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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

breaking the habit

there is something to be said for the reassurance and reliability of ritual. yet, i'm not so sure if it's because it gives you meaning or because it helps you forget about the fact that you have none.

an elderly woman walks her dog in my neighborhood every morning. at precisely 7:18 on any given weekday, i can find her rounding Chestnut Drive with a dog that looks nearly as old as she. he sniffs the patch of trees and swamp that border our development and she lifts her arm. i can't exactly say that she waves to me. i see her look up and acknowledge my car. then i see her look back at her dog as if he'd said something important she'd neglected to hear. lastly, still eyeing the pooch, she reaches with her limp hand, so slowly it's painful to watch. just before her arm forms that perfect angle, she drops it again, nearly as slowly as the ascent.

now i am privy to this remarkable force of habit because i myself am always out of my house at precisely the same time each weekday. my mornings are always the same. and if, for some reason, they differ because of some horrific stroke of luck, my day is bound to be full of even more errors and mishaps. there will be an overturned tractor-trailor on 84, or i'll spill coffee from my styrofoam cup onto my crisp, white cotton shirt.

or his wife will call the office.

and i'll be reminded of the dangers of routine. that comfort of just going through the motions without having to think. your muscles and heart just move and beat and things happen.

her voice snaps me out of the warm, hellish comfort zone. no, i'm sorry, Linda, i think he stepped out. i'll go check. i know exactly where he is. and i've nothing to hide. our ritual is just flirtation. just knowing desire but not having its lead. but i'm guilty and my face burns with it. i cup my hand over the phone and yell for him. i know he won't answer. he stepped out. but i'm guilty because i know and she doesn't. she, his wife, doesn't know. should i take a message? her voice is sweet and gentle and timid, almost. but i know, and everyone knows, the passion within even the weakest of sounds. she declines my offer and i hang up quickly without saying goodbye.

this is a gaping crevice in my ritual. but i don't fall in and i don't jump across. i raise my arm limply, but assuredly, reaching for the line to ring the bell.

i want off.


At 9/07/2004 06:41:00 PM, Blogger ClaudBLOG said...

you are very intuitive...


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