Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

A Week in the Life - Day One: August 18th, 2010

It's been a long time since I enjoyed a meme as much as the "A Week in the Life" one that a number of my Live Journal friends have done. Come to think of it, it's been a long time since I've enjoyed Live Journal that much. While I don't necessarily want to know about a fellow human being's every little mood swing, I love documentary. And I especially love it when it's used to make ordinary people a little more visible.

When I started this Live Journal, whose seventh anniversary is rapidly approaching, I was eager to enter into a community where people shared details from their everyday lives. And I set out to make myself more visible, even though my default tendency is to be wary of revealing too much, because I didn't think it would be right to derive pleasure from the openness of others if I was closed off to them.

A lot has happened since then, much of it unpleasant, to make me much more reticent about the confessional mode. Live Journal long ago ceased to be a place where I felt comfortable providing access to my innermost thoughts. Or my outermost ones, for that matter. As a consequence, I've retreated into a perverse form of self-presentation.

I still feel a duty to reveal things about myself. And that duty has, over time, turned into an urge that demands satisfaction. But I've been burned too many times by people reading -- and reading into -- this journal, not to mention the mixture of fascination and malice targeted at other Live Journal users with whom I was close. So I've developed a way of baring my soul without anyone else seeming to know what I'm communicating.

Anyway, I don't imagine that I'll suddenly return to a more direct kind of expression after I'm done with this meme. I am very glad, however, to have an excuse to peel away the layers of protection that have become my standard attire in these parts to share what I'm doing. Alright, here goes.

Once Skylar had left for school, I decided it was finally time to check the engine of her grandmother's car, which we have been driving for sometime. It needed oil, but less than I had expected, and coolant. After having struggled to mainpulate things at the odd angles imposed by tightly packed VW engines, the airy compartment of this Geo was a relief.

The innards of a Geo Prizm

I worked at the computer for several hours, then took a break to look for tortoise action in the backyard. By this time of the morning, Max, our Sonoran Desert Tortoise had bestirred himself and was seeking further sustenance. That guy sure eats a lot now that he's almost full grown. But when you spend most of the year hiding in a burrow, it's important to stock up. Here Max is looking up at me with glee after murdering a particularly luscious strawberry.

Max murders a strawberry

Eventually, I realized that I hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch. I rummaged around inside the fridge and found some dessert-ish items I'd been meaning to eat that were in danger of going bad soon, raspberries and rice pudding. So I decided to redeem their promise by making them into a very sweet lunch. Accompanied by my favorite sparkling mineral water, Gerolsteiner, and a copy of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash on which I'd made no effort to restrain my use of tape flags, this meal was a pinnacle -- for me, obviously -- of what I call "comfort consumption."

Comfort consumption

Then it was time to head down to campus to photocopy my syllabi for tomorrow's first day of classes. I may complain about the heat or the desiccation or the sense of being overwhelmed by Fundamentalists that beset our neighborhood. Burt when I turn the corner onto Camino Cortaro and see "our" mountain -- the western terminus of the Catalinas -- looking so close and so majestic, I forget all the bad stuff. I swear, the sight of that mountain range has gotten me through more personal crises than any people I know.

Our mountain from Camino Cortaro

When I'm not too despondent from exhaustion or a surfeit of idiocy, I like to pass my time by musing on the bumper stickers in front of me. This one is simultaneously dated and au courant, but gets special bonus points for being on a VW.

Ron Paul ReLOVEution

While I was making copies, I looked out the window at a sign I've often walked past. The university's medical center is remodeling and clearly wants to prevent people from getting lost. But I still find the cheeriness of the guidance they provide -- notice that this family is following the arrow on the sign -- to be rather creepy.

Pied piper?

After I was done with my syllabi, I headed to the Trader Joe's on Campbell to buy Skylar some tomatoes to snack on before our Zumba class. Then I snaked my way up to Skyline to meet her and her mother at AJ's, which became a family tradition when she was about to start elementary school. Most days, she gets a rotisserie chicken breast, several slices of Boar's Head sharp orange cheddar, chocolate milk and -- most importantly -- a baguette. Here she is finishing up her homework with her mother's assistance.

Baguettes make math easier

When she was done, we headed down to the JCC for the Zumba dance class we've been taking as a family since early in the year. Yes, I do it despite the fact that I'm almost always the only male in the room. It makes Skylar happy and encourages her to keep exercising.

Ever since she surpassed the size restrictions for sitting in the front seat of our car, I've been relegated -- somewhat willingly -- to the back seat. She gets car sick, you see. And I don't mind being out of sight where I can use my Blackberry without her reprimanding me constantly for "twittering." That's my pate in the rearview mirror.

Back seat driver

This is where we zumba. I wish I could have gotten a photo of everyone exercising -- I do love having fun with mirrors -- but had to settle for a post-workout shot of the room where we salsa and samba.

Swivel, hon!

As we were leaving the JCC, I heard Skylar say "polish." I knew what that meant and rushed to catch up. You see, back when she was only two, during our first year in Tucson, she dropped a bottle of Tweetie Bird fingernail polish onto the sidewalk in front of the pre-school. It made a big pink splatter mark and immediately triggered an enormous meltdown. Back then she was at the developmental stage when children develop unusually intense attachments to inanimate objects. So I drove her straight to the now-departed Robinson-May store in Tucson Mall and bought her a new bottle, which, I believe, she still has. The mark on the sidewalk has faded until there's barely a trace of pink left. But I don't think the pattern is going anywhere unless they tear the whole thing out.

A spur to memory

On the way home, I had to get dropped off back at AJ's, where I'd left grandma's car. I wasn't looking forward to all the errands I had to run before getting home, but my temporary frustration melted away when I saw this gorgeous Monsoon thunderhead in the eastern sky. I swear, Tucson has taught me that the "fake" clouds I used to deride in Rococo art really do exist.

Monsoon thunderhead

From there it was off to Walgreen's to get a prescription, Safeway for cat food and cat litter, among other things, Ross -- in theory, as they were sold out -- for zip-up pouches and Target -- I know, I know, but sometimes it's hard to avoid -- for a water bottle to replace the one Skylar lost at school today. And then, after I finally made it home, I had to clean the cat boxes because tomorrow is garbage day.


Well, that was my day. Here's hoping that tomorrow is more exciting. Given that I have to drive up to the Phoenix area in a few hours and won't get back to Tucson until 8pm or so, I can at least guarantee that I will be more tired than I am right now.

Tags: a week in the life, autobiography, blogging, meme, nostaliga, photography
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