The busy day began at 12 midnight, not at sunrise. Midnight found me still hip deep (almost literally) in cleaning up my office, a task that I never truly completed since Steph and Susie gave up trying to use it as a sewing room. The arrival of the new computer was also the excuse I needed to get to work and finally try to make the office neat. I’m still Walter Mittyish enough to try and imagine this room many years from now, the entrance door gone, and a cable-thick velvet rope across the doorway, while tourists gape through the doorway to behold the room where HE wrote the…
As I was making this room presentable, I subconsciously had that in mind when I envisioned the finished product. (TANGENT ALERT:
When my friend Robert Nedelkoff and I toured the Newseum in Washington in March, one of the exhibits we saw was the NBC News office of the late Tim Russert, Meet the Press
host. It wasn’t a pigpen, but there was clutter enough to make it appear that Russert had put in his share of long, sleep-deprived hours there over the years. Ironically, the Newseum is now the site of ABC News’ This Week
Sunday morning program.)
I had enough momentum going that I was reluctant to actually finish the task, even though I knew I was in the home stretch when I began taking bag after bag of accumulated trash downstairs to the big trash cans in the alley behind our house. I was appalled at how many bottles of flat bottles of Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist I found. Thank God I don’t smoke, because I would have burned down any of my dwellings long ago.
It was still dark out when I decided to immortalize the moment for posterity. That meant that I decided to christen the Kodak EasyShare C180 that came as a free gift with the computer. I posted the finished products directly to Facebook, but I would die before neglecting my Blogspot readers:
The center of operations, featuring my new HP open
on the desk, and the usual overloaded bookcases.
Yes, Virginia, there were reference books before
Wikipedia. Under Big Boy and the Smith-
Corona Galaxie XII manual typewriter, my New
English Bible occupies a carefully chosen spot. It
is nestled in between The Art of Fine Words, a tribute
to Arthur Hopkins (1897-1965), who was The Harvard
Crimson‘s head linotypist for 36 years, and the Thorndike-
Barnhart Comprehensive Desk Dictionary. My logic: The
first printers were monks who produced Bibles, sacred sheet
music, and illuminated manuscripts; the Bible is The Word; and
the dictionary is all words.
I’m not sure if I tried for the juxtaposition of the
different types of notebooks here. The plastic
drawers contain MP3 disks of various radio shows,
money order receipts, some rings I no longer wear,
etc. The screen-saver is a rare picture of a smiling
Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), along with his then-captain, Christopher
Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), from “The Cage,” the original Star Trek pilot–
later incorporated into Part I of the episode “The Menagerie.”
If I look up, here’s what I see. The headstone marks
the grave of my friend, Cincinnati-born novelist
Robert Lowry (1919-1994), and below that is a 1962
article from the University of Cincinnati News Record
about his book Party of Dreamers.
Simple explanation for this picture:
This is the gallstone Dr. Campbell removed
(along with the gallbladder) at Grant Medical
Center last February. I like it better where it is now.
I finally ran out of steam sometime around dawn. I could hear birds singing outside, and it was just starting to get light outside, but not bright enough to shut off the streetlights. I think meteorologists refer to it as civil twilight. When I went to sleep, I knew it would only be for a few hours, because Susie and I planned to go to church–the first time services were at 10 a.m., something that will continue until after Labor Day.
Susie went to a friend’s house after the service, and I went to Kroger to buy an Entenmann’s cake for a party she and I were attending in the afternoon (going all out!). My energy levels were beginning to flag, so I forced myself out of the house to buy bread and mail some letters at Giant Eagle. It didn’t perk me up as much as I would have preferred, because the walk to the party seemed to take forever, and it was only a little more than a half mile from our house.
The party (especially the company) invigorated me quite a bit. Good hosts, good people, good food, and good conversation all around. Our hosts are dear friends, but this was the first time I had ever been to their house. (Susie had been there before, several times as a toddler, and just last month for a baby shower, but it was my first time.)
Susie and I left the party to head north to our friend’s apartment to feed the cats, change the litter boxes, and make sure the two cats were fed and happy. Susie and I did manage to arrive at Olympic Swim and Racquet for the last hour it was open. I didn’t bring a towel or swim trunks, because I had no plans to get in the water. Susie changed in the locker room and was in the drink the minute they blew the whistle to announce that kids were allowed in the pool once again (the last 15 minutes of every hour are for adults only). I had brought my trusty portable office–the blue bag complete with diary, books, MP3 player, and Diane the microcassette recorder–along to entertain myself while Susie was in the pool, but I slept in one of the plastic deck chairs at poolside until someone came on the loudspeaker to announce the pool was closed for the night.
And now it’s midnight, and I’m wide awake! I thought I’d collapse over the keyboard while typing this entry. Susie has remained asleep, through comparatively high-decibel pieces such as Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” and The Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein.”
I’m having lunch with a friend at 1 p.m., so I can theoretically sleep until 12:45 if I want. I doubt I will.