A Whirlwind of Thought and Contemplation
by Patrick Clapp
I nearly do not know where to begin, the past twenty hours are a swirl of impressions, thick strokes of brilliantly muted colors pushed about a canvas of a bleary Boston fall. I find myself staring at the back of a sign I have passed many a time reading once more its damning words of faint praise, "Sleep now for you were not a spectator but part of the spectacle."
The dreary dray doldrums of an almost rainy afternoon throw into focus the last gasp of green from the doomed shrubbed things sprouting at all corners of my home. A walk beneath unknown trees yields a sprinkle of small yellow-dead petals, intermittent counterpoint to the dots of water hanging unchallenged from all surfaces.
I am half through a small book about a small boy and his small ghost. A collision with an automobile has made the ghost visible to the boy. I wonder if my collision sixteen years past rewired something within me as well. And I find myself floating through fiction.
I lost my phone.
It is with me until the moment it is not, last night, upon my late retirement from the universe that is my couch aimed at my television connected to my dvd player. Scott rings for it, calls to it like a stray hound and I wait quietly for the game of hide and seek to be up. Nothing. Muttering and muttering I retrace my steps, the couch is pulled apart, my room is in shambles, the refrigerator is not holding it within its mildly chill clutches. Nothing.
The clip is on my belt.
Not the holder, the clip. Crystal clarity of leaping logic. Point F from point A. At some point from the exit of the bar where the phone sat on my someday cancer ridden right hip to my compulsory compulsive repulsive strewing of worldly goods about my once ordered world that is my home, at some point, that damn clip stopped doing its job.
Betrayed by plastic.
The late and dear Dr. F is right, plastic is a dirty word. Perhaps pulled by quick hands, more likely peeled away by a trap between a fence and my shouldered bag...my connection to the world lies abandoned in Newton Centre four miles away. Realization comes at 1 a.m., the night is lost to me as I do not wish to fend off the limping cackling denizens of the night well after the sidewalks have been rolled away.
Morning is confusing because I do not know Spanish.
Mhrrahh? The hasty replacement for my usual alarm clock is today, in fact, an alarm clock. A device whose sole purpose is dispensing poorly tuned radio at a destined hour while withstanding a physical barrage at precise nine minute intervals. The damn thing sings in Spanish and my mind takes a few seconds to unslip all the cogs. I carry through with my sleepily conceived plans, three dollars to the MBTA parking gods erases fifteen minutes from my commute and I arrive in Newton Centre ahead of schedule. Nothing. Wait! No. Damn. It is just some junk. Still Nothing.
Steps retraced, time now for Monday morning on Tuesday.
The trains roll my way and I arrive at work within the window of here all along. I am irritable, disconnected, disheartened. Phones cost money, money I would not have to respend if I still had my phone. At nine-ish the remainder of the world is fair game for conversation. A shot in the dark, I call my phone.
Voices should not sound so sincere so focused at three hours before noon after a holiday weekend. "Hello? Can I help you?". She sounds two parts of a good dream. My mind takes a moment to press on the clutch, "Good morning! I lost my phone last night, thank you for finding it." She has been expecting me, "I had to fight off several unseemly characters for it, but I managed to rescue it in the end." My turn to be witty, "Yeah, Newton Centre can be pretty rough after they roll up the sidewalks." My friends think I have a way with words, women, or both...I have them all fooled. sigh.
A pleasant turn of events.
"So...do you have any lunch plans? We could meet and I could return this to you." Well well well...so much for buying one of those new phones with Madonna jammed in a phone booth. "That sounds great, do you like Thai?" Her turn, "Yes." "Well then, how about the Brown Sugar Cafe near Fenway?" Got it in one, "Oh! Good idea, I haven't been there in months, when should I meet you?" "I am in the office until one today, I can get to the Brown Sugar by two if that is ok." "That works fine, my name is Karen by the way." "I'm Patrick, and lunch is on me. Thanks again, I will see you at two."
A whirlwind of thought and contemplation.
And so I find myself walking along these bleary dripping gurgling streets where dumping is not allowed because everything leads to everywhere and I smile. Phone in my pocket, two lunches poorer, dodging splashes of passing cars too focused on going forward to consider how they got so far.