Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Mixed Day, With Clouds
It's been an unsettled day. We've been having grey weather here -- unusual for Nevada, although it hasn't brought the rain to this area that we need -- and I woke up feeling very gloomy.
Things improved, though, when I managed to finish the first draft of a new piece I'm working on to read at Mythcon. One of the problems with WisCon, much as I love it, is that so many people there want to do readings that everyone (except Guests of Honor) winds up shoehorned into sessions with two or three other people -- which means that one gets, at most, twenty minutes to read. The bookstore owners of my acquaintance all maintain that twenty minutes is now the length of the average adult attention span, but it's hard to read much of anything in that amount of time. Given my druthers (as at last night's Sundance reading, which was great fun), I always read for a longer time, and no one's become comatose yet.
So when Mythcon chair David Bratman offered me an entire hour to myself, I was overjoyed (not that I plan to read the whole time, mind you!). At Jacob and Rina's wedding, Bernie Goodman had suggested that I start something new to try to break my writer's block on November. Those two events have resulted in a new piece . . . although I'm not quite sure what to call it. It's meta-fantasy, sort of, although it's also a memoir. It's an essay about writing: let's leave it at that. The thing's experimental enough that I was very worried about whether it works, but Gary likes it. So now I'm happy. And it's about 5,000 words, which should take -- I think -- about forty minutes to read? I'll time it once I've revised it.
And maybe somebody at Mythcon can suggest a market for this oddity.
So, anyway, getting some writing done was good, and getting a thumbs-up from Gary was even better.
Then we went to campus and finished unpacking the thirty boxes of books. The room's slowly starting to look like an actual office; I think it will be very nice once we get the new loveseat (which was on clearance at Macy's) in there and hang pictures. The loveseat's supposed to be delivered on Friday, but I couldn't get an answer at Macy's contracted delivery service all day . . . and they didn't call back when I left a message. I'll keep hounding them tomorrow.
We drove home via a strip mall where Gary got his hair cut, where I got some stuffed animals at the dollar store for kids at the hospital, and where we picked up a few groceries. Then I headed out again to mail my father's birthday package and to go to the health club.
On my way to the post office, the song on the radio was interrupted by no fewer than three ominous National Weather Service alerts. None were for Reno proper -- the closest was for Fallon, ninety miles away -- but they were warnings of the "very dangerous thunderstorms: go inside and stay away from windows" variety. I've never even heard one of those here, let alone three (although, granted, I usually only listen to the radio when I'm in the car).
Driving to my health club, I took a shortcut through a supermarket parking lot, and saw a coyote in a strip of bushes between the store and the house next door! Even though I've lived in Reno ten years, and even though coyotes are very common here, this is the first time I've ever seen one in Nevada outside a zoo. (My sister and I saw one at the Grand Canyon several years ago.) So that was a thrill. I think they're beautiful animals -- despite the fact that our cat who disappeared in 1999 probably became a coyote's dinner -- and this was a particularly fine specimen.
My workout was a little wimpy; I only lasted half an hour on the elliptical and did my remaining ten minutes on the rowing machine, but at least I burned my target 250 calories. As I was leaving the club, somebody at the front desk said, "Don't cross the driveway, please; go under the overhang."
"Oh," I said, "did it finally start raining?" No one answered.
When I got outside, I saw a small group of security guards looking up at the top of the parking garage, and I heard someone say something about a jumper. Then one of the guards saw me and said, "Go under the overhang, please."
I looked up where they'd been looking, and saw a man sitting on the top of the parking garage with his feet hanging over the edge, looking down. "Has he said anything?" I asked them.
"Reno PD's up there," one of the guards told me. "Go under the overhang, please."
They'd been directing people that way since I'd left the club, but they weren't volunteering the information that someone was threatening to jump, and nobody else seemed to notice what was happening. One older man asked if there was a problem; a guard said, "This is a hardhat area," but didn't say why. The older man and I both took the stairs in the parking garage, and he was making small talk about the weather and such. He obviously had no clue what was unfolding above us. As I left the garage, a police car passed me, lights on but sirens silent. It was all very eerie.
The whole way home, I prayed for the man on top of the garage (and also, I have to confess, for the coyote, whom I hope won't encounter any hostility). I'll have to wait for tomorrow's paper to learn what happened, and of course I may not know even then.
I hope they'll both be okay, and that everyone in the path of those storms will be, too.
On a slightly less somber note, today's the second day in a row that I've gotten through without a nap (although I did sleep an appalling ten hours last night). Maybe the B vitamins are working?