Typically, I wake up in the morning aorund 7 a.m.. I stare out my balcony window at the three nests dispersed in the trees to my left.
Today I look down and see one of my neighbors dabbing the leaves of each tree that lines his balcony with a swab of ointment attached to a branch as long as his arm. At first, I think the procedure is his way of soaking each leaf with an ample suppy of water, but the percision with which he makes sure each leaf is covered, and the unusual dark bandages over the end of the branch where the solution is transmitted from branch to leaf, leaves me wondering if it's for medicinal purposes.
I do not expect to see this happening. On more typical days, my neighbor simply patrols his yard in search of cat droppings. I am slightly pleased to see this new occurence and make note of it with the polaroid you see above.
Since I am now teaching during the days, my next routinal step involves a trip in a taxi to the fifth floor of a building on campus where my office is located. I usually grade papers here and prep for lectures as they make themselves known to me.
Students who have visited my office comment on the neatness of my desk. This may be unusual to them for a myriad of reasons. The most plausible reason is that they think I am a messy person and had expected to see disorganization. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to be messy because disorganization leads to more work and less writing.
There is a badge on my door that designates whether I am "present" or "out of the office". Since I cannot read the Korean script, I simply move the lever back and forth several times simply for the enjoyment that there is something tactile for me to touch, and also to pretend that it will somehow turn into a robot if I fiddle with it enough.
My officemates are into musicals. Since my ex-wife was a musical theater director - and through whom I had the privilege of watching countless highschool performances of "Fiddler on the Roof" and "The Sound of Music" - I can't say I am thrilled about these posters or the bourgeois sentiments they represent. In either case, I welcome them as elements of my childhood rather than displeasing remembrances of a marriage gone sour.
Today I look at the posters and envision my first trip to Broadway by Greyhound. My highschool sweetheart and I are walking up and down 42nd Street. We marvel at the people and lights. There is no TRL. Just a Sbarro's. We feast on a pepporoni pizza. We think we are having real New York pizza. We watch Ira Gershwin's "Crazy for You". I dislike musicals, but I am moved by the professionalism of Broadway. "Those dancers are very good," I tell her. "Yes," she agrees, "They are." I express interest to come again. My thoughts are light and buoyant. Only a momentary lapse into how my father would prefer that I study word problems intercedes the moment. I shake this worry with a bite of pepporoni pizza (something I will do on other occasions as well before this is replaced with nicotine) I want to come again. "Let's do it," she agrees. We come to Broadway three more times before the relationship fizzles under the weight of college and more female opportunities. I handle myself badly during the beakup. I send back her letters. Her father expresses his concern in an angry phone call. I grow bitter and tired. I rest on a bunk in my dormitory. I do not go out for a week. I am regretful. I feel this is what must be. I stare at a poem written on the wall. It talks about opening your mind like a door only your thoughts can enter. I like the colors that were used. I purchase some oil pastels and proceed to mark up the entire room. My roommate is not pleased at the sight when he enters. He is courteous though and says he is fine with the new "decorations" as long as I "clean or pay for it" before any moving is done. I agree. I sit back on my bunk. No other words are spoken.
Typically, I do not remember the past at all. At least, not in such detail. Most of my memories come in flashes during walks. I will see a street or car, the way a certain building has had its bricks pointed - and then I am into a different town - I am on the streets of Delaware, I am outside of The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, I am in the middle of a sandwich in a 7-11 on Route 13, I am in a motel in Missouri, I am watching television in my room in Korea.
Now I look out the windows by my office. I enjoy this view and stare at it for a total of ten seconds. It is 8:40 a.m.