Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Day Invested

Just a bit of fiction because I had time to kill:


Sometimes you can tell how your whole day is going to go by how your morning starts. After a long night of intermittent sleep the alarm went off just as I was settling into a dream filled state. I groped for the snooze button to try to squeeze in a few more minutes with my pillow when my thumb reminded me that it still had a metal splinter in it that was too tiny to pull out but stuck out far enough to snag on the sheet as I tried to pull it over my head. Trying to ignore the throbbing pain, I closed my eyes only to hear a train blowing it's horn as it went through town. Not the usual two sharp blasts announcing its passage, this morning the conductor seemed to be targeting me and gave two long, slow tugs on the horn that echoed forever in the dim morning light. This was followed by the rumbling of the tracks which I was able to successfully set to rhythm in my head with the hum of the ceiling fan and was almost asleep when the alarm went off again. I drug myself out of bed only to get a charley horse when I turned my leg wrong.



I had to meet my sister for lunch, so my day was going to be interrupted right when I was settling into a groove. I'd been invited with a "You don't mind, right? I mean, you work from home and can leave when you want.". Sure I could, I was only a day trader, and at a time when the stock market could swing one way and wipe out most of my savings, umm... yeah sure I could just leave. I grumbled to myself, but really did look forward to seeing her. My younger sister lived out-of-state and I didn't get to see her much except for the holidays. Her husband Dave was the brother I never had. Outgoing and charismatic, he seemed like a rock star, and his resemblance to Gene Simmons had given me a lot of material to rib him with over the years, all of which he played along with and made visits enjoyable. When they first married I hadn't given them much of a chance to stay together, only because they were so much alike and I'd always heard that opposites attract. Twenty-five years later, they were proving me happily wrong. It was just going to be her today, as she was headed to Chicago on business and had decided to drop down this way to see me.

By eleven o'clock I was well into my day and nervously watching my biggest investment, the big F. Ford Motor Company stock was poised to fall significantly if the safety commission decided that a few incidences with airbags on their F-150's warranted a recall. That decision would be forthcoming at any time, and my mind was occupied with thoughts of selling when the kitchen timer went off, reminding me it was time to get ready for lunch. With my head thumping from a lack of sleep I shaved and showered, getting shampoo in my eye and adding to my achy, dismal day. I still had a little time to keep watch on my stocks before I left, so I sat and waited, hoping to get a clue about the direction the market would take. The only inkling was from the Ford CEO, who sounded positive and thus influenced me to keep my stocks. I looked up to see that it was eleven forty-five already, and hurried out the door.


I was five minutes late when I pulled into Howdie's, the retro fifties diner where I was to meet Samantha. She was in the lobby, leaning against a '57 Chevy that had been cleverly made to look like it had just crashed into the diner, the front half in and the back half sticking out into the sidewalk. "Late again. Why am I not surprised." squinting her eyes menacingly. "Sam, you know if I'd have gotten here on time you would have thought something was wrong with me" I grinned and gave her a hug. The waitress seated us and took our order. I peered at her as she walked away then faced Sam and said "Hey, isn't that what you used to wear?" indicating the waitress's long skirt and saddle shoes. I got my shin kicked and reminded that I was way older than she was. On this day I sure felt it, and even more so now, sitting across from my sister who was only two years younger than me, but looked at least fifteen, with her hair still dark and her face with only the fewest of lines, while my gray hair and roadmap of a face made me look like one of the guys from Grumpy Old Men. Digging into the cheesy fries appetizer I asked her how Dave was doing. An incredibly long pause froze me mid-bite as she said "we're getting a divorce". I felt as if someone had grabbed all my internal organs and gave them a purple nurple. She went on to say that things had changed and so on and so forth and that she wanted to see me today to tell me... I barely heard any of it. My only family in the world was being torn apart. I was losing a brother. I heard something about her seeing another guy, and again my guts got twisted. I wanted to vomit, cry, I wasn't sure which, but all the aches and pains from the day were magnified in those few minutes and I just wished I would have gotten some sleep. I did the best I could to be a big brother for the rest of the lunch and she left seeming to be her same old self. I sat in my car for several minutes trying to let the warm sunshine brighten my day.... yeah, right. On my way home I heard on the radio that Ford was recalling trucks for a faulty airbag. I should have stayed in bed.