I wake up at 5 this morning, set the alarm on the iPhone, the whole bit. I pull on my shorts and step into my Vans and hit the bathroom to get rid of the one Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I let myself drink last night and then away I go/down I go/down the stairs headed for the coffee pot.
I can make coffee in my sleep. I've made trillions of pots of coffee in my life. I've Malcom Gladwell'd the operation, achieved my 10,000 hour expert status in making pots of coffee by the time I was like 17. I'm making a pot of coffee right now as I type this shit. I'm not kidding. I'm typing this with one hand and making a pot of coffee with the other and both things are moving along nicely, if I do say so myself.
Anyway, I start the coffee even though I'm still ninety-seven percent unconscious and then I head out the door from the kitchen into the summer kitchen and then unlock the back door and stumble out into the backyard dark to see the last of the shooting stars.
Look, it doesn't matter why I'm looking for meteors or meteorites or whatever the hell you call them. That's not something I'm even clear about: my reasoning, my motivation. Everyone has been talking about these bastards whipping across the sky and I want in, that's all. People are talking about a remarkable event and so obviously those of us who slept right through it last night might be feeling a little pressure to crawl out of bed this morning and have a crack, you know?
Someone told me the tale of high-fiving his girlfriend in the middle of the night the other night because they were so jacked up on all the meteors they were seeing up in the sky.
I'm not the most competitive person in the world, but when it comes to stuff like this I get pissed off if I missed it. I admit that. I'm lame, what do you want me to say? You're not lame at all? Good for you. I'm lame, man.
I'm weak and ultra human.
I got pissed off when I missed the whole Mad Men thing a few months back. People talking about Mad Men this and Mad Men that, "The big finale is coming up!", blah blah blah. I got so pissed off and annoyed that I wasn't gonna be able to catch up on friggin' Mad Men in time to watch the final episode I started unfriending people on Facebook who were all Mad Menning out.
Fuuuck you, I thought. Goodbye to you and your dumbass Mad Men.
That show is ruined for me forever now, too. Don't tell me how great it is, how I need to see it; I don't care; I'll never watch it; I will pop my fingers in my earholes and la-la-la-la-la while you tell me how much I would love it in that certain kind of way that we try and sell people our own taste, by emphasizing the fact that absolutely KNOW that this particular person would LOVE it.
"Oh dude, you especially, you would LOVE MAD MEN!!!"
Soon as I hear that tone I automatically hate the thing. Band, album, show, book, hummus, it doesn't matter, I hear that very certain little tone, that emphasis on the personal, and I hate the thing so much without even teeny tiny bit of checking it out. It sucks! I know it sucks. But I can't help it. It is what it is. Tell me I'd hate it though, tell me I wouldn't dig the things you dig, and I will be clung out on your windowsill at night tapping your glass with a penny trying to wake your ass up just so you can walk over and stare at me in bewilderment as I "casually" mention to you in passing that I've actually been digging on that band you said I'd hate. So kiss my ass. And love me please. Incidentally, I don't dig the band in reality, but my false reality trumps my real one when you challenge my cultural/pop-ness.
You know what I'm talking about, don't you? You do this too, right?
Anyway the way things came down means that nothing could ever bring me back from where I ended up going with that final episode of Mad Men, how much I suffered underneath all that hype and chatter.
Maybe a woman could bring me round, I guess. If a drop dead gorgeous woman with her hooks in my chest told me she wanted to watch Mad Men with me, I'd probably go with that. No, I would go with that, I'm telling you that right now. But that hasn't happened yet and so the rest of you can take your Don Draper and all his friends and stick them in your ass.
I'M OUT, GODDAMNIT!
I know that isn't cool, of course I know that. I don't need you to tell me how juvenile that is, but there you go: I'm writing my honest, true heart here, okay? Sometimes I'm moved by inexplicable whims. I get hurt by incidentals, nudged by a strange and twisted kind of evil that squats down in my bone tunnels. I'm Malcom Gladwelling preposterous disdain. I'm like five hours away from being an expert asshole.
This morning my heart feels pure enough. I want to see the meteors because I know they must be beautiful to see. I want to press my face against the predawn sky and feel the magic of something rare and wonderful in the big majestic sense, you know? Nothing feels that way to me anymore. It will again, I know it will. But lately, after divorce and all the sad blues that come along with it, everything beautiful is a struggle for me to see. I can't seem to clock much beyond the occasional skies I post on Instagram or the tiny moments when I catch my kids playing together in the front room on a Sunday morning.
