In the Moment

Pigeons coo outside my window, somewhere beyond my field of vision. They must be sitting on the roof right above me. Maybe they’re commenting on the heat, which is unpleasant, especially at this hour when the day is beginning to end. Or maybe they’re simply saying goodbye to the sun that’s starting its descent. I think they know that I’m writing about them, though, because they’ve stopped making their throaty, rolling syllables. They’re listening attentively now, wondering what on earth the strange fleshy being is doing, tap-tapping away on the flat black surface full of keys.

The fan is spinning lazily behind me, trying to cool down the air. The back of my tall blue swiveling office-chair cuts me off from the fan’s breeze, and I only feel a slight draft on each of my shoulders in turn as the air spins and turns, hitting the wall on one side and the closet on the other and rebounding toward my body, hunched over with knees drawn up to my chest and arms wrapped around them.

I look down to see if my toe-nails need clipping yet. They don’t. I’m proud of my toes, in the way that one can be secretly proud of things over which one has absolutely no control. My toes just grew the way they are, all straight and even, without the second toe being longer than the first. I certainly didn’t do anything to help them grow this way, so why do I still feel proud of them? I suppose because they’re part of my body, and so meaningful to me.

I haven’t always been able to do this. It’s taken me a long time to teach myself how to concentrate, even if only for a few short minutes, on the here and now and how it feels. Now that I’ve trained myself to be more aware of my surroundings, I try to encourage myself to think about how I feel and what exactly my senses are telling me. It’s extremely calming.

Are you able to be in the moment? Do you need to struggle to notice your surroundings? Do you ever take the time to concentrate on relaxing?

A Bus Ride to Say “I’m Alive”

I got on a bus at the corner of 33d and 7th. It was a big bus; red and black, with a white lightning bolt emblazoned on it. The message was clear: this bus was express, fast, and going places.

The driver, Miss King, was a black woman with frizzy hair and a wide smile. She was big, and as she walked down the aisle to use the bathroom before we started out, she asked people to excuse her. I guess she felt that squeezing her bulk through required an apology. It didn’t, really. She looked happy and comfortable the way she was. She shouldn’t have been apologizing to anybody. A man in his twenties wearing a red-and-black baseball cap (did he wear it to match the bus?) eyed her lasciviously when she passed by. They bantered for a bit, flirting casually.

The bus ride was long. Four hours and fifteen minutes. Not as long as a lot of the flights I’ve been on, but long enough. I slept for about forty minutes, but that’s it. Sleep and I aren’t the best of friends these days. I don’t know what happened between us. Maybe sleep was offended by me somehow? Personally, I feel hurt that sleep comes to visit so reluctantly and leaves so quickly after he arrives. Maybe we’re just playing a pride game now, neither one of us willing to apologize and make it up with the other because we each think that we’re not the ones to blame for this estrangement.

I thought that we saw Baltimore twice, but it was actually only once. The first time wasn’t really Baltimore. When we actually saw it, I was surprised because it looked exactly like I imagined it. There was a port that seemed to cover half the city with boxes and shipping-yard type stuff. The rest of the city was smoggy but beautiful.

Spring Break sounds like the name of a movie with drunk teenagers and naked blondes. Or maybe it’s a safety video about how to take care of trampolines. What spring break really is right now is a piece of family in Virginia, a road-trip, and a lot of homework.

I’m writing. I’m writing almost every day. When I don’t, I feel odd. A red Moleskine has become a new journal. It’s too conspicuous to be one, of course – it fairly screams “Open me!” – but I’m using it anyway. It’s important that I keep using pens. I never want to get to a point where I don’t love pen and paper anymore.