I’m having trouble telling my left from my right. It’s a problem I’ve always had, but it never mattered before. Before I’d give myself at least an hour to get somewhere. I’d print out MapQuest directions, but reading while driving should be just as illegal as texting–it’s dangerous. So the directions would sit partially unread in my passenger seat and I’d circle. Pulling into gas stations and parking lots, picking the paper up and putting it down, inching closer to my destination. I’d drive past it, look for the people I knew. I’d park a ways down, NPR or something low on the radio. Read the time on my dashboard–ten minutes early. Based on how long it took me to crawl drive to this spot from the restaurant’s entrance I’d calculate how long it’d take me to trip walk back. I’m almost certain this is not what NPR meant as a driveway moment–ten minutes spent half listening. So I’d arrive late, maybe two minutes late–enough time for everyone to have already arrived, so I could say something to the hostess, look over her head and say something like, “My group is right over there,” instead of telling her I wasn’t sure whose name the reservation was under. But now I’m bipedal, two wheeled, self propelled. My car moves only every first and third Friday, has literally grown spiderwebs underneath its sideview mirrors. “Holy shit, look at that hawk! To your right!” I shout to him over wind and bike locks bouncing on rear racks. He looks in the direction opposite the huge bird, sitting on a streetlight and surveying the cars below, exhaust ruffling its ruddy feathers. I realize my mistake and tell him that it flew off, was basically overhead anyway, too quick, he’d have to look behind him and that, like texting while driving, like reading behind the driver’s seat, neck turning so far the shoulders follow and inform the wheel, the handlebars, is dangerous, and should be avoided. It hadn’t mattered until the passenger seat was occupied, until there was a witness to me missing the onramp to the 805 from the 15, that sudden circular thing that exerted G force when I took it correctly. “Jesusfuckingchrist,” compounding everything and a hand on the thigh. Sometimes bioluminescent plankton gathered near the shore and if disturbed they’d shine blue or green. We drove over the Coronado bridge (I didn’t merge in time and had to double back, but eventually we were suspended over the narrow bay) and parked along the Pacific. I can’t remember now if we wore wetsuits, but a fog had rolled in, and the shore break was so strange on the island that the tiny waves that night stayed vague humps in the water until they crashed right before us, the bluegreen shining through the whitewash. What with the fog hanging low, a new moon, the water glassy save for the something moving beneath it and the otherworldly light, I couldn’t really enjoy the night swim. We stood there shivering for a while; it must have been January. Now I’m riding home in a new city and the moon is full, making its presence known through breaