Next Day, Please.


According to my handy schedule, I planned to put up a post about what books I’m reading right now. Frankenstein is in the hopper, as it were. But it can wait a day or two.

I had one of those days today. Yesterday went well, and I got lots of fiction writing done. No exercise to speak of–sadly it seems I can get one done, but usually both. I worked late and slept in. Well, I woke up when the school train left the station and dawdled on my iPad a bit, then went back to sleep. Then I had THAT MATH CLASS DREAM. The dream where I’m wandering the halls of a high school, getting closer and closer to the room where the math class I’m supposed to be in is. Only I haven’t been to the class in several weeks, and am hopelessly behind. In some of these dreams, I’ll actually go sit in the classroom and try to bluff my way through it, but it never goes well, and the teacher alway turns into my real Spanish teacher from high school, who assigned me the name Pepita, which I never liked. (My last name was Philpot then, so I was Pepita Philpot. Wtf?) But this morning my dream saw me staying in the hall, peeking in the partially-open door, not recognizing half the people in the class. So I went and hid in the bathroom, but the toilets were canvas slings (again, wtf?) and…oh, never mind. No one needs to hear about dream toilets.

Anywho, by the time I made the bed, put on workout clothes, filled the feeders, did email, went on FB and posted the blog and said howdy, made breakfast (Cheerios and raspberries and tea. A square of chocolate for encouragement.), read, and journaled, and got on the treadmill, it was 12:30. Late, even by my writerlife standards. Everything felt…off kilter.  While on the treadmill, I started Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, which I found very moving (no pun intended). But afterwards I couldn’t settle down to work.

Later in the afternoon, driving into town, I hit a squirrel. It was a small, inexperienced squirrel, and where another squirrel would have stayed frozen while I slammed on the brakes, this one chose to make a mad dash. I couldn’t help but cry. I know the world is covered up in not-so-smart squirrels and there’s probably one in my attic now, taking revenge, chewing on the can lights. But, damn. I hate hitting things with my car. And not 60 seconds later, a line of seven deer leapt across the road in front of us–but closer to the lights of the power truck coming the other direction. Seeing the leaping deer silhouetted in the headlights was rather remarkable, and made all the better by the fact that no one was injured.

What next? I take a shortcut up a narrow alley to get to where I usually drop my son, and there’s a man about seven feet tall soaping up a big, white SUV in the middle of it. Now, this is in the middle of town, with the backsides of stores all around. And I can’t back out because it would be into Highway 51, which is a very busy road. The guy doesn’t want to move, tells me the owner isn’t around. But when I don’t back out he tells me to wait and then gets the keys. Okay. So as I’m complaining (and still sniffly about the squirrel) to my bestie about what an effed up day it has been, I go to the atm at the bank to make a deposit because the bank is closed. I pull into the grocery store parking lot, and bestie and I chat a few more minutes. But as I ring off, I realize my atm card is nowhere in the car.

There are other odd things we’ve noticed in town. Despite it being the first week of classes after the holidays, campus felt underpopulated–as did the stores and restaurants when we were out last evening. We wondered if The Rapture had come and left us behind. The grocery store–usually quite full of goodies–is weirdly understocked and understaffed. Today I saw a man walking down the highway on the wrong side of the road, nowhere near town. If you’ve ever lived near a state highway out in the country, you know how alarming that can be. People don’t just walk. And this morning, the minivan traveling in front of my son’s car suddenly stopped as they were pulling into Subway. Dead.

I’ve been trying to reach the guy who tunes our piano for a month, and he doesn’t return my calls. (He can’t STILL be weirded out by the ant-covered pretzel he discovered under there, right? Oh, was Darling Son ever in trouble for that.)

I feel like there’s something poisonous in the air. Bestie and I consulted the Sky Gods, and Mercury is out of retrograde. (I’m a believer. Not a Belieber.) But I gather the last session, ending January 8th, has a long, long tail. Here’s what one site says about the first retrograde of the year:

This retrograde has the potential for undercover and behind-the-scenes work that does not surface until weeks later. When the retrograde began, Mercury was approaching a conjunction to Pluto, ruler of the depths of our psyches and of the earth (and of phenomenal power and wealth). Issues and inquiries were set in motion, but not completed or resolved. Expect more of the story to come out when Mercury meets Pluto on January 29.

I wonder if it has something to do with the weather, too. After last week’s magnificent storms, it’s unsettlingly like spring here. The highs are in the forties and fifties, but what’s worse is that the lows aren’t getting down anywhere near freezing. Last night, a spider crawled across the front door threshold. In January. Weather is like this from time to time. The year after we moved here, over a decade ago, we had a January like this, and the trees in the apple and peach groves surrounding us began to bud. But then February came with snow and deep freezes and the entire peach harvest was lost for the year. It was hard on the Amish families that own the orchards. I worry.

Happy ending to the day, though. Kind of. I went back to the atm half an hour after I’d first been there hoping–idk, that the 20 people who’d come through after me had replaced my lost card in the machine after they used their own? Fairies would have left it sitting on top of the machine? I pulled up to the machine after the van in front of it left and opened my door to look around–and there was my card right on the ground. Miracle of miracles! How unlikely was that?

As my son and I were leaving the grocery store a while later, I stopped at the lottery machine. He couldn’t imagine what I was doing. I’ve only bought about 6 lottery tickets in my life, and those only on a whim. “The day turned from bad to lucky,” I said, and put $5 in the machine. It was all very confusing. We bought three tickets. Apparently you don’t even have to scratch them off anymore, but just scan them. But the scanner wasn’t really working, so he scratched them off in the car. Of course, we didn’t win anything. But my mood was restored. And I lived through half a dozen stories today–and now you know them all.

January 17  Words

Journal: 120  words

Long fiction: 0 words

Short fiction: 0

Non-fiction: 0 words

Blogging: words

Exercise: 40 minutes treadmill

3 thoughts on “Next Day, Please.”

  1. skyecaitlin says:

    Laura, what an unsettling day you had! Yet, you managed to put together a wonderful post. Things do seem odd, don’t they? It’s as if the world is out of sync, somehow, and some of the events you’ve described are out of the show “The Outer Limits” or the book/movie “The Dead Zone.” I think the squirrel would have been upsetting enough, but then the marching of the deer, too—that is something that we have to watch around my area, too; it’s their mating season and they just come out to roam. MATH CLASS dream: YEAH!!! been there, done that, too. Thanks so much for sharing and I hope it was dark chocolate. You still managed to do the tread mill—go girl!

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      The deer around here are crazy–maybe it’s always mating season, lol. My husband hit one on his way home from work one night last year. It did $9K damage and its hoof narrowly missed his head. Then it ran off, presumably to die. So traumatic, and so tragic for the deer.
      Thanks so much for the encouragement. Today is a much better day, despite a post-stress headache. And how nice are those math dreams to wake up from?! Such a huge relief.

      1. skyecaitlin says:

        Yes, the deer run rampant and people get injured ( as well as the deer), and cars get damaged. I live in South Jersey ( not far from Center City Philadelphia, where I was born) but on the other side of the Ben Franklin Bridge, and way above southern NJ, but we are near the beginning of the Pine Barrens, and signs are posted close by about deer crossing. Your writing is wonderful and the links are also interesting. I meant to add earlier that we are experiencing the same bizarre weather patterns, too.

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