It’s 4:15 a.m., and I should be in bed dreaming all the wacky things I tend to dream about (rollerskating cosmetics department salesmen, for example), but I’m wide awake.
Last “night” I fell asleep at about 6 a.m. and awoke three hours later. Someone’s building a house across the street, and the hammering prevented me from falling back to sleep. After lying in bed thinking about this, that and the other, restless with the gray light teasing my eyelids and my limbs tingling with the season’s potential, I decided not to waste the morning’s delicious air and hopped out of bed, laced up my walking shoes and hit the pavement. I’m so glad I did.
I hope those of you in Dallas got to savor this rare, cool morning. Though it was blissfully overcast, I wore my sunglasses, for the sun always burns a bit more on sleep-deprived eyes. I walked along, relishing the goose bumps on my forearms. I brought my hand to my cheek and delighted how, for the first time in months, it felt cool in the open air. I hit the play button on my iPod and indulged in the slower songs, the ones I’d ordinarily skip over during a real workout. Not once did I break into a jog, and not once did I feel guilty for my slower pace.
My new neighborhood suits me quite well. It has mature trees, darling homes and truly friendly residents. Today I walked past an elderly woman playing with her dogs. The dogs, both mutts, yapped a friendly hello, so I stopped and got acquainted with them. Their names were Sandy and Yonkers; hers was Anne. After chatting with Anne a bit about the weather and the infiltration of McMansions in the area, I moved on. On the next street over, I came upon one of the coolest trees I’ve seen in Dallas. Its branches were so long and immense, a few of them had to be anchored to higher, sturdier branches. At the risk of sounding even dorkier than usual, I must say it warmed my heart to know that the people who owned that lot cared enough to preserve this natural beauty.
An hour later, I dragged myself from the more scenic part of the neighborhood and headed to Walgreens to buy some contact solution and a Tropicana smoothie (which was delicious, by the way). As I approached a main intersection, I came upon a TXU Energy technician who was apparently trying to repair a traffic light. With grave intent and seemingly great pride, he raised this tall, slender poll to the skies, and I felt an overwhelming urge to salute him. I managed not to, however, and instead just said hello. He gave me a friendly nod and went back to work.
Finally I reached the store. At that point I was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open in the fluorescent lighting, so I kept my sunglasses on. Had I not been so eager to get on home, I’d have liked to have eavesdropped on the two women in the deodorant aisle, who were engaged in an animated conversation about some Other Woman’s plastic surgery. Instead, I quickly paid for my goods and skidaddled on back to the homestead. When I finally got back to my apartment, I tore off my shoes and clothes and collapsed gratefully into bed. Sleep never felt so good.