So you’re at a reading, and it’s good, the seats are comfortable and you’re up close, but not so close that you have to maintain eye contact or make sure you’re smiling or anything. Everyone’s pretty interesting and seems comfortable, which means you don’t have to be nervous on their behalf, and best of all, they’re brief, and you really want to stay and see the rest of the show but you have to go to a dinner party over in Marin, so at the last possible second you race home, change into a dressy, dinner-eating top and put on some lipstick and trot down to your car, which doesn’t start and doesn’t start until, just as you’re beginning to sweat through your dressy, dinner-eating top, the engine somehow catches and you’re off, except you have to stop to get gas, and then you have to stop and get flowers, but, yeah, you make it over the bridge with minutes to spare and you park in the planned community guest lot and navigate your way, led by your big bouquet with the gigantic bow, to the correct condo, and you ring the doorbell, and ring the doorbell, and ring the doorbell, huh. You take a few steps back and look up and see that all the lights are off in there and the neighbors are nosing out their windows and staring at what can only be a jilted stalker, and you realize, yes, no, yes, you’re early … like seven days early.
And things just get worse from there until Monday, which is the bottom of the bottom, a real and true brown-car kind of day, you come home after a night at school, which comes on top of a day at work, and you puff your way up five flights of stairs (because you’re trying to become one of those people who climb stairs, not wait passively for things — elevators, life — to happen) and you’re out of breath and exhausted and in such a hunger panic, you can only just manage to boil water for pasta and let the hot noodles heat up the cold, leftover sauce right there in the tupperware, and as you stand there, eating your lukewarm dinner, the Giants win the pennant and the sky above the ballpark fills with fireworks and there’s a blimp up there and everyone in your neighborhood starts to scream and honk, and you turn out all the lights and watch and listen and eat and feel a whole lot better. Because, you know, fireworks! Plus there’s the little matter of a forgotten, and then exitedly remembered, $2.99 macaroon the size of a human heart — a heart swollen with the joy of a surprise cookie.