September 19, 2011: Alfonso Mangione

September 19, 2011: Alfonso Mangione

“One time out of ten, everything is perfect for us all,” Isaac Brock sings in Modest Mouse’s “Bukowski.”

That sounds about right. There are mornings when everything’s great; I get to work on time, there are exactly the right amount of action items in my Outlook Inbox, and I can grab a few cups of coffee, throw some good albums on the iPod and feel productive but not overwhelmed.

Today isn’t one of those days. I don’t drink any more, so every day is not a little more like Bukowski, but it is like the nine times out of ten where our heart just gets dissolved. I shave my neck scruff into a beard, I hit the bus stop late, I read Bukowski’s “Ham on Rye” during my commute. (Yeah, I know, he’s a pretty good read.) I get in to the office twenty-ish minutes late. I’m nursing a sinus headache.

I don’t want it to be fall. Granted, it isn’t fall, but it feels like fall. Some of us have surrendered early, some of us haven’t. There were bus commuters in short sleeves and sun dresses, and others in jackets. And one of my co-workers had wrapped himself up in a blanket, but he was drinking iced coffee, so he couldn’t really blame the weather. Still, I want it to be last Monday, when I swam a mile in Lake Michigan at daybreak in glassy rose-colored water. I don’t want gray skies, not yet.

I want a lot of things, maybe too many. When I don’t bike, I take two buses, because my office is midway between the Clinton and Ashland stops on the Green Line. They’re opening a stop at Morgan, though, so soon I won’t have to worry. What more do I want? What mode of transportation would permanently alleviate my complaints? A perpetual chauffeur-driven car? Too snooty. A jetpack? I wouldn’t be able to read if I commuted via jetpack.

My co-workers give me some cold meds. My sinus headache dissolves. I put on Modest Mouse. Life’s not perfect, but it’s good enough.


About the author: Alfonso Mangione writes by night, co-edits The Deadline and tweets @alfonsomangione. His Clark Kent job involves managing data for a telecommunications company.

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