My novio often says “good morning little mole!” when I emerge from the bedroom half-blind and looking for coffee. At the moment, however, he is working, while I still have four weeks of vacation left and can sleep all the way in. So these days we don’t really wake up together, which means it was just me, myself, and I, alone in my sticky-eyed moleness this morning. As I reached my proverbial claws out of my proverbial burrow and sniffed around, shit got dark real quick.
The rain had finally let up overnight and the breeze it left behind was cool and sweet. The sun was shining. Although the construction workers had been banging away for hours, I hadn’t noticed. What a beautiful day! someone who is not me might’ve said upon waking. But someone who is me, or at least sometimes me, said:
You have no purpose.
You are a loser.
And a weirdo.
You sweat too much.
You are a failure and a fake.
Shit-talking oneself first thing in the morning is really not OK. I mean it might be OK and understandable, necessary even, for someone who grossly mishandles a global pandemic or incites violence or locks humans in cages, but something tells me that the internal dialogue of a person like this looks very different than mine does.
But I woke up with these trashy mantras floating through my head anyway. Then I opened my e-mail and saw that Mary Oliver’s book of essays, Blue Pastures, had been left in the mailbox.
Great, I thought. Fantastic! Mary Oliver is a literary dime piece. She’ll probably have an essay about the simplicity of leaves or some shit to make me realize that I’m a big drama queen and that peace is possible even among all this uncertainty and existential angst.
I got dressed, took the elevator downstairs, turned the key in the mailbox, opened the tiny door, and found another dark, empty hole. No book. No salvation.
I made my way to the doorman’s office to inquire about it. In Spain, I usually have communication problems with the men at the door. It’s because of my accent, I think. And now, with the mask mandate and the whole not being able to see anyone’s mouth issue, things are worse–for both me, and them. But we made it work:
Me: Hola, I received a delivery confirmation for a book, but there’s no book in the mailbox. Did you accept any deliveries?
Him: *blank stare*
Me: A Package. From Amazon. A package. I should have received one. Could it be the little package you have sitting on your desk right there?
Him (laughing): No, it couldn’t be this one. That’s impossible, because this one is for me.
Me: Ah… hm, I don’t know then…
Him: Well, the delivery man also had another package, but he left it in a different box. It seemed strange to me, you know, because I know those people are on vacation for the next month. He was in a hurry.
Me: Well, that sounds like it might be it.
Him: Hold on a minute, I’ll be right back.
He disappeared down the stairs and appeared a few moments later with a ruler, a long piece of metal wire, and an unidentifiable piece of plastic. He headed to the mailbox in question and I offered to shine my phone light into it, just to make sure my package was really in there before we began committing a federal crime. Sure enough, it was.
The long metal wire didn’t work, and neither did the unidentifiable plastic. In a final attempt, he slid the ruler under the bottom of the box and managed to push the package up to the slot, where someone with small hands, which the doorman does not have, might be able to grab it.
Him: What are your fingers like?
Me: Well, (*thinking*: sweaty… so, so sweaty) I think I can get it.
I felt a bizarre sense of danger and relief as I stepped into his personal space and worked my hand into the slot, finally managing to pull out the book. It was the first time in five months that I’ve shared anything resembling space or time with a stranger, let alone a common goal.
He collected his tools and turned to me as I thanked him.
Him: He was just in such a hurry.
Me: Ya, las prisas no son buenas. Haste makes waste.
Him: Haste makes waste, that’s right. Hey, this never happened.
Me: I wasn’t here and I never saw you.
I haven’t started reading the essays yet. I don’t think I need to. It’s like Mary’s spirit flew out of the book, possessed the delivery man, and slapped me in the face: don’t hurry to a destination that you can’t even name. Don’t berate yourself for not being there yet, wherever there may be.
And all of this is also just to say that it is OK to wake up in a trashcan sometimes.