When I got up this
morning at 5, I felt good. Darn good. There were several reasons.
One is that it was still dark outside, when just last week at
the same time, it was light. I always enjoy the return of autumnalthough
todays mild temperature still felt like Santa Fe summer
more than fall. Leaving the house in my T-shirt and shorts,
I was quite warm enough. And anticipating the hot coffee and
fresh pastry that awaited me at the Farmers Market only made
me warmer. That was reason number two.
Reason number three was that I was well rested. My wife and
I had spent the weekend in Taos, and when we returned on Monday,
Linda left immediately to spend the night with her 91-year-old
mother, who lives in a small village about 55 miles from Santa
Fe. She left behind a load of dirty laundry for me to wash,
and rather than tackle it late at night I just decided to turn
in early and hit it first thing Tuesday morning. No doubt about
ita good nights sleep is a fine way to start the
But let me tell you
the REAL reason I felt so good this morning: I already knew
what I was going to write about today!
For those of you
who dont have to write a story every Tuesday, week after
week, whether you feel like it or not, maybe knowing ahead of
time what my subject will be doesnt sound like that big
a deal. But for those in the know, its like a wise man
once said: Writing is easyyou just stare at a blank
computer screen until little drops of blood appear on your forehead.
Well, since starting
this column a few months ago, Ive sweated my share of
those little drops. So it was downright exhilarating this morning
to know exactly what my story would be. The reason I knew is
that I almost told the story in this space last week, right
after it happened. But instead I decided to wait until now.
That way I had a whole week to feel self-satisfied and smug.
Monday of last week had been very busy, and that evening I came
home and started to write some letters that needed to go out.
Some years ago, I converted one of my detached garages into
a small office. In it is a desk with a laptop computer, along
with a lot of junk that has accumulated over the years and never
seems to get removed. This is where I try to complete the things
that I dont finish during the day.
On this particular
night I was having a hard time concentrating on the letters
at hand. So from time to time I would walk out of the office,
leaving the door open because the weather was warm, and go in
the house until I got inspired. Then I would go back to the
office and try to finish one more letter. This procedure went
on all through the evening, until I got too tired to continue.
Then I turned off my computer and printer, turned off the lights,
closed the office door and went into the house for the night.
Tuesday I had a busy
schedule again and didn't get home until 6 in the evening. I
changed into some shorts and returned to my home office to continue
where I had left off the night before. But before tackling the
letters again, I decided to write my article for SFAOL, about
an incident that had happened some time in the past. So I sat
down and started working.
Next to my desk is
a closet with a door thats always open, for two reasons.
One is that water from a leak in the roof some time back warped
the doorframe. The second reason is that the closet is crammed
so full of things like old paintings (and I don't mean Rembrandts,
I mean just plain old) that the door couldn't be pushed closed
even if I fixed it. Working at my desk the night before, I kept
hearing a little scratching, slipping noise, like a beetle trying
to walk on paper. I considered getting up and finding the beetle
to put him outside, but finally decided that nothing would be
damaged by leaving him where he was. I had plenty to do without
wasting my time looking for a bug.
Finishing my article
on Tuesday night, I heard the little noise again. It seemed
to be coming from the closet, so I glanced in that directionand
right on the threshold of the door, not four feet from where
I sat, stood a skunk! At first my mind wouldn't register it.
I mean, I live in a residential neighborhood with houses all
around me. When my mind finally grasped the situation, I practically
jumped out of the chair. Or more accurately, I did jump out
of the chair! When I did, the skunk immediately took a defensive
posture. I don't have to tell you what that is. At that moment
all I could think of was if he decided to do his business where
he was standing, I would never ever be able to go in that office
I ran out of the
office and into my house, leaving the office door open in hopes
that the skunk would leave things pretty much as he found them,
after spending the previous evening, and now this day and evening
too, as my guest. Entering the house and closing the kitchen
door behind me, I excitedly told Linda about the skunk. She
immediately wanted to go see it, but as she charged toward the
door I grabbed her arm in a vise-like grip. No way, I told her,
was she going out to see the cute skunk and take a chance of
getting my office perfumed. I wondered if I had paid my insurance,
in case I had to burn the garages down.
After about 20 minutes,
a little Pepe-la-Pew came walking out the door with his spindly
little tail held high in the air, in case that big old human
showed up again. Off he marched into the evening air, leaving
things just as he had found them the night before.
Boy, was I happy.
For two reasons. I was happy that I had avoided getting stinked
out. And I was also happy that I had a story ready and waiting
for this week. I hope you enjoyed it.
Have a good day.