Best on the Shoreline!
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My alarm goes off and it’s pitch black outside. My hand flops like a fish next to the clock. I can’t reach it. With a grunt I prop myself onto my elbows, scoot up, and roughly palm the alarm button. Someday I’m going to break the thing. How can it be time to get up already? And how did I get myself scooched down to the middle of the mattress?
My dreams were all the type where you’re trying to get somewhere or do something and you can’t. I wake up and I’m already exhausted.
On the way to work trees are blushing gold and rust. Someone cuts me off and I assume it’s because he or she is even later than I am. We all have to be somewhere at this early hour. And later we’ll all have to be somewhere else.
I’m not on the run all the time. Just most of the time. I’m like a kitten, I run and run but when I finally stop, I drop. Sleep comes crashing down and within moments of my head slamming the pillow, I’m most likely snoring.
Later in the week I run into some old friends while I’m out and about. One cocks her head, “Soooooooo...” she begins and I know what’s coming. “Any boyfriend in the picture?”
Yup. Called it.
“No, not at the moment,” I answer.
“Really? Why not?”
“Ohhhh, I don’t know,” I say. But I do know.
Who has time?
It’s not like I’m married or raising kids or have five jobs, but it seems as if there isn’t enough time in each day to do all that has to be done. Of course, it’s not just me. Everyone I know feels the same way. Here on the shoreline, people are constantly on the go. It’s not like living in Manhattan, but it’s not Mayberry, either.
I once dated someone and was so low on his priority list we barely saw each other. He was divorced with children, so when it came to priorities I was below his children, which is good. That’s how it should be. I was also below his ex-wife, which wasn’t the greatest, but I could understand it because they had kids together. I was also below his job, which as he told it, was very demanding. What kind of got me was being below his dog. He loved his dog dearly and dogs do need a lot of care, but I was also below the dog he was still sort-of sharing with his ex-wife. What really got me was being below his other girlfriend who was part of the picture for a long time before I found out about it. No wonder the guy always seemed tired.
When I finally realized all of this was going on, I decided I didn’t have time for any of it.
That’s a pretty extreme example and maybe not the nicest one. It does demonstrate how people’s lives seem to be impossibly full these days, though. Between the obligations and the exes, who has a moment left for anything—or anyone—else?
Halloween is approaching. This means horror classics on TV and haunted hay rides at local orchards. I drive home from work in the pumpkin-colored gloaming and think about relationships. Where would someone fall on my priority list? Where would I fall on his? How did our lives get to be filled with so much?
I pass a house with a giant fake spider on the porch. The spider’s legs fan out at least three feet and its eyes glow neon green. I’m in a rush because I have to be somewhere and know I’ll be late because I have to stop home first. Too much to do and not enough time to do it in. I push on the gas. A mailbox I speed by has a skeleton leaning against it.
The usual Halloween trappings aren’t too terrifying. Trying to navigate a relationship in this crazed day and age? Now that’s scary.
Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2017 Independent Press Awards, Humor Category and winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of her columns at www.zip06.com/shorelineliving.
Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .