Another Daily Distraction / Another Daily Habitual Distraction
by Jace Daniel (b. 1969)
Over medium heat, stir together until onions are soft. Add peppers, chopped tomatoes, and tomato sauce…
Still can’t believe it. Probably never will. The California drought. Abandoned swimming pools. One single goddamn mosquito. Perfect storm. Why do we even need to know what West Nile is? What is this, Africa? Unbelievable. Dumb luck doesn’t even describe it.
Simmer, stirring occasionally…
Speaking of disease, a handheld can opener might very well be the most unsanitary object known to man. Well, that and maybe a kitchen sponge.
Drain and rinse kidney beans. Add and cook to chili and cook an additional fifteen minutes. Stir occasionally.
I wonder if that file’s uploaded yet. Easy, turbo! What are you, an idiot? You’ll burn the house down if you don’t keep an eye on this stove. And you know you’ll forget.
iPhone -> Clock ->Timer -> 0 hours 3 minutes -> Start
Give it one good stir. Cover. Good for now. Rinse the wooden spoon and leave it. Flies and all that.
MacBook Pro -> DropBox -> Sync Status 68%… 69%…
Taking awhile. Probably should’ve flattened those files on the spreads. No matter.
New email. SUBJECT: “Funeral itinerary”
Hmm. Weather forecast says it might rain that day. And it’ll be cold. Down to 39 overnight. How appropriate. Ever stood at the edge of a six-foot-deep hole and looked straight down? It’s a lot deeper than you might think. Probably because it’s so narrow. And columnar.
BUZZ. BUZZZ. BUZZ. Incoming call: (818) XXX-XXXX
Burbank. Anybody I need to hear from in Burbank is already in my Contacts. Probably another carpet cleaning service. Or maybe a recruiter. I need to get off these lists. Hell, we don’t even have a carpet. Might as well answer. They’d call back anyway.
“Hello, this is Frank. From the fence company.”
Well, hell. Cool. I almost forgot.
“Hey Frank. What’s up, man?”
“We’re outside. Here to finish putting on the side gate.”
Finally. That project’s been half-done for weeks now. It’s about time they come and finish the thing off.
“Cool. Hold on. Be right out.”
Save file, check. Slip on the Sanuks, check. Get the little dogs in the other room so they don’t run out the front door, check. Grab the house keys, check.
Frank stands out on the sidewalk with his assistant. Their company pickup in the driveway. A handsome new gate strapped to the roof, ready for installation. Seriously, damn. Looks gorgeous.
These guys look spent. Long day. Nice of them to try to squeeze us in an hour before sundown.
“Hey Frank! Sorry if I sounded short on the phone, man. I though you were a spammer.”
“Haha. No worries, bro. No worries.”
“You guys look like you’ve been busy.”
“Crazy-busy week. A good problem to have. How are things with you guys?”
Aw, man. Do I really want to get into it now? With a contractor? Might as well. We’d talked about Pop’s condition before. Frank deserves an update.
“My Dad died last week. It’s been pretty surreal.”
“Oh, man. Sorry, bro. I actually just heard about somebody else who got the same thing you were talking about. Mosquito bite. West Nile virus.”
A car drives up the street, hurrying about its business. Frank’s assistant unstraps the new gate from the truck and brings it down to the driveway.
“So are you guys able to finish up today?”
“Yeah, bro. Give us a couple hours. And hey, check out your new gate! Boss suggested doing it as redwood, but I talked him into doing it with the same wood as the front one. To match.”
And it does match. Looks fantastic. Same wood as the front gate they installed a month ago.
“Nice! What kind of wood is that, anyway?”
“It’s called Mangeris.”
I’ve never heard of a Mangeris tree.
“Mangeris. Where’s that come from?”
“It’s a brand name. They make fine woods for decks and fences –”
BUZZ. BUZZ. BUZZ. iPhone looking for attention in my pocket. It can wait. Probably just that carpet cleaning service, anyway.
“– the Mangeris stuff comes pretreated. Gonna last you thirty years. Unlike cheap redwood.”
“Killer. Thanks for taking care of that, Frank. You guys good here to get started? Can I get you some water?”
“Thanks, bro. Yeah, we’re good.”
“Cool. I’ll get you some water. Holler if you need anything. I’ll be working inside.”
I go back inside. Wonder who called.
iPhone -> TIMER DONE
What’s that smell?
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