Saturday, August 2, 2008

On Waking

I've decommissioned my alarm clock for the summer, and without it I've been waking up around 7:15. I'm not sure why this is, if the light trips some wire or the church bells ring or I simply tire of sleep. At 7:15 I open my eyes. I gather up my worries. I don't dawdle getting out of bed, because waking up is like learning anew each day the darkest secret of the friend of your heart: once you know, things are never easy again.

The particular pleasure of Saturday mornings is retrieving the paper. I hunt for flip flops or rain boots or other inappropriate footwear. I open the front door, the door that only gets opened on newspaper days. I clump out into the morning, which is always new and wet like a calf. I stoop. I grab ahold of that blue plastic sleeve. I get two more mosquito bites on the back of my thigh.

I am a mosquito celebrity. It's the only conclusion to be drawn in the face of the evidence. Maybe not Paris Hilton but Nicole Richie at least: wherever I go, no matter how much I strive for anonymity, I'm trailed by a black, whining cloud of admirers. Friends are ignored. Dark sunglasses don't fool anyone. I itch.

This is because I am, in addition to being famous, highly allergic. Subsequent to being accosted by mosquitoes, I develop welts the size of the larger denominations of currency. These slowly ripen from pink and white to a deep, empurpled red. And did I mention the itching?

(I tried to take a picture of the carnage using my computer's Photobooth application, but thanks to the contortions required to lay the appropriate pound of flesh before the computer camera whilst maintaining my ability to depress the enter key, the results were unfit for the consumption of minors.) (If you wonder why in the hell I didn't just use a digital camera, see this post.)

It's simple math, really. Two minutes outside equals two mosquito bites. A brief hitch in the swing of the day equals several hours of trying to figure out a way to gracefully scratch the back of my thighs. None of which stops me from stumping out to get the paper.

It makes me wonder how many of our pleasures come with that little backhanded slap of pain. It makes me wonder if there's any gift not admixed with something raw and red and itchy.

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