Life: Grumpy and Confused Morning

November 10, 2006

I woke up about 20 minutes later than I normally do, in that twenty-minutes-late panic that makes one very awake, very immediately. A contrast to my normal slow wind-up into the day. Simon, the cat, was sitting upright on a dining room chair waiting impatiently for me. Of course when I gave him attention he seemed all annoyed and confused. I don’t know where the dog was, maybe with the husband, who was also missing.

Things started to go a bit awry when I decided to get a latte on my way into work. This always indicates a fit of laziness, because we have coffee aplenty at work, and milk; I just hate the process of waiting for the crappy coffee pot to finish brewing, or, god forbid, having to make a pot myself. On the other hand, I’ve been trying to frequent the Coffee People drive-through on Grand Ave by the convention center, for which I both have a fondness born of many years’ patronage as well as a pre-formed nostalgia for its loss, as nasty old Starbucks has bought out the entire chain for its lucrative drive-through locations.

Unfortunately, my arrival at the drive-through ordering menu board and an NPR report previewing Windows Vista’s new start-up sounds coincided entirely. So as I breathlessly awaited the result of Microsoft’s entire team of composer-engineers over a two-year period, I missed the guy asking me what I wanted in a coffee sense. And then when I did hear the speaker, I thought the voice talking to me was a computer. It took several prompts by the poor drive-through guy before I got it together enough to order a coffee.

When I reached the drive-up window, I paid in exact change (something so rare for me that it might be akin to good luck) and put my latte in my car’s aft cupholder and then sat there looking at the drive-through guy…waiting for my latte. Or my change. Or something that wasn’t coming. For several beats, while he looked at me curiously. Finally realizing my idiocy, I lurched my car forward away from the take out window and then, of course, water came pouring in because, well, it’s freaking raining.

I’m already at this point about fifteen minutes later than I’d like to be given my current week’s workload (moderately crippling but not maiming). When I hit the Central Eastside Industrial District, where Kavi is, I immediately start trolling for parking, starting from the distant, good end where parking is usually relatively plentiful. Not so much today. I drive around for five minutes or so and then give up and realize the only parking is going to be down by the river.

As soon as I point the TT’s nose towards the river end of the street, I hear a noxious honking and realize there’s a train coming and I can’t beat it. And it’s one of the occasional freight trains, heading north, that slips along at approximately human walking speed. Fully laden, forests worth of timber, groaning, rumbling. I give in, sit there, sipping the latte ocassionally.

At the last, the train passed. But the gates didn’t go up and the lights didn’t stop blinking and the bell didn’t stop dinging. That’s because another train was immediately coming, headed south. I had one of those moments where one lets everything internally slide into the realization that one is going to be late, a sort of melting feeling.

When I finally did get to the office, damp from my several-block trek, deeply and irrationally annoyed at every empty 1-hour, 2-hour and 30-minute spot I passed (as more and more trendy small businesses and eateries move into the area, more parking is being converted from permit-all-day parking to timed spots; it makes a formerly competitive parking situation an all-out battle on some days), I see this weather forecast and I am just about depressed now.

(I’ve been reading Virginia Woolf, who makes it apparently OK to write long, rambling passages about very short slices of time during which nothing happens.)

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