I did an audit yesterday and audits are sometimes accompanied with a lot of discoveries we call opportunities at work - areas to improve - but no one wants a visitor pointing out all the flaws, so it can be adversarial if you behave like a Mack truck. I struggle because I have a hard time remembering faces. If something small is out of place, like they don’t wear their baseball cap, or they’re out of their normal element, it takes me a minute to figure out who I’m looking at. I try to overcome this shortcoming by joking that I might have face blindness, but I think I associate people with other characteristics. Their voice, for example, I can recognize easily without seeing their face, and mannerisms are seemingly tied to everyone I pass, but the face, it is really a problem, and it makes me sweat a little when I say hi to people I know I have met before but do not recognize.
Or, I have a serious neurological disorder, a timebomb waiting to end my life, not that I’m being dramatic about it.
When I am on a trip, I try to get to know my coworkers, to figure out how to be more than an audit to them, a talking head bobbling around with my notes and pen, poking and pointing at shit. I may not see them again, who knows how this job operates from day to day. I do not want to leave with the wrong impression, because, besides an impression, what else am I leaving behind in this life?
I got an email this morning from one of the operations guys. Big, six-foot-four ex-military fella, takes his job seriously. Always curious. Paid me a massive compliment in a way only a New Yorker can:
“I appreciate everything today. The way that you pointed me in a direction to better my career was not lost on me. You may be a tough broad but I respect that. Drinks on me next time that you’re in NY.”
After work last night, I went to the Y and then drove by a little place called Mascot Dock. After 6pm, it’s for residents of the village only, as the attendant at the foot of the pier explained to me. He said, “You can take a quick drive around the circle and back, but be quick.” I drove all the way out of sight and leapt out of the car to take a picture or two of the sun setting in the sky in a fashion my wife would call “rule breaking” which is key to our relationship, as she will not break a rule if she can avoid it, while I see the greyer areas of the law. We have a lot of conversations about this; she is getting a little looser on the principle, but not much. The other day she drove against an arrow in the parking garage with such abandon. I know she married me because I will forge ahead, rules be damned. I know I married her because she knows how to hold the string of my balloon with love.
I find the ocean beautiful no matter where it is and I know that’s because I’ve never had to live with it during a hurricane or some other crazy weather event and it’s never caused me to lose my home or my livelihood or anyone I love.
I know I romanticize it quite a bit.
But I guess it is mine to romanticize about. And here you are, reading within my little world with me.
Afterwards, I wandered around down on First Street looking for another inlet take a look at the ocean again. To no avail, I had to satisfy myself with the scent of a cool evening breeze and nothing more. A lot of standing water lined the sides of the roads as if they had gone through a lot of rain. People have boats in their driveways down by the water. Their porches are wide and grand with wooden slats and no railing providing an open view to the water, shutters slightly faded from the salty air.
A little black cat crossed my path on the way back to civilization, which I had to navigate minus my phone as it seems the entire area lacks any cell service, thank God, because without it, I may not have any orienteering skills left to use in case of emergency.
This next month I’m taking on a kind of second, part time six-month-job, to go with my current job as my coworker goes out to have a baby. Like, congrats for getting 6 months off when you have a baby. It was heart-wrenching to go back after 3, and that was with a doctor’s note, but holy shit, how am I going to do two jobs. I have started running again to jog off the anxiety about performing well over the next half, trying to stop forcing carbohydrates into my mouth like a crack fiend to fend off extra weight which causes my general health to decline – what I need the very least at a moment like this.
I was sitting out in the backyard on Sunday night having finished planting all the tomato and beet plants. I pulled up a chair for my wife and opened a bottle of wine and lit a fire. “Do I have to do this?” She said, “You’re always nervous when you start something new, but you’ll pick it up, you’ll get it, and then it’ll be fine.”
When I was a child, I used to hate opera, anything classical drove me nuts. My mother sang opera beautifully, not that I was able to express it. Sunday night, outside in the cool evening air with my wife, I wanted nothing more than to listen to the Andrea Bocelli Pandora station, as if Italian and that moment were married to each other. It can be the only soothing thing sometimes.
Last night, the hotel was a hotbed of entertainment. Around 11pm, a woman on the other side of the wall began making a slow moaning sound I recognized as a building sexual situation. I could not remove myself from the room, given the late hour, or escape the murderous yells that erupted intermittently from behind my headboard. I would have alerted the authorities except that periodically the banging stopped and low talking ensued before the groaning resumed. Thank the goddesses when the guy yelled out in Spanish and it was finally over.
I rolled over and tucked all four pillows under and over my head and back and front and went to sleep only to be reawakened by a host of people gathered beneath my second-floor window, a party lasting until 3 or 4, when something took my consciousness into the deep and welcoming blackness of sleep.
On the way out, I flew over the ocean, watching the first of the boats leaving their marinas, white, triangular wakes trailing off behind like kite tails, the blue water reaching out forever so perfectly on the horizon.