I haven't been Shazam'd in a while. I could use a fucking meteor shower is what I'm saying, yo. I deserve a whole sky full of shooting stars or whatever you call 'em. That might sound a bit presumptuous and immature, me saying I deserve anything as awesome as that, but I'm saying it anyway. At least sitting here in all this late morning retrospect I am. Because in retrospect, you see, anything goes.
Point is, I don't see shit.
I turn away from the big streetlight down behind the church and I concentrate my gaze over towards the dark skies above the mountain beyond town. I give it the recommended fifteen minutes or so to let my eyes adjust. Let your eyes adjust, that's what all the damn articles on the internet have been saying, let your precious little eyeballs adjust to black infinity if you wanna see some crazy outer space romantic action, you simple-minded Walmart astronomer wannabe.
There are stars but only the still kind.
A plane or three.
I watch one pin dot flicking it's light way up there and I try to imagine where they're going. Maybe JFK? How the hell do you ever know? We cannot know. I think that sucks. I stand there and think about heading back in for a cup of coffee but I get caught up in this notion about how it would be pretty cool if there was an app that you could hold up to the sky just like that Sky Watch one, but you aim it at jets and it tells you where they're out of and where they're headed. I'd buy that. Then I remember the obvious/that people would probably use it in shitty ways, I guess. It's got to be a secret anymore, I figure. You're not allowed to know stuff like that. You and me are on a need-to-know basis when it comes to the jets twinkling way up there above our twee little lives down here on the ground.
And we don't need to know a damn thing is what we need to know,. I take my app idea and I kill it out there in my yard just as soon as it's born. I stomp it's soft baby head into the dewy grass. I cold blood murder probably the best idea I'll have all day and the sun's not even up yet.
Perseids Meteorites Seen as of This Morning:
Everyone Else: 376,763,221,217,338,093.
Serge Bielanko: 0
People up there in a jet headed for places, headed home, maybe an hour or so away from terminal hugs from someone they love so hard and have missed so badly; people sitting there in the dimmed cabin sleeping/some drooling down on their comfortable travel shirt/some listening to music or hovering around the aisle by one of the bathroom doors/stretching their legs and arms/pretending to be looking at other stuff when they're really looking at the people in the rows right there beside them. That's what I'd be doing, what I always did back when I traveled in planes a lot. I'd be pretending I was trying to dodge the thrombosis by sneaking glances at women so beautiful that they hurt my face. I would sneak looks at them as they slept there on their boyfriends shoulders or their husbands shoulders, him still half-awake squinting at the Tom Cruise flick in the seat back screen, him content with the knowledge that he is the one moving fast through the sky with a special kind of someone asleep against his body.
Clinking/clanking stewardesses getting the breakfast carts ready to roll out.
The feeling of an airplane cabin when you are roused from your shitty sleep by the sound of other people rousing from theirs, the faint thumps and squeaks of their chairs moving again, the sitters coming back to life, the rush of coffee slamming itself up your nose, the clack of trays coming down now, your blurry eyes coming round, window seat man waking up/lifting his plastic shutter/the sound is hiss-thwack/he looks out over the dark world below, you try to see too but you cannot see the dark world below, you cannot see it, you can only sense it as the lights rip down the aisles down and the cabin is lit again, you only sense what is happening miles beneath your feet, but is a sense that eludes you since you have no idea that it is connected to the universe in such a tidy little way.
You feel yourself coming alive and you are coming alive as the airplane cabin comes alive and brings you along with it. Your heart sings with inside happiness. You are kind of giddy and you cannot wait for the breakfast cart. You have nowhere to be right now. You are exactly where you paid to be and that is all that matters as you look around you at the people in the neighboring rows and you feel the loose kinship/the ephemeral human connection that happens between people riding together in same jets.
There is a casual union. Sometimes it feels like it could maybe last forever, but we both know it never does. Up in the sky, you sigh. Up in the sky, you are happy this morning. Hours ago, you fell asleep to the sight of many meteorites dancing down the unseen horizon. Window seat had let you see out there then. It was all amazing. What fortune to be in the sky during such a time. The coffee smells divine now. You're almost to Charlotte, to your connection, to Paris/to Dubai/to Moscow/to the moon. You smile to yourself at how lovely life can be.
And down here in my yard, I look up at your jet and wonder what I have to do to see a fucking a meteor around here.
I spin around, a little dejected but I'll live, my nose all up in the coffee smell pouring out of my own airplane cabin parked here in this dirt for the next ten thousand years, I guess.
I flip on the TV.
I flip it off.
I take a first sip of coffee at the exact moment a meteor crashes through the roof and explodes all over my kitchen.
I smile, take a second sip.
Here we go.