October 19, 2001
Gift of Time


There is garlic roasting in the oven this afternoon: four heads of it, drizzled in olive oil, slowly turning soft and sweet and brown around the edges.

On the kitchen counter: separate mounds of finely-chopped red onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, olives. A bowl of shredded mozzarella sits nearby, along with four medium-sized tomatoes, ready for slicing. (Actually, I'm thinking of roasting the tomatoes, too. I found a recipe on the Internet, and it looks fairly simple: you just slice them up and roast them in salt, pepper, sugar and olive oil until they carmelize.)  My plan is to surprise David tonight with the best damn veggie pizza in the history of veggie pizzas.

The whole apartment smells like Linguini's on a Saturday night.

On the stereo, a mix-CD I burned this morning: a raucous, ridiculous mishmash of Pere Ubu and Partridge Family, ABBA and Alice in Chains. If I have time this afternoon, I want to burn another one  ...  maybe nothing but Celtic lullabyes and techno trance.

If I have time.

While the garlic roasts, I run across the courtyard to the laundry room to check on the towels. Still damp. I toss another Bounce sheet into the dryer, then shovel another fifty cents into the coin slot. I'll come back and check on them in another twenty minutes. In the meantime I still have two loads of clean dry laundry piled on the bed, waiting to be folded and put away. Plus I want to finish rearranging the books on the headboard, air out the pillows and the comforter, and iron some of David's work shirts for next week.

First, though ... I think I'm going to sit down and have another cup of coffee.

This has been an amazingly sweet, calm, uncomplicated few days ... this quiet "in-between-time," as the Temporary Voluntary Unemployment ends and I wait for the new job to begin. In the middle of a world gone berserk, it's been like an unexpected gift of inner peace ... a spontaneous dose of nerdy domestic bliss. Chicken Soup For The Executive Ass' Soul, as it were. I'm not exactly sure what I did to deserve it, frankly: part of me feels like I should still be sitting on the fourth floor of The Totem Pole Company, listening to grown men squabble over executive parking spaces. (And if David had shown the slightest trace of anxiety or disapproval or doubt about my ability to find a new job quickly, that's probably where I would BE right now.)

But I'm not going to question it.  A gift is a gift.  And for the next four days I'm going to continue to appreciate this rare, precious, fleeting gift of time, stopping at every available opportunity and smell the roses.

Or -- in this case -- stopping to smell the garlic.

Have a lovely weekend, everybody.

throw a rock