24 Things I Did Today

Today, at the Kansas City Library, I met a man who tried to sell me a piece of meteorite. At least that’s what he said it was. It was small and black; obsidian-like with fragments of what looked like petrified bubble bath. Do you collect meteorites? I asked him. He said yeah, I’m kind of a stargazer. He said he didn’t know if you could like sell them or not. I don’t know, I said, though I wished I had a few dollars to give him for it just so I could say I bought a meteorite from a soft-spoken dude at the library wearing earbuds and a basketball jersey. Instead I just said “keep stargazing” as he walked away, waved and smiled.

Today I read comic strips and horoscopes.

Today I ran until I was tired.

Today I drove home through the mists of Lee Blvd. listening to the prelude to Tristan and Isolde.

Today I called my wife on her parent’s landline and asked her what the homework assignment was. Her dad answered and it took a minute for her to come to the phone. When we started talking I remembered how less clear landlines are. How you have to really listen.

Today I tried to help a friend decide whether or not he and his family should buy a new home.

Today I emailed a stranger and wound up having coffee with an old friend. We talked ever so briefly about the last days of Schumann in beautiful Bonn-Endenich, which we’d both visited, though in different eras.

Today I ate some food, namely a ham and pepper jack sandwich on french bread with a side of red hot blues. I still have a bag of Haribo Smurfs open, but they gum up my insides.

Today, while marveling at the weight of a friend’s accidentally disembodied Aurelien Collin bobblehead, I remembered one of the most impressive and (perhaps understandably) overlooked moments in the career of the White Puma — being struck by an Omar Bravo bobblehead head thrown by a miscreant in the home stands. The projectile cut a gash above the KC keeper’s eye, but he patched things up and finished out the game, a 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers.

Today I found out someone had been talking shit. For a few moments, I thought about getting angry. This is the kind of thing people get angry over. Confront people about. But what good is it to read Marcus Aurelius paperbacks if you can’t take a few knocks, especially from folks who actually know you, folks who might even be right. Though maybe they only have part of the story, or aren’t entirely sympatico. How many times have you thought you had someone figured out only to realize, you don’t know their story. You don’t know their story at all.

Today, 16 years ago, it was my high school girlfriend’s and my first date. OK Computer had just come out a few months before and we listened to it a lot that winter, driving long distances across the metro to find cool places to drink coffee.

Today I looked at a half-collapsed stack of old notebooks and asked myself how much I really need my old words. Won’t the ones still living rise up unbidden at the needed moment, just as soon as the daydream wears on?

Today I resolved to tell my friend not to be so hard on himself. I’m only one grade older and because of that always think I should be able to give advice. But I can’t, really. All I can truthfully say is I’m confident you’ll figure it out. I’ll help however I can.

Today I got a save-the-date postcard from my brother and his fiancée. Over pizza, my grandfather explained the difference between a fiancé and a fiancée, though I think he might be wrong about pronouncing them differently.

Today I jumped over piles of snow on the curbside while crossing the downtown bus depot hobocluster. The fountain isn’t running but the buses are all more or less on time, which is to say, not really.

Today I can still think of half a dozen emails I need to write, not that I’m super important or anything like that, just always a tiny bit behind the beat when it comes to being in touch with friends, family and colleagues. I try to keep this in mind when waiting for my own unrequited emails to be returned, but the more time passes, the more I begin seeing them as badminton birdies that have flown far out of bounds and are now lapping in the surf at the nearest beach.

Today I need to go to bed because it isn’t today anymore, but my wife and child are away and I want to listen to music and type until I pass out on the couch. I put hot water on for tea half an hour ago and my friend’s soundcoud has long since passed aurally overhead, but I’m still locked to the keyboard.

Today I’m writing to tell you I might not see you for a while, or at least I won’t be making any appearances here anytime soon, and why should I? There are so many lists to look at; so many books to read. I’ve got projects to work on and people to see.

Today I drove down a street that said No Outlet but actually there was one.

Today I plugged in the Christmas Lights a final time.

Today I contemplated staying up all night, then quickly decided against it.

Today I tried hard to find the post-it note I mentally wrote to myself before I last fell asleep. They can’t always be recovered, but sometimes I get them to stick.

Today I wrote a poem by convincing myself I was just writing a list of what happened today. Though whether it’s actually a poem probably depends more on the reader.

Tonight I’m writing to let you know I’ll keep trying as long as you keep reading. It’s foggy out there, but that won’t stop me from signaling.

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