Summer Friday

My boss insisted I take the day off.

I think his prime motivator was when I told him I’d punched a wall following a phone call with one of my, um, thicker colleagues.

“You’re the happiest guy in the building, Ben. If you’re stressed out, I know we’re in trouble.”

So I took today off.

“Do your laundry,” he said. “Baby-sit your nephew. Whatever.”

My list — scribbled on a Post-It Note in my wallet — was short:

1) Ride bike
2) Do laundry
3) Repair shoes
4) Buy blinds

Strike one: woke up hung with a hang over. A few of my closest girl (comma) friends joined Abbi and me on the roof for turkey burgers and beer. Lots of beer. So I woke up with one of those real soul killers right at the base of my skull.

So I pulled on my biking shorts, strapped on my helmet, and hit the road. I rode up and over the GWB, then headed home for some well-needed coffee. Which is where I dead-ended.

Here’s the scene. It’s around eleven o’clock. I’m sitting on the deck. Coffee’s gone. I put down Esquire, and pick up my guitar. And I start strumming. And everything sounds the same. In fact, I started strumming a chord progression I’ve been fiddling for the last fifteen years or so. But for some reason, it sounds kinda cool and new. And for some reason, a new melody pops into my head. So I figure, ‘What the heck, at least I’ll record a rough draft.’

Seven hours later, I’m mixing down “Here She Comes” just as Abbi walks in from work. And I play it for her — all twenty-four tracks — and start dacing around my bedroom, half laughing, and half conducting. And it occurs to me that, even though I spent my day off inside in front of a computer, and even though my shoes still need new heels, and my clothes are still dirty, and my neighbors can still see my every move, today was just what I needed.

Oh, and the headache’s gone.

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