes of the broken-hearted? Photography. Theology. A few books. High-school stories.
3:15: the underground Beck CD he's got with him, for some reason.
4:03: fall asleep while he's brushing his teeth.
4:17: wake back up again. Find him on the couch asleep.
4:18: return to room. Creep into bed. The radio said it'll be warmer tomorrow. Bless the Lord.