Periscope Depth

now don’t drown in your tears, babe

The apartment complex posted several notes reminding us that they’d be resurfacing the parking lot this Wednesday, and that our cars had to be out by 7am. So on Tuesday night, I parked on the street a block from my apartment. Wednesday evening, coming home from work, I stopped by the spot where I’d left it. It was of course gone. Cutting to the good part: I had parked on the one street in North Cambridge that does street cleaning on the third Wednesday of every month, as opposed to the third Thursday. The officer I spoke to was very helpful, especially since I wasn’t waving a cane and being black at her, and told me where to find my car.

Slouching through Harvard Square for the #69 bus to Inman, I worked up a good head of quiet surliness. I drummed my fingers on benches with impatience. I ground my heels into the floor. I scowled. I had one of the best kinds of anger going: the anger that bleeds over into the rest of the world when you have no one to blame but yourself. Double checking street signs would have saved me $120 worth of trouble, but that wasn’t my fault. No, it was the fault of the city of Cambridge, and my apartment managers, and this bus driver, and the humidity, and I’m dehydrated, and …

You don’t have to be mad about this if you don’t want to, something said in my head.

And that punctured the bubble. I even recall feeling a little disappointed. Why can’t I be mad? Why can’t I blame the world for my mistakes? People do it all the time. Why don’t I get one night of the year where I can drink myself into a stupor at a local bar, then go make poor life choices?

But that’s the power of an idea. Once you process it, you can’t overlook it.

So I had to spend the rest of the evening gradually cheering up. It didn’t help matters that I went to the Asgard, where all my friends spend their Wednesday evenings. It also didn’t help that they were sympathetic to my plight. Or that I had a beer and sang. That’s the problem with the real world: it keeps getting in the way of my bad time.

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