Monday, June 9, 2008

Where Tired and Stinky Meets Cranky and Complicated

This morning I was completely wiped out and barely functioning when I arrived at work, in large part due to the fact that the weather has been in the 90s the past two days and there is no air conditioning in my apartment (how did I miss that?).

Any normal person would just drink coffee and get on with life. The problem is I hate coffee, even coffee ice cream and THAT is saying something. I’m generally not a fan of any bitter tastes…I don’t even like dark chocolate all that much. However, in a real pinch I will drink hazelnut coffee with about a cup of sugar and a lot of milk. This concoction is what got me through the days in NYC when I had to take the commuter train to northern Westchester county, a 3 hour adventure that required leaving my apartment at 7 am, two subway trains, navigating both Times Square and Grand Central during rush hour, the commuter train itself, and a shuttle bus.

This morning I was dragging so badly when I got to work that I caved and bought hazelnut coffee. From the first sip I was back on that Metro North train, silently praying that some freak of the time-space continuum would occur at the White Plains stop that would make the day over before it began. Half asleep, I would imagine Jean-Luc Picard materializing in the aisle of the train and explaining that some complicated theoretical physics problem involving worm holes required us to speed up time by 8 hours. And I’d imagine us all yelling “Make it so!” as the train reversed itself. And, y’know, if that worm hole just happened to land us in “I Get What I Want World”, so much the better.

Obviously, that never happened. I saw a lot of strange things in NYC but a fictitious character from Star Trek materializing on a Metro-North train was not one of them. But what I find so fascinating (other than the depths of my imagination...) is how a taste/smell can fling me so far into a memory that I feel like I am reliving the experience, even an experience that was in large part imagined. Sometimes this is nice, like the smell of lilacs reminding me of being little (5 or 6) and going with my dad to this clearing in the woods out in Lovell where there were probably 50 lilac trees, and we cut a bunch for my mom. I remember riding back to Waterford in my dad's truck with a huge pile of lilacs on my lap. But sometimes it's not so pleasant, or perhaps maybe complicated is the better when a whiff of some man on a train reminds you of someone you love, or that dish soap reminds you of your grandmother who died after a long painful illness. It almost feels like time travel; your body may stay put but the rest of you is completely somewhere else.

Speaking of somewhere else...I called the Maine Dep't of Revenue today because I hadn't received my refund. For those of you who read my old blog, you may remember that filing my taxes this year just about did me in, particularly when the ceiling leaked all over my tax stuff. Maine's forms were just RIDICULOUSLY complicated, and clearly aimed at the state taxing every last red cent they could. And, as it turns out, the state is taxing income I earned while a NY resident, such that instead of them owing me $380 I now owe them $140. I am hoping that this is all some misunderstanding, because I just don't see how this is possible. Grrrr.

And now, I am going to sit in front of a fan and try to think happy thoughts.

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