An Afternoon

The occasional murder of crows returned this afternoon, their cawing like decibel-driven bird testosterone. These crows are large and full of personality. On a whim, I went outside and scattered four bags of my beloved PopChips behind the dumpster. By the time I went inside, their excited discovery of same caused a melee of activity there. Güino watched and listened in nervous excitement from slightly outside the apartment, his back legs twitching in time to his swishing tail. Though it is the middle of October, it was 72 degrees with a slight, stirring breeze. The passersby in the throng of traffic failed to take note of the crows. “Much to their loss,” I thought to myself.

I had taken a break from painting two more inside doors of my apartment. To my dissatisfaction, the pragmatic part of me had surrendered to painting the doors classic grey – instead of a wild blue or deep red. In a flash of inspiration, I decided to find (or make) a metal silhouette of a crow and put it on at least one of the doors. My bathroom door has been off since two days ago. The cat learned again that it is idiotic to jump onto the top of a recently-painted door. If he does it again, I’m leaving the paw prints as part of the intended look.

I turned on all my inside LED lights to flood the space with color. I wish I had the technology to bathe all the walls in vivid, wild splashes of it.

Yesterday was a day to reconnect to the value of genealogy, a hobby I’d started with doubts as to whether I’d be deeply interested. I was wrong. Almost a decade has past and my Ancestry account at one time held 100+ family trees. It gave me a few more skills to use to find missing fathers, long-lost friends for other people, allegedly missing birth certificates, and reconnect people to their own history. It’s pushed me to determine whether someone has Native American ancestry (few actually do, despite the stories they might have heard). When you immerse yourself into genealogy, you relearn how interconnected we are. Often literally. A couple of people were surprised to find out just how far I’d taken their family trees. I’ve fallen out of the dedicated habit in the last few months; life has pushed my attention elsewhere. As interesting as the document and paper trail side of family trees has been, none have meshed the forensic and undeniable magic that DNA has. It is the inarguable blueprint that identifies us. Libido has always been the x variable in our shared histories. It drives so much behavior and (mis)adventure. Yesterday renewed my urge to continue to flesh out people’s blueprints. Behind it all is my love of pictures. Even though I don’t know the people in most of the photos I unearth, it has always ignited my imagination. For those I love, I mark their death by adding hundreds of pictures to a database that’s likely to survive generations. It’s only fair that pictures be shared. I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but I cringe to think of the millions of unappreciated pictures in basements, attics, boxes, and containers pushed carelessly onto garage shelves or under beds.

Because I have to be more cautious with money, I applied a mathematician’s eye to the lottery. Surprisingly, the most cost-effective lottery option is the Natural State Jackpot game. Tickets are $1. The current payout is 330K – but the odds of winning, though still long, are hundreds of times in your favor compared to the Mega Millions or Powerball. After taxes, I could buy several thousand cans of paint. 🙂 Maybe enough to paint your house while you’re sleeping. Because most people don’t know how the multi-draw option works, I’d recommend you look into it. You’ll spend less and won’t miss a drawing. If wasting your money on smaller lottery payouts doesn’t interest you, feel free to throw some money at bitcoin; those guys desperately need more money.

I came home from work tired but also invigorated. Because boredom isn’t a trait I’m afflicted with, I tried to prioritize how I might squeeze ten hours of activity into a much smaller time span. And that caused me to sit and think of the larger picture: how can I fit more into the unknown remainder of my life? No matter what I do, I know I’ll die with plans still unrealized.

It occurred to me that I might stop to eat. I’m still off-schedule with everything, food included. Most mornings, I down a protein drink before my first cup of coffee. It satiates me in a way that I didn’t expect it to when I started. Dairy was a stranger to me for so long. Now, I eat low-fat cottage cheese, skim milk (for the protein powder, though I eat that raw and by the spoonful at times), sugar-free pudding, and Greek yogurt as if I own stock in the companies. I still drink a V-8 most days and find creative ways to eat fruits and vegetables, many of which I’m certain would make you wrinkle your nose in surprise. The joy is knowing it’s possible to eat a great diet and be as weird as I’d like to be.

While I was writing the last part, the Walmart+ driver sneaked up to the landing to drop my groceries. It’s such an indulgence to have delicious food dropped at the door. This is the first time I haven’t walked down and carried all my groceries up myself. On another note, when you buy your groceries yourself, there are of course, advantages. And you don’t have to tip the driver. BUT, when you consciously make a list to buy whatever you need, you will save a lot of money by not impulse-purchasing. This effect is amplified when you’re buying for one person. As the Walmart+ driver walked away, he said, “I love the decorations.” He laughed at a couple of them. He could see the LED lights reflecting inside, too. ‘I bet your place is full of color, isn’t it?” I laughed. “Not enough. I won’t rest until it looks like a nuclear bomb of rainbows went off in there.” He smiled and nodded.

I went back outside and watched the birds and the traffic.

All the people streaming by, each intent on their respective goal. And yet, they still paid little attention to the crows.

The afternoon and I shared a moment.

Love, X

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