Scene from a Low Budget Restaurant at a Lower Budget Hotel, Right Off the Highway

I’ve left Tom and Ernie to sleep in the room so I don’t disturb them.  A little girl, maybe four, is hanging from the bar trying to see the fruits.  She’s wearing pink velour pants with camouflage rubber rain boots.  An urgent beep! beep! beeping from the waffle iron.  Wouldn’t it be so awesome to have one of them at home?, says the girl’s mother. 

CBSSports, Nascar News, snowmobiles race around a track, climbing and falling over moguls of packed powder.  (God, that track is really rather tiny.)  From the front camera angle they look like headlight-nosed reindeer jumping through a field.  Why would one do the coldest, most monotonous and uncomfortable sport in North America?  The gladiators of Michigan, sponsored by SkiDoo.  The television in the opposite corner features the robot competition of a science and technology conference.

March is the month that I gain weight and this year is no different.  You would think December’s holidays or February’s sedentary evenings would do it, but no.  I’ve been watching myself and it’s true that March would be the fatty month.  It’s just warm enough for me to think I’ll go outside and exercise today, but in the end, not really warm enough.  Meanwhile, I’m tired of counting winter calories.  Last night I asked Tom for a candy bar and he brought me a hot chocolate.  What the hell?  I asked him to go out and buy me a candy bar again.  He wasn’t happy, and I’m not either now that it’s morning and I regret the late-night nutritional fail.

This restaurant is closing in fifteen minutes.  The toaster will be put to bed until tomorrow, and the fruit salad cocktail will, I imagine, be dumped back into the bucket from whence it came.  Maybe it will be thrown away, but I doubt it.

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Getting back to writing

I really want to write again and to find that little inner buzz that making beautiful words swing together created for me many years ago.  I’ve fallen out of the habit, and with each year that passes, the fear that I’ll never feel even a little bit good as a writer grows stronger.  Recently I’ve noticed that even writing letters or a little dinky press release has strained the muscles of my inner scribe — who has clearly atrophied beyond recognition — so much so that the intuitive clauses and punctuation marks that once seemed so obvious are gone.

So, again, I’m here to do my time.  To bide my weary brain.  I don’t know what that means.  But, to allow myself to write shit about shit and be okay with that.  How annoying.

I’ve had some things come to mind that would maybe be rich vignettes.  Turning 40 seems to have put a new face on my old childhood.  What once seemed common and unremarkable has become a complex shape in my hand that can be turned and examined from any number of angles.  Some of these ideas are:

  • Waiting at the bus stop with frozen hair
  • After school, coffee ice cream, and Judge Wapner
  • There’s been one particular one on my mind for days, even just an hour ago, and I can’t remember.
  • The curling iron
  • What WAS it?
  • Babysitting for the Boyers — Was I fired?
  • The day I realized ___________ — The one I’m trying to remember starts like this, I think.

It’s driving me crazy that the reason I resuscitated this journal is the very prompt that escapes me now.  What the hell was it?