Rain coming down, huge murky puddles forming outside on the sidewalk, as the clouds grow denser, gray sky turns to black, and all of a sudden the day seems to be over, looking like night. The cars passing by on the streets make that sizzling wet sound with their tires. Indirect light, coming off from under the overcast sky, like the sun is shining somewhere, but not here, not today. Luminescent, yellow, as if it was time for the sun to set, only I know it’s 8:30am and the day has only just started.
Outside in the parking lot, my car sits. In its convertible top are two minute holes. Both of which have been produced from years of when the top being down the collapsed frame bars rubbing against the cloth. The results: two worn marks, two small areas you can almost see daylight through. When the cloth gets saturated with water they start to drip, the holes directly above the seats. The upholstery underneath soaking up water, a gushy sound when you sit down, wet ass on your pants when you get out.
I could have left the car at home. Safe in the garage. Away from the rain. But then I’d a been forced to have personally faced the elements: the rain, the wet, the weather outside. Driving to work, P J Harvey on the stereo, I sipped my latte knowing that the rain was gonna leak in at some point during the day. A luxury problem at best. Something else to deal with later. Something to think about as I sit here semi-comatose at my desk staring at a dark computer screen.
Looking out my office window across all the morning traffic on Harrison Street I can see a cardboard box in the alley move, rise and then get flung into the street as a mortified crackhead awakes to start his day. Two transsexual hookers braving the rain, one with a pink umbrella and matching miniskirt, the other in a see-through clear plastic raincoat step around him with their stiletto high heels and stroll into the standstill traffic. The two of them must a been dropped off from a long night and now they’re making their way home. Either that or business was really bad last night and they’re trying to make up for it by hustling the morning commuters.
A siren sounds. Red lights flash. A cop car tries to nudge its way through the traffic. While a businessman, at the wheel of a large silver SUV, too intent on staring at the hookers looks up into his rearview mirror surprised to see that he’s being pulled over.
Life continues despite the rain. Inside my office, away from the storm, the radiator hisses out the heat as I stare out the window. In the hallway, in front of my office door, there’s a commotion going on. But I barely look up as where I work there’s always a commotion of sorts going on. A counselor is talking loudly. About what, I don’t know? A woman starts crying. Then there’s the sound of a door closing and I can hear the traffic outside my window again as for now things have calmed down.
My phone rings. I stare at it. Do I really want to start my day yet? I decide I don’t and listen as it goes to voicemail. Nothing in a rehab is that important that it can’t wait for me to finish my coffee, unlock my file cabinets and turn on my computer.
Behind me there’s the sound of someone tapping on my window. One of my clients, clearly breaking the rules, clearly going crazy, has climbed over the bushes and is on the ledge by my office window.
“Why aren’t you answering your phone?” He asks me through the glass. I point at my ear and shake my head like I can’t hear him.
“Why aren’t you answering your phone?” He screams, almost falling backward off the ledge, almost landing in the bushes below. I feel like closing the blinds. I feel like turning around, turning on my computer and opening up my email. I feel like I really don’t want to be here dealing with people like this man on my ledge screaming about my ability to answer the phone.
Slowly I get up and open the transom like part of the window. “Ah, just what are you doing out on the ledge?” I ask and then not really waiting for an answer I say, “maybe you should get down before you hurt yourself.”
“No, I’m Ok, I was worried about you.” He says and then he slips and falls off the ledge into the bushes. Looking down all I can see are his feet sticking out and then they slowly disappear as he slips through the hedge onto the ground below. Outside the rain is picking up again and as I close the window to avoid the drops that are starting to come inside I’m actually grateful that I’m not out there getting wet.
Reaching over I pick up the phone. “Front desk, how may I help you?” Says the voice on the other end of the line. “Anita, this may sound weird but there’s one of my clients laying on the ground below my office window. Could you please send someone out there to see if he’s Ok?”
Across the street the hookers are looking over and pointing at the bushes below my window. Looking up they see me and wave. I wave back until one of them blows me a kiss.
Behind me my phone rings. I reluctantly answer it. Anita tells me my client is unconscious and bleeding and an ambulance is on the way. I hang up the phone. I contemplate going outside to see how he is doing. I look at the sky. It’s pouring rain outside. Cats and dogs? More like cows and elephants. I look at my coat hanging in the corner. I look at the radiator and then out the window at the small crowd forming below. I think I can hear the sound of sirens in the distance as they are getting closer although they already seem to be very loud.
I open my eyes and it’s dark. I close my eyes and then open them again. I’m not really here. Or to be more precise I’m not really there. I’m still in my bed at home. The phone is ringing. The alarm is going off. It’s cold and I pull the comforter closer around me. There’s the sound of rain against my bedroom windows. There’s a car going by, in the street outside, making that sizzling wet noise with its tires. It feels like I just laid down to go to sleep. It feels like I’ve only closed my eyes for a second. There’s no way that I can go to work. I’m too wiped out. Besides there’s a hole in my car’s convertible top. If I drive it to work and park it outside in the parking lot it’ll leak. The upholstery will be ruined and my ass will get wet if I sit down.
I turn off the alarm and get out of bed, with a swift movement I shove the phone into my dresser drawer and close it, mingled with my socks I can barely hear the phone as it rings. With one hand guiding me along the wall in the dark I stumble toward the door and walk into the hallway. The apartment is cold, the urge to turn around and go back to bed is strong, the internal dialog a constant debate on whether or not to keep moving further away from the warmth of my bed. I hate the morning. I hate rain. I hate alarms going off. I hate people that call at ungodly hours of the morning like I really want to talk to them. I’m mumbling “this sucks” over and over like a distorted mantra. I’m starting to gain consciousness. I’m starting to think of my day that lays ahead.