i’m free/free fallin’
Tonight I will be up the entire night, fighting sleep and the usual distractions (AIM, weblogs, and midnight snacks), and tomorrow I need to make sure I make it on time to my 8:30 a.m. class. Tomorrow I also need to go in to see one of my professors during her office hours. God only knows why she asked me to stop by, although I suspect it may have something to do with the Research Paper From Hell that I decided not to turn in two weeks ago when it was actually due. I damn well better finish this paper tonight. If I don’t, I’ve already given Somayya explicit instructions to just get it over with and shoot me if I show up at school tomorrow with nothing to show for this allnighter.
This paper has been haunting me for a month, and the thought of tomorrow makes me anxious and depressed. So I’m better off just dwelling on today for now.
Today I woke up at 10 a.m., having deliberately (although sadly and slightly guiltily) skipped halaqa, Islamic Sunday school with my favorite 5-7 year-olds, and a Zaytuna-sponsored hike with Zaid Shakir. I had a leisurely breakfast of waffles while poring over the latest glossy issue of Diablo Magazine (and thought of Mossy, who once averred, “I think there are waffles in heaven. Many waffles.”).
I took a long shower (lots of hot water, for once), didn’t comb my hair (no surprise there), checked emails, made phone calls, hugged my brother, and watched my father plant our new apricot and nectarine trees behind the house.
At noon, the daddy-o and I munched on English toffee from the market, speculated on the possible recipe, laughed at the ingredients list (“Yasminay, what’s ‘inverted sugar’?”), and decided that our next-door neighbor still makes the best English toffee we’ve ever tasted. My mother packed me oranges from our tree, my dad handed me chocolate candy he had brought from his office, I grabbed my cranberry juice from the fridge and was ready to drive up to school to hunt for some research articles for the aforementioned Paper From Hell. Daddy advised, “Take some tangerines, too,” so I stepped over the low brick wall and picked a few tangerines off the tree after starting my car.
I got in my car, and it was so nice and warm inside that I nearly clapped my hands in glee. It was almost 75-degrees-Fahrenheit today, my dream temperature. I wondered about what music to listen to, and the immediate thought that came to mind was, “Something happy and loud.” It came down to a choice between Matchbox Twenty, Goo Goo Dolls, and Maroon 5, all loud, but none of whom are exactly happy.
Scrabbling through the center console, I came across my “Mix CD Extraordinaire 1,” something I had forgotten about. “Mix CDs Extraordinaire 1-3” are seventy-five songs I downloaded almost three years ago â€“ the extent of all my music downloads â€“ and didn’t burn onto CDs until last December. This one included Savage Garden b-sides, Brian McKnight, Freddie Jackson, Better Than Ezra, Naked Eyes, Leigh Nash, Afghan Whigs, Patti Smith, Third Eye Blind, Tom Petty, Blessid Union of Souls, among others. Because I had no idea what was specifically on this CD, each track was an absolutely perfect gift in randomness.
I slipped on my yellow sunglasses, the ones that make the world a happy place, and away we went. One block before the main road, I whizzed by three children at a lemonade stand. It took me a couple of extra seconds to process that information, and I almost continued on my way. But then I remembered how I always tell everyone, “I think you should always make a point to stop and buy whatever it is that kids happen to be selling at their makeshift lemonade stands at the side of the road. Not only because it will make their day, but also because it’ll brighten yours as well. Trust me,” and I knew that I’d never forgive myself if I passed up this opportunity. So I made a U-turn and went back and parked across the street from the lemonade kids. I had a mere total of eighty-five cents on me, and I prayed that that would be enough as the children watched me inquisitively from across the street.
Their names were Wendy, Lisa, and Michael. They greeted me with pleased smiles, then gravely rattled off the prices. Twenty-five cents for a small lemonade, fifty cents for a large one, and twenty-five cents for a doughnut of my choice. I picked a large lemonade and a powdered doughnut, and gave them the rest of my change, too, “because you guys are cool.” They grinned delightedly and said thank you and told me to have a nice day. The lemonade was a bit too watery and not as sour as I would have liked (please note my newfound obsession with cranberry juice), but it was ice-cold and refreshing, and I gulped it down quickly.
“And all I gotta say, yeah,/is your love’s extraordinary/You’re extraordinary, baby.”
â€“ Better Than Ezra, Extraordinary
After the bridge, I decided to bypass the next fifteen miles of traffic by driving along the road I once used last summer. I drove with my window down and the moonroof open, and stopped three times to take photographs of the mountainsides.
“People tell me that I feel too much/But I don’t care, no I don’t care/People tell me that I need too much/Well I don’t care, no just I don’t care anymore.” â€“ Savage Garden, I Don’t Care
I replayed the Afghan Whig’s song, “66,” multiple times, thinking about the friend I introduced the band to, who used to laugh with me at the lyrics for this song (“Come on/Come on/Come on, little rabbit/Show me where you got it/’Cause I know you got a habit”). I miss what that friendship used to be, and it’s interesting to note that I of all people, usually so terrible at staying in touch with friends old and new and current, am willing to constantly make seemingly one-sided efforts to revitalize this specific friendship.
At school, I ate candy in the library, read weblogs on the “research-only!” computers, found some electronic journal articles, and gave my oranges and tangerines away to my friend, Jason, a smart boy who gladly accepts gifts instead of hemming and hawing and pretending to refuse things he really wants. Everyone should be like him. Take notes.
In the evening, for dinner, Somayya and I went down to Dos Coyotes, where I ordered the salmon burrito I’ve been craving for weeks. We spent almost an hour eating and laughing about you people (notice I did not say, “at you people”) and talking about how much we love weblogging and what awesome fun it would be to meet all you cool bloggers in real life. Quite obviously, we are far too addicted to weblogs for our own good, we’ve decided, but we really wouldn’t have it any other way.
The moon looked odd this evening, a red-orange globe hanging low in the sky. I took photos of that, too.
The drive home to the Bay was lovely, and went by faster than usual, it seemed. At the first stoplight in my hometown, I glanced absently at the car in the lane next to me, while the guy in the car carelessly looked over as well. I looked away, then out of the corner of my eye noticed him actually reversing his car a little so that he could get a better look at me. I rolled my eyes, shook my head, hit the accelerator as soon as the light turned green, and laughed the rest of the way home. The remaining eight stoplights were all green. This never happens.
Tomorrow will come far, far sooner than I like. I’d cancel tomorrow if I could.
But days like today are the kind of days I live for.