It’s wet outside. I can see the asphalt reflecting the lone light between me and my car from the third-floor window by the elevator. They don’t put many of those near the building so they don’t shine in the windows at night, but it makes for a lonely scene when the parking lot right next door, bigger, seems lit up like a baseball stadium by comparison. There’s a lonely distance between us and them that goes beyond the light or the wide strip of grass between the lots, though. Us, in our pleasant squat building of all one bedroom apartments and mostly retired people, and them with their big parking lot, 10 stories of mixed sized apartments of young couples and small families, and no dishwashers. I only know about that because I looked over there when I was ready to move about 6 years ago. Where I live now, each unit comes with one. I won’t lie, that was an incentive.
It’s raining when I walk outside, not just a little, but then again not a lot either. It’s that odd sort of rain that’s heavy enough to notice beyond a spit but not inspire you to run, or walk faster in that weird stiff-legged trot people sometimes use. It’s warm, as well, at least warmer than I expected it to be, and there are earthworms to dodge on the sidewalk. Twelve degrees celsius, the car tells me when I start it up. Still can’t smell spring in the air, though, and that’s a bit disappointing. I do so like that fecund aroma as the old leaves and other detritus from last year finally begin to rot, feeding the fresh growth of bright verdant grass that races upwards with the beginning of the new season. The worms whisper that the ground is no longer frozen, though, and if it’s twelve degrees before the sun is even a hint to the east, then I’ll be able to open my windows later to air the joint out.
I dreamt of being on my boat again last night. It was a common dream for a long time, mostly comforting but a little bittersweet since I can’t afford her anymore, that changed one to the other only in the minutiae but not the subtext. She’s still not quite ready for voyaging, but getting there. The subtle pleasure I take from the work to meet that goal, the bit of satisfaction at each completed project, big or small, are all deposits in the bank where I keep the good feelings to draw on when other things in my life threaten to pull me under. It was like that when it was a real thing, when I could touch her and feel the happy sweat from scrubbing her decks in the sun, and it’s that way in the dreams, too. Last night, though in reality she’s still sitting quietly in her cradle, she’s been unattended in the water for a long time and I’m pulling away the floorboards to check the bilge. In the cabin there’s the stuff of boats strewn everywhere – cushions, sailbags, plastic grocery sacks of lines and other equipment I need to properly organise and stow away, and it all feels comforting and cosy.
The water is high, but I’m satisfied that it’s not a worry, and I turn on the pump before climbing back into the cockpit with a rivet gun, though what exactly I was going to rivet escapes me now. A broken fitting on the mainsheet traveller, I think.
It was about half past three this morning when I walked out into the rain. I woke up from the dream without coffee or cigarettes, the breakfast of former champions, so before I did anything other than pee I ran a brush through my hair, some Listerine around my mouth, tossed on a cap and coat and went out to get them. I have an obligation to a friend to meet today, a blog post to write, and a blue funk to work my way out of. It seems at least one of those is close to being done already. Another has yet to be started and the last seems to be draining like the water in the bilge of that little sloop I named Estella, for a literary character raised to break men’s hearts even as much as mine often seems to knit together at the thought of her.
The coffee is taking its own sweet time, but it smells good from here.