Monday, July 19, 2010

Victory Lap.

It comes to this: you're holding the Toad, or AMR is—the lines of who's doing what at any given time blur, except for feedings, which you know aren't yours, except the one bottle yesterday, which was yours, but mainly that belongs to AMR, or generally it does, so far—and the trash is on the curb, and the recycling is on the curb, and the diapers from upstairs are in the trash on the curb, and the plumbers have been here for an hour, and you've apologized five times for not having all the studs in the wall they need to run the water pipe through, and you've (at breakneck speed) cut and fit those truant studs and screwed them in, and now everything is well-oiled again, is moving along apace, is on the edge of fine, and you're inside, and the Toad is inside, and AMR is inside, and the dog is inside, is finished barking at the plumbers, and at the neighbors, and at the neighbor's plumbers. This is how things are. This is how they were, and then the plumbers showed up, and then there were the studs, and now things are fine again. The trash trucks are in the neighborhood, grinding up and down the blocks. The squeal of brakes, etcetera. The robot arms. The fiercely beautiful symbiotic operation of taxable citizenry and resultant government service.

Your current conditions: humidity trying to outrace itself to 100%, temps hitched to the same rising scale, threat of rain later in the day, wind out of the south and west at let's just say 10-15 mph. Partly cloudy. Hot as the metaphor or simile of your choosing.

And you remember the trash in the pantry, the garbage, the full bag, and you go to the street to check to see if the trucks have come by your house, your bins, and lo, they have not, and you can hear one truck riding it sounds like maybe a little closer to you, maybe up your hill, and you jog back inside, and you trash up the trash, tie its handy ties, jog back outside with your bag of more diapers and dead cheese and expired sour cream and nonrecyclable packaging, and the truck is coming up the street, and inside AMR holds the Toad, and the Toad fusses, but not too much, just your standard fuss, or maybe even a notch below, just an announcement, really, an announcement that later on there will be more fuss, real fuss, vastly fussier than this fuss, and where were you? You were out the front door, trash in hand, trash bin on the street, trash truck coming, blinkers flashing orange, the brakes hollering, the driver making eye contact with you, slowing down, and look: that's you lifting the lid, putting the trash in the trash, and that's you taking a step back, that's the robot arm coming out, that's the trash plus the added trash going up and into the truck, the bin coming back down, the half-wave from the driver, the truck moving on.

Back in the house is where the problem hits you: you are elated. Like base-clearing go-ahead RBI double in Little League elated. You are the picture of suburban triumph. There is your son, your wife, your kitchen, your cooling cup of coffee, your dog, there in the back yard are the plumbers, and you have by god beaten the system—no, wait, it's actually much worse: you are exactly where the system wants you. You have jogged your trash to the curb in the very nick of time and you are elated and you are even making hash of the second person, for god's sake, which is no mode of storytelling for something like this, because it's hackneyed, it's worn, it is a turtle in the highway. To say nothing of the compound adjective that went unhyphenated back there. Or the fragmentary nature of.

So this is what it comes to: your most significant accomplishment in days is getting your trash from inside bin to outside bin to rolling internally-combusted motorized bin with seconds to spare. You'd like to see a replay in slo-mo. You'd like to watch your moment of unassailable victory again and again. You play a little air guitar there in the kitchen. AMR laughs at and with you. You laugh, but you don't quite mean it. Not all the way. Do not cheapen the cheap win. You take the Toad back—you hold him a while, and he sleeps, actually, and maybe makes one of the small, heartbreaking, astonishingly charming Toad noises—here is this creature, who you only like a little bit, and only sometimes, that fucker, who has lit your life on fire.


Luke said...

Fucking beautiful, Drew.

Drew Perry said...

thank you, belatedly.