Kage Baker, like so many people, hated Mondays.Unless they were the third day of a 3-day weekend; in which case, they were to be used for excursions, extra writing, and other gleeful pursuits of self-selected delights.
Even after she retired from 9-5 drudgery to work and write from home, she hated Mondays. This was largely because I still had an office job, and wasn’t especially noble about having to get up and go in. I’d drag around the house on Monday morning, whinging and moaning and making those threshold-of-hearing noises that the room mates of sleeping people make to drive them nuts …
“Can’t you leave quietly?” she’d hiss from her bedroom.
“I don’t want you to take sleeping in for granted,” I’d say virtuously, trying to find two matching shoes.
“Oh, screw you!”
So, today is a Monday. We had hot and cold running raccoons all night, and the Corgi had to repel boarders at least once. Despite the hideous wrath of God weather in the Midwest – where it is currently snowing on the tornado damage – it’s muggy and in the 80’s here in Los Angeles: our least attractive weather pattern, hot fog. I resent it and feel guilty about it, since my roof is intact and the only noticeable earthquake we had to day was in Berkeley; and frankly, Berkeley on a Monday tends to spasm a little naturally.
Mondays was further horror-enhanced by my entering a phase of mourning not mentioned in the formal lists. It’s sort of … uber sensitivity. That is, a sudden excrutiating awareness of a thousand little reminders of loss, long after the larger realities have settled into place. I feel like I’ve forgotten things, things that mattered enormously while Kage was alive; and now all those things are awake and standing by the road as I pass by, making rude gestures … Suddenly there a tons of small things popping up, and every one of them feels like a glass shard of memory in my heart.
See’s Chocolate’s damned Irish Potatoes, the weirdest seasonal candy ever: Kage loved them. Lawn flamingos. John Carter of Mars, whose Tars Tarkis looks to be properly sardonic but too skinny. Neanderthal art discovered. The positive flood of new and re-discovered animals in Malaysia; the insane new pterosaur fossil in China; the re-hybridization of the Sonoran red wolf.
Bacon and egg burritos at Los Burritos. KFC’s chicken pot pie coming back. Yucca spires on the hills, the tall spoked plants she called “wheel trees.” Finding Mr. Krabbs in a desk drawer. The first daffodil blooming in the pot where she planted them. All the weird and lovely things I see as I drive through the city every day, that make me think automatically: Oh, must tell Kage when I get home! And then remembering again that I never will …
Memory is sometimes like a malignant hedgehog, running out of the shadows to stab you with a thousand ridiculous little needles. The metaphor is absurd, but that’s what it feels like. All those tiny pains, nothing that can stop me but nothing that will stop cutting into me, either.
Man, I hate Mondays.