Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Spring Ahead / Fall Back

Sunday morning, at 2AM, our clocks raced ahead, simultaneously defying the abstract logic of time and revealing its arbitrariness, to remove an hour from the morning, plump with daylight, and graft it onto the afternoon's shoulder where it is more urgently required. I was awake at the hour formerly known as 2 and was in the company of friends, misbehaving. At the hour formerly known as 2:45, I espied on the cable box's clock the legend, "3:45," and blurted out in resigned horror, "Oh God we lose an hour tonight."

What an odd thought.

Today, upon completing my triangular commute with energy to spare, I walked the bike upstairs, dropped my bag, changed out of my pants and into shorts, and returned with my bike to the street, where I rode off on an errand undefined, tilting at the windmill of my own excess energy, rolling for rolling's sake. The sun still hung high in the sky, warming my back, for once naked of bag large or small; I figured to tarry close enough to home that any mishaps could be walked home. Around Bloomfield I rode for a time, then to the border of East Liberty, up Highland Avenue and back into the tree-lined streets of Shadyside, destination Walnut Street where the Pretty People roam (a few of them straight, as though pretty weren't enough).

After hitting Walnut both ways, meandering to Negley and then back across Ellsworth toward Oakland, turning for home on Morewood and heading back into Bloomfield, I found myself back on the porch, perspiring, water bottle still cold in my hand, sitting on some furniture discard, the one cushioned chair on our porch, the sort of seventies kitsch article of furniture totally inappropriate for outdoor use, which I might burn in the street if a Pittsburgh team ever won anything.

The sun still lit the street, at a 6:30 I knew as dark not so long ago. The water inspired my mouth, and for the thousandth time this month, I chastised myself for drinking less than I should. Yesterday, bafflingly, I went an entire workday without water, a fact all the more appalling in light of my four-mile bike commute in and my similar trip home. Instead, I found myself guzzling as much water as I dared at 4:45, hoping to preempt the imminent threat of fatigue or, worse, cramping.

Long after I had drunk my fill on the porch, I remained on the porch, watching the congress of street traffic, an unfamiliar African-American neighbor eyeing warily his curbside pile of garbage which my obsessive-compulsive neighbor had fortified with various detritus culled from the shadows around several neighboring houses, two mothers strolling children, a middle-aged man in slacks breaking into an unaccountable canter with his astonished terrier, who dragged his leash behind him in the street with leg-pumping enthusiasm, a pretty girl in filthy jeans and a tight Superman T-shirt, her bob violet in the sun and up-turned around her neck. Leaves moved gently in the breeze.

(Not leaves. There are no leaves yet. But branches moved with the suggestion of leaves, like an exotic dancer with the suggestion of sexual gratification.)

Two joggers passed once, again, and a third time, trotting a lap which coursed across my field of view against the flow of traffic, neither looking visibly spelled or in much of a rush to get anywhere. The door opened inside the foyer, and out strode my pretty Asian neighbor, casting toward me a verbal greeting and a dissonantly quizzical look, a hybrid salutation impossible to decypher, which made surrendering to ignorance palatable.

The sun: a blithe accusation. I woke to light. I returned home to light. My lassitude undressed in its glare, I feared my inaction, quietly castigated my complacence, from my safely recumbent posture on the chair, head propped awkwardly by my helmet against the back of the chair. It occurred to me to remove my helmet, unfasten the top strap of my tight shoes, go upstairs for a magazine perhaps, but amidst these swirling conjectures I remained still.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.


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