It was 430 a.m. and I’d wandered out of my hotel, 30 minutes late, asleep on my feet and seriously thrilled to be in the dark at zero dark thirty catching a cab, to catch a train, to catch a plane, to fly to Seattle, to catch a ride, to get to my car, to drive to my house, to fall on my couch. Then I remembered I didn’t have a couch in Seattle anymore and would have to fall on the couch of my son-in-law until I could drive another 3 hours to my cottage on the beach, which is too small for a couch. So much transportation.
The biting wind was rattling along the sidewalk, screeching up the pavement behind me, skittering up my pants and slipping in for the winter somewhere between my coat and my internal organs. While I stood wandering how I got there, since I was surely in bed two or three minutes before, marveling that I was not, in fact, still there (where I had landed only 3 hours before), I heard it: an eggshell white, screechy, dancey sound.
The wrinkled bones of broken window blinds were waving to me from the corner, “look at my slats, look at my slats!” They were upright and dancing (more than I could do at that hour) with their little sneaky friend, Mr. Icy Wind. The Little Blind Jig, I named the dance moves, right on the spot. The clapping metals fingers wiggled and shimmied, despite being folded in half and shoved into a trash can, and worse, left outside alone to entertain cab-waiters and sleep-forgetters. What-do-they-call-that-when-people-think-home-furnishings-are-people, I wondered, as I rubbed my red eyes, which felt bald. “Nut-jobs,” was how I, The Logical Commentator, answered myself, the Bleeding-Heart-Window-Coverings-Empathizer.
Then, before I could stop it, right out loud my mouth said to the blinds, “Ah geez, I’m sooooo sorry you got shoved into that trash can…”
The part of me that had no part in saying such drivel, the Commentator, was instantly seeping in embarrassment, more instantly than instant pudding sets up in January, more instantly than a driver in New York honks at the person in front of them when the light has barely turned green. Luckily, just before my dorky mind starting to spin around in circles from the half-awake argument between my ears, and before the dancing window blinds could answer me out loud, I remembered I was in New York. Here, God Bless America, talking to oneself, or window blinds, barely even registers on the Interesting Scale.
By the time I fell out of the cab (snoring?) at Penn Station I discovered all the trains were cancelled anyway, and that I was, in fact, a whole hour early – it was now only 430 am, not 530 – and I’d fallen out of bed to catch my flight a whole hour early, not late. While I piled into a cab with three stranded strangers, I wondered if my blind friend would also be carted away, to catch a ride to a faraway land without couches. I stopped myself before I could fall asleep on my cab-partner’s shoulders, doomed to mutter, “Goodbye, Window Coverings!”