When I say, now, lately, “You know me,” there is less and less possibility the statement would pass a lie detector test.
Example: I just warmed my coffee in the microwave, meaning to punch in my preferred not-too-hot/not-too-cold thirty-second blast of cancer-causing radiation and by accident (or, encroaching blindness combined with laziness – I’m wearing my reading glasses for most everything now because my bifocals aren’t strong enough to wear while writing/reading which is what I am mostly doing when not letting out dogs, taking out garbage, or driving around one or another Miss Daisy and current income does not allow for new eye exam and spectacles, thus . . .) I punched the eight above rather than the zero below, setting a thirty-eight rather than a thirty-second blast.
I let it stand and pressed start.
The eight second difference might seem nearly meaningless but consider this: In bull riding it’s the amount of time a rider is required to stay on in order to have it count as a qualified ride. Or this: Cyanide-Suicide pills used by cold war era Soviet spies took about eight seconds to kill. Or, consider, a lightning strike lasts maybe ten microseconds.
And this: It wasn’t that long ago I would not have been able to press start without clearing the thirty-eight and re-setting to thirty because reheating coffee in a microwave was a thirty-second event. Not twenty-nine, not thirty-one, and certainly not thirty-eight.
I only wore black Calvin Klein boxer-briefs for ten years; ten years during which no one ever saw me in my underwear; ten years during which I never went to bed at night without getting down on my knees, beside the bed that had been in my family for three generations, made by my great grandfather, and praying for all the people I loved, a prayer of gratitude to a god in which I no longer believe, to which I no longer pray, by a bed I gave away, a bed beside which almost every night for ten years I knelt wearing my black Calvin Klein boxer briefs and never gave up thinking that maybe, someday, someone would see me in them and think me worth praying about as well.
During those ten years, when I re-heated coffee in a microwave, I re-heated it for thirty seconds.
People knew that about me. I excused my peccadilloes with, “You know me.” And they mostly, sort of, in some ways and to some degree, did. But none of them knew how much the prayers beside the bed I’ve given away in a house I no longer have where I shared my room with two dogs I’ll never see again all of which happened while wearing my black Calvin Klein boxer briefs were prayed so that someday, maybe, I’d be seen.
Now, the amount of time I heat my coffee, well, I am far more casual. I still — mostly — wear black boxer briefs but some are Hanes and some are Ralph Lauren and none are Calvin Klein and I’m not sure why.
But the bed is gone. And I don’t pray. And I like the temperature of my coffee, this coffee, this cup of coffee I’ve been drinking while writing this, I like it warmed for thirty-eight seconds.
And, here I am. Going. And, you don’t know me, at all.