THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLASS
“NOPE,” she quipped, with her signature POP on the ‘p.’
“Ok. Fine. I’m gonna go.” But I don’t know, I thought. I checked. Cedar’s high. Cedar. is. high. That’s my KRYPTONITE. My superpowers wane with just one whiff, one trace, one dab of that poison pollen strain. And then, once it’s in, I start slouching, talking slow, sapped of strength, trying to fight, reminiscing about the old days on planet KRYPTON when life (breathing) was easier and carefree. I took a look outside. I don’t know. I lifted up one of the blinds like the cops were out front telling me to “Come outside!” And wouldn’t you know? The same lady I always see every day shuffling her feet like a short piston choo-choo train was out there in the cold. In her 80s. Same golden brown wig. Same purple windbreaker. Lips kneading her gums, and looking straight ahead. Just getting her daily walk in. That settled it. I’m going. Grabbed the scarf, tightened the hoodie, and threw on the warmest jacket I own. But, Texan that I am, I completely ignored the warmth and well-being of my legs. Poor things. First to take one for the team. Why are we this way? It can be freezing, but we’ll still wear shorts. Might even wear chanclas, too, if we think we can make it back to the car quick enough.
I was wearing paper-thin sweatpants. Might as well have been see-through, I tell you, they were so thin.
I checked my phone. 34? Oh my. Two degrees shy of frost forming on my eyelashes and beard? Damn. Checked the news. Some schools are closed. Poor kids. Checked Twitter and closed it immediately. Like opening the wrong door in a nightclub. I put my phone back in my pocket and started my playlist. Remembered that it’s Dolly Parton’s birthday today, my wife’s favorite celebrity. Her quotes are the best. You want perspective? Read a few of her quotes. She’s 76 today.
I walked my little 2 mile route around the neighborhood. And I’m not gonna lie. It was UGLY today. My route was ugly. The color is gone. It’s like walking through a junkyard of plants that have just a few days to live. To my left were dead gardens, and to my right, trash stuck in the yellowed grass like ocean litter in fishnets. I walked by an abandoned, red recliner. A redbird darted beneath it and fled into the bush to perch, twitch, and observe, inspecting all of the life around it like some miniature robot.
A mile in, I started to acclimate, and it felt good. The wind was dramatic, though, falling over everything and blowing through the trees, passing before me in bursts of agitation. Sounded like a box of styrofoam peanuts being emptied out onto a kitchen floor.
I saw the mailman throwing envelopes in slots and thought about their creed, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers…” and it brought a smile to my face.
I was a block away from the house trying to shake off a chill that had just set in. I may not like the cold, I thought, but it still beats staying in.
Two Dolly Parton quotes:
“I have to not harden my heart, because I want to stay open to feel things. So when I hurt, I hurt all over. And when I cry, I cry real hard. And when I’m mad, I’m mad all over. I’m just a person; I like to experience whatever the feeling is and whatever I’m going through.”
“After you reach a certain age, they think you’re over. Well, I will never be over. I’ll be making records if I have to sell them out of the trunk of my car. I’ve done that in my past, and I’d do it again.”