Saturday, March 28, 2009

An Unusual Day

My poor husband tried to call me this morning, but the phone lag was even greater than usual, sometimes as much as twenty seconds. This meant that he would say, "I love you" and I would say it back and in the meantime he would be saying, puzzled and a little lost, "Are you there, Sweetie? Can you hear me?" and by the time he heard me saying that I loved him, I was already saying, "I'm here! Can you hear me? I can hear you," and so on and so forth in this manner.

"I'm going to say I love you and then I'm going to say bye and then you'll say you love me and that way we'll both know when to hang up," he explained earnestly, soon after we'd given up having a decent conversation.

The phone connection is through his high speed Internet, so he gets it at a very cheap rate. Consequently, when he is off duty we are frequently on the phone. We are on the phone while he shaves and I can hear the hum of the electric razor. I can hear when he thumps around the room getting ready for the day, or when someone knocks on the door and he shouts out to them something in a voice completely different from the one he was just using with me.

The other day the connection failed entirely and he spent three hours bull headedly hunting the down the problem, starting with his own computer and then outside, along the lines of cables until he got it working again.

The snow is all melting away in a mad rush, sheets of water run rippling in wide, shallow rivers down the streets, that pool in large, uneasy basins of water at the corners, all heavy with slush.

A steady steam comes dripping over the edge of the deck roof and from the eaves of the garage. Steadily the snow retreats from the front lawn, revealing larger and larger patches of bedraggled grass, yellow brown mostly, with the green shoots standing tall and proud around the roots of the birch tree.

I have started writing my story, on the story itself. I started and failed many times to write a plot outline and though I have a rough idea in my head of the internal and external conflicts that will drive the story, I am not sure of their placement within the story and at some point I realized that I wouldn't know until I started writing the damn thing.

It is hard work and I find myself constantly distracted by small things, I sometimes can only write a single sentence and then must do something else. Despite that, it came immediately and gratifying alive the moment I began and the characters move and speak in the ways I thought that they might.

I can tell that this will not be a sophisticated or intellectual story; this story will be far more along the lines of a made for Hallmark movie and I have settled in myself that it will be so. I thought about making it dark, for a long while I could feel a heavy shadow of something evil lurking and I tossed out many different situations in which the darkness would play out, but I gave up. I don't want to write that kind of story.

It will be a romance, the characters will be human, it will be historical and it will end happily. Apparently, that is the kind of writer that I am; I will embrace the reality.

Also apparent is that it will take a long, long time to write. I won't be putting any piece of it on my blog either, mostly because if I put it under public eye, I would need to edit it and I'm already forcing myself not to do that as it is; I simply need to write the damn thing before I second guess my language, sentence structure, characterization, etc, etc.

I went out to start my car for work and I turned the key, the engine coughed, choked and growled away into silence. Horrified, I pretended that the following had not happened, and turned the key again and it simply ground away, with the battery light flickering.

How could this have happened? I asked myself, standing in the garage, bewildered and horrified. What would I do now? If a car does not start, how can one get it to the mechanics in order for them to fix it? Jumper cables lurked into my mind, but did not take firm hold just yet.

I called work instead and was put on hold while they tried to find someone to come pick me up. In the meantime, good neighbor Larry drove home and my next clear thought was to call him. He came over and the cables materialized.

But my car was in the garage, how was it to get out? By pushing it, it turned out. Larry attached the cables and let the car soak up some juice. When he started the car, it started slowly, as though hauling itself to its feet, pushing the gears to turn, until finally, painfully, it caught and started rumbling away again. I turned it off and then on again, everything seemed once again fine.

But I did not trust my car. The circle of trust had been broken and there was no getting it back again. As a sign of this, the cables were placed in my trunk, in case the car would not start after my shift at work.

It did, and I arrived home just fine, but my car has betrayed me. After years and years of smooth and faultless performance, it has let me down. I'll always have this little shiver of worry about whether or not it will strand me somewhere; the grocery store, a side street down town where I parked before meeting a friend for lunch, or at the dentist. I just never know. It's a scary world out there.


Mrs. G.I Joe said...

Well Hello:) Thank you for the comment on my page and for the support of not being strange:p I admire you for writing a book though, that is something I'm always trying to accomplish but with no finished result to boast about:p hope your weekend is going splendid!

jlc said...

Oh no!

And wait, a book!??! Details.....

Abbie said...

Ugh! My car died on me one night after a baseball game in Milwaukee! It sucked! And then I had to drive it home on the interstate in a panic wondering if I was going to make it. I hate cars sometimes!

Um...yeah! I'm with jlc...detail please!

T said...

I'm happy that you are continuing on the book. I love how the characters came to you and with your words... I can imagine them coming to life.

Stay safe with the car. Always have a plan B!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I love historical romances! And I had to laugh at your Hallmark movie reference. I worry the same thing about my writing! Either it will turn out sappy or too...well, too much like I tried WAY too hard to be intellectual and deep.

I hope the writing is going well!

lala said...

ugh car troubles are the worst. i have been lucky in that most of mine have occurred close to home (and also my dad) so far; but i'm dreading the day when i have trouble out here in washington, God forbid when matt is deployed.

i don't know anything about cars, except how to check the oil and add wiper fluid. maybe it's something we should learn? anyway, yay for neighbors with jumper cables!