Mind the Gap

Laura Vasilion

Wandering the Rails of a Writer’s Mind

Unsplash photo by Artur Tumasjan

Today, I’m in my favorite deli. It’s got great food and the perfect vibe for getting some serious writing done. But isn’t going well.

As I bite into my tuna fish sandwich, a wasp whips past my head. Luckily, it isn’t a tuna eating wasp. Still, it takes me a few seconds to recover and refocus. Long enough to notice that “California Dreaming” is playing on the overhead radio. I love that song, especially the lyrics. But I can’t make them out because a man and woman behind me are having some sort of business meeting. Hunched over laptops, they toss out jargon I try to ignore. Until they start using the word, redacted. A lot. It reminds of that time, not too long ago, when everyone was using the word, imbedded. How long, I wonder, will we have to suffer this new word fad.

But then again, who am I to judge? I’m supposed to be a writer and the only words that fall out of my head today are generated by strangers. Walgreens is hiring. I should apply. At the very least, I could be vacuuming. Weeding. Doing laundry. Organizing photo albums. Something that has a beginning and an end. A task that can be done in an afternoon.

Then I remember that today I did put oil in the car’s engine and air in the tires. (Actually, the attendant did that). And I called my doctor first thing this morning when I discovered my urine was tinted pink. Realized, after talking to the nurse, that yes, I had eaten beets within the last 24 hours. Nice to have made a nurse laugh today. I was slightly disappointed, though, because while I was on hold I began crafting a great farewell letter to my family, should the prognosis be failing kidneys.

Sighing, I take a sip of coffee and raise my hands over my keyboard just as the door to the shop opens and a woman, about forty, walks inside. She orders a salad and a bag of barbecue potato chips. Sits down at a nearby table as I try not to stare but I can’t help it. She has purpose on her mind and I am envious. With one hand she plops a potato chip in her mouth. With the other hand, she raises her cell phone. Scans it with one thumb. Sets it down and goes back to munching chips. Whips out a laptop and begins typing furiously.

I mean, wow.

At another table, an Asian woman in her 70s is playing a game on her cell phone. Eating a pasta salad. Taking sips of her overly iced tea in between bites. This is someone who knows how to pace herself. I think I could learn a few things from her.

Confession: After the potato chip woman left the cafe, I got up and bought a bag of the same chips. I devoured the bag while staring at the Asian woman, hence the comment about pacing.

Glancing at my watch, I realize Jeopardy comes on in a few minutes but I’m not going to make it home in time. No biggie. It’s just teen week, after all.

Confession: After I ate my chips I got up again and went to get more coffee. Passing the deli’s television, I saw that it was tuned to Jeopardy. “Come and Get Your Love” was playing on the overhead radio, which gave Jeopardy a kinky vibe. Intrigued, I linger and read one of the answers that flashes on the television screen, “This is the person who owns the apartment where you live and pay rent.” For some reason, overlord was the word that popped into my head.

Back at my table, I watch a woman stroll past the shop’s window. She is walking a dog, carrying a bag of poop, and wearing a cotton face mask. My first thought is, what did she give that dog for breakfast?

I see that the Asian woman continues to play her game. Behind me, the man and woman are now talking about spreadsheets. Nothing kills the mood more than talk of spreadsheets. I’m about done here. Besides, yoga starts in 45 minutes and my yoga pants are still in the washer.

On the way home, I follow a plumbing truck with the word river in its signage. The company’s tagline is “Call The River When You’re up a Creek.” At the stoplight, I ask Siri the origin of up the creek. It dates back to early America, she says, when going up a creek without a paddle would put you in a “prickly predicament.”

All in all, it’s been a pretty productive writing day.

Laura Vasilion

Written by

Editor of Talking to the World (https://medium.com/talking-to-the-world). Novelist. Freelance writer. Would rather be living in Iceland.

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