I am in the midst of an uncounted hour.
I’m sitting in a coffee shop. Pop songs blare from overhead and the steam wand on the espresso machine seems to be stuck open. A guy behind me has a very loud laugh and finds himself hilarious. He also finds profanity hilarious. I think I’ve been hanging around people under four feet tall too long. I keep wanting to turn around and scold him for toilet talk. But his tattoos are scary.
And anyway, the view out the bank of windows is welcoming and the iced coffee beside me is happy to keep me company. My laptop rests it’s weary back against a cement wall beam and does its best to keep up with my fingers. Poor laptop. It’s in its twilight years and weakening fast. Last month it lost control of its hinges, and now I’m pretty sure it has cataracts. But it’s a faithful creature, and loyalty should be rewarded with a graceful old age. Or so I tell myself in the hope that at least one of my children will treat me at least as well when I’ve lost control over my own hinges.
Uncounted hours are sweeter than those saved-up-for hours of freedom. The surprising hours. The hours no one knows where you are. The hours your phone languishes lost on the floor of the car, when no wireless service circles you head, when no one is calling your name or some variation thereof. These are the moment of revision. Not just of whatever article creaks before me on my hazy screen, but of my mood. These are the hours I shake off bitterness, crankiness, overwhelmedness and emerge refreshed and not-so-tired. Ready to make dinner, supervise homework, feed lots of four-legged creatures, field political phone surveys, and answer questions like, “Mommy, why do people pee the bed a lot when they’re going through puberty?”
So laugh on, silly man who swears too much. Spray on, annoying steam wand. Limp on, dear laptop. I am alone in a crowded place and reveling in the evidence that life is, despite occasional proof of difference, sweet.