Today is Copyrighted

Important Rule in Life: When someone asks you “what’s up?”, it’s good to have something cool or funny to say.

A good thing to ask yourself at the end of each day is “What happened today that makes this day different from every other day I’ve lived?”  So many of the days of our lives seem normal and insignificant.  As a way of making them seem more meaningful, I like to observe what makes each day special.  It makes future conversations more interesting. 

Like today, I jumped in my Honda Element for the drive to work, and immediately I was taken back to the smell of the boys’ locker room from my high school in 1996.  But there are never dirty clothes in my car and I never leave the windows down (in the event it had rained during the night) and there’s no carpet in my car at all.  So why did my car smell like a sour milk sock?  I endured the odor for 22 minutes until I arrived at work when I took a minute to sniff around, but to no avail.

Six hours pass and I’m getting my mountain bike out for my lunch break ride.  And near the front of the bike tire, underneath my emergency hoodie, was a black-and-brown banana, wrapped up in a clear plastic grocery bag from Publix.  And then I thought to myself, “So that’s where left that banana!”  I’m thinking it had been there for around 16 days.  It was so rotten that it was liquefying and running out of the bag.  Good thing I keep emergency Wet Wipes handy.

That mildly entertaining story will become the copyrighted material of today.  It’s why today is different than any other day of my life.  Nothing too dramatic or life-changing.  At best, just a reference I can make at some point in the future in a conversation with a group of friends where the conversation topic is “smelly things”.  This day will live in infamy.  And comedy.

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Misadventures in Daycare: Summer of 1987

Three months in the Alabama Slammer.

The smell of burnt scrambled eggs is so distinct. Somehow the cooks at my summer daycare in 1987 managed to consistently make sure breakfast was less than gourmet quality. For me at age six, I treated daycare like prison. I was forced to be there. I was made to sleep on a cot for an hour even though I wasn’t tired. I had to watch TV shows I didn’t want to see, like Reading Rainbow marathons. For the most part, I kept my head down and stayed out of everybody’s business. I wasn’t there to make friends. I was there to serve my time and move on.

At least my partner in crime was there with me. My sister Dana, being 3 years younger than me, was with a different age group for most of the day. But from 2 to 3 o’clock all the kids were in the same room for nap time. The entire floor was covered with grungy green army cots we had to balance on and pretend like we were all sleeping. Baffled by all these strange kids around me who for some reason actually seemed to enjoy being there, the only person I would talk to was my sister. Not only was she easy to talk to (she was 3 at the time) but she thought I was funny.

One day during nap time on the cot next to hers, I held up my hand near her face, waving hello. Then I pulled in three of my fingers to my palm to make a gun. Next I pulled in my thumb and pointer finger to make a fist. She was impressed with my ability to wave, make a gun, then a fist with the same hand in a matter of seconds. A woman in charge saw me do it and said in front of everyone, “Nick, put your hand down and stop bothering your sister.” I didn’t care enough to explain that she liked it and so stood convicted of my new crime.

By the end of the summer though, a wonderful event occurred. A prospective parent brought their child in to visit the place, all dressed up like they were from Connecticut or something. While giving the tour, one of the ladies in charge of the place showed the parent and child where the restroom was.

She opened the door only to find there was a boy sitting down on the toilet with his shorts around his ankles. He didn’t lock the door and therefore was exposed to the parent, child, and everyone facing that side of the room. It was great. That made my summer at Lad & Lassie Day Care worth the while.

Classic.

Wake Up, Get Going, Run Hard, Wind Down, Shut Off, Repeat

There is something comforting in routine.

Most of us participate in some sort of daily routine that guides along our bodies and minds throughout each 24 hour period.  First, we get stimulated with coffee, tea, a hearty breakfast, or even just by reading the newest daily articles on MSN or our favorite online author.  The day hasn’t officially begun until we have done whatever it takes to “wake up”.  I know on any given day, I’m no good until I’ve been awake for 90 minutes- until then, I’m just a Sayid zombie.

Once we are in gear, we spend most of the daylight hours doing our thing.  Being active in body and mind.  Good stress hopefully more than bad.  Often the part of the day where hours seem to pass the quickest, since this is typically the busiest time. 

But then, as we approach the final work hour of the day, we begin reaching for the towel- the towel to throw in, and call it a day.  This begins the “wind down” phase where we start becoming less active.  By the time we get home from work, we’re ready for whatever it is that helps us to drift off just a little, to wander out of our “active mode”. 

Mindless TV, playing on the Internet, a halfway nap, a walk outside, a beverage of choice- something to signify to ourselves- “I’ve still got stuff to do, but I’m at my own pace now”.  Then we do whatever we want to do (along with most whatever those we live with want to do). 

A few (or several) hours later, we’re asleep.  Then we start it over the next morning.

This is nothing groundbreaking, as we are all obviously familiar with the routine of an average weekday.  But for me, it’s interesting to see this typed out in front of me.  It shows me though a routine often symbolizes monotony, routine also keeps this interesting and different.

To imagine a typical weekday without our “wake up” and “wind down” devices…

Just to wake up, fully alert, and remain that way all day until we go to bed and instantly fall asleep.  No coffee.  No playing on the Internet or reading.  Nothing to float us through the mundane parts of the day. 

Nothing superficial to push us or jerk us in the right direction or up to the necessary speed. 

We rely on routine.  We rely on vices.  Routine helps our lives from becoming too routine.