Complete darkness, on this side of dawn on this side of town.
All light, any light reflects up from head lights that my car and the very few other cars prowling wet streets cast. The road is sprinkled with leaves, acorns and other fall cast-off.
I am on my way to morning coffee. My present, slight, headache is a combination of something low-grade viral, seasonal congestion, and caffeine craving. When I arrive, I find everyone else already in place. These friends of mine, the essential, self-styled "mens' show" regulars, already sunk down in the faux club chairs under the new spotty lights that the Starbucks installed in the ridiculous redo of the former gas station and repair shop at this Westside location. With my Times and my large coffee I wedge in among my pals, Chris, Matt, LaLa (Laura), Chuck, Ken(n,) Charlie, and Ron.
"Hey, Billy, check the piece on M****, and R****," (Chuck is gesturing to an article in the local paper about county politicos enmeshed in scandal.)
"Front (page) or Metro?" I ask, having already scanned the piece online before leaving my house.
"Metro, below the fold . . . but big space on B-8."
Chris alerts me to further developments mostly humorous, to be scanned, and commented on. This is our daily communion.
Fifteen or twenty minutes into morning bliss, the toxic avenger, Cliff, wafts in uninvited. I will leave as soon as practicable, to avoid dealing with angry Cliff, a former regular. Over the last year, Cliff is too bizarre for me. Maybe it's DNA or something biological but Cliff and most of us are unable to occupy the same ten foot radius without inexplicable nastiness leaking. Cliff's arrival is an acrid dispersant and we drift out
Before I go, I tell La my thoughts on breach of fiduciary duty. She asked my opinion, yesterday morning and I had to think about it. She's handling a commercial matter that seems to be southbound after two days, last week she spent in East Lansing.
I feel bad, I wanted to say more to La. She says she was counting on the $40k that would have been her cut on the collapsed deal. She wants to improve her living arrangements. I sagely assure her that "doors close and windows open," be patient I tell her. It's all hollow-advice from a disgraced and suspended attorney working in-house shuffling paper. What a guy! I'm leaving my family in the lurch for 5 months in federal custody on my federal tax count, and I give career advice. What a sweetheart, I am.
I head over to John's Diner on the the other end of town, a Greek-owned greasy spoon that my very limited wallet can still afford; plus, I know John's adorable 29-year old daughter, Pamela. Seeing Pamela's pretty face always makes me happy. She's not there. Oh well. At least I can read my Times in peace.
"John's" is the old style joint built into a dining car, it's exterior is clad with a combination of block and wood-siding. A small block addition on the one end and behind the dining car adds interior space for a few extra tables, kitchen-space, and bathrooms. I suppose the structure could use some attention, and then again not, its accidental ambient may be perfect.
Two idle waitresses are sitting on stools chatting. I take a booth at the end of the counter so I can spread the paper out over the faded red Formica. The familiar smiling waitress drops an oily discolored menu in front of me. I tell her what I want to eat without touching or referring to the official options. Before I can read the headlines, an approximation of what I ordered arrives. The potatoes, are undercooked. When I tell the waitress, no longer smiling, she snaps up my plate. She takes my breakfast away.
"He wants his potatoes crispier," she tells the cook through a little window.
"Um, could I have the rest of my meal while it's still hot?" I ask.
She rolls her eyes.
She looks back through the little window, "Just take the potatoes," she tells the unseen cook. "He wants the rest of his food, now."
The platter, without the offending spuds returns.
"Your toast is on the way," she sighs.
My compassionate angel, now turns and asks her co-worker, "You remember, the guy that used to come in here, wanted his potatoes, burnt?" Apparently I evoke a fond memory. They laugh. Reluctantly, I decide not to kill her. Without touching my eggs and ham, I tuck the paper under my arm, I put a $10 bill on the table.
"You did not treat me well," I tell her as I leave safe haven, number two.
It's now light outside but intensely dark inside.
I usually don't eat breakfast but having it inches from my senses, only to be withdrawn through my defect of personality, well, I determine that I am officially hungry and angry. My stomach rumbles.
I've missed the 7:30 AA-meeting, the 10:30 AM Big Book is next. If I can white-knuckle until then, I will be OK. I grit my teeth and head on down the street.
When I talk on Bad Lawyer about the twists and turns in this adventure I'm not sure I say all that much about the specific feelings and sensations of disappointment and sometimes, rage and resentment welling up. With all my problems I am for the most part a happy and fortunate man. Still there is a legacy of false pride and anger that is familial inheritance. It is crippling. I struggle with rejection and rarely rage over the most trivial things.
Where do I go from here?
On this blawg, I documented injustices, outrageous miscarriages of justice, scoundrels and lunatics. Sometimes I told you about fleeting moments of justice, mercy and grace. Have no doubt, every story was about me. They are a documentation of the seven deadly sins, or in the parlance of AA, my 4th and 5th steps to recovery. From the most extreme, to the most miraculous--this has been my life and experiences. I am trying to see the symmetry and perfection in my situation and go forward. Just saying so, does not make it happen. I need to change, to abolish all darkness.
I resolve to change, to bring light.