1. It’s raining
So wake up slowly and listen. Today you can’t just see the sky, gray from moisture, you can hear it. It hums as it surrounds you, and it has weight, but it’s the good kind, the kind you want to pull over you and wrap around your shoulders while you wait for the water in the kettle to boil. There’s that book you haven’t read yet, and you should read it. There’s that album you haven’t listened to yet, and you should listen to it. Everything is soft and slow today so don’t waste it by standing on a packed train with the damp faceless masses all headed in the same direction to survive another day they won’t remember.
2. It’s not raining
And you pause by the window while the toast is toasting and the coffee is brewing and realize there are so many things you haven’t seen yet. Where does the sidewalk go if you follow it past the river? What sort of buildings lie over the bridge to the north? What do the shadows in the corner diner look like at 2:00 pm? Trade your blouse for your bike and call in sick because if not now, when? It is all out there waiting for you. Don’t hold off to check the weather online or wait for anyone to text you back or refresh your inbox one last time. It’s fine out there. Just put your shoes on and go outside to see what there is to see.
3. You’re hungover
Because last night was Old Fashioned night at that bar near your friend’s apartment that feels like a speakeasy. The candles were lit, the kids were dressed in their best (collars buttoned, skirts belted, beards trimmed), and the bourbon was strong. Strong, yes, but sweet with sugar and cooled with ice and whatever other fancy things the boys behind the bar decided to put in the glasses that night. You and four others were bent over tables tossing around words like you had the answers and laughing like you’ll live forever. Won’t you, though? Won’t it stay like this? Arm-in-arm-in-arm, walking dizzily down the sidewalk, ordering take-out from that place that’s still open, and crashing into bed around 3:00. There’s no way you can suffer fluorescent lights and gray carpet after one of these nights, so don’t.
4. You’re still drunk
Because last night there was a bar that looked like an old train car and cocktails with gin and streets you’d never walked down before. And it was summer. And the dark felt nice on your skin. And the streetlights felt nice on your skin. Breathing was easy in the back part of town and the sky spun wonderfully. But now it’s morning and the spinning makes you sick and you might throw up in the bathroom at the office if you go in. Your boss will not understand about the streets and the summer and the way they made you see how beautiful (how beautiful!) it all was in the dark. She will not understand about the lights of the city to your left and the dark of the neighborhoods to your right. No, she will not. Sleep until noon.
5. You didn’t wake up alone
Because it was a restless sunset that turned into a bottle of red wine and then an ancient game. Did the Persians invent it? Did the Chinese? You learned how to move forward and backward, but the spaces got harder to count and John Cale sang songs you’d heard before but couldn’t name. Not if you tried. Not if they offered you a million dollars. Then it was all skin (browned from summer) and tongues (sharp from cigarettes) until the small hours found you again and talked you to sleep. The office will be there tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, and there’s nothing to do there that can’t be done by someone else, but here? Who will make the eggs if you’re not here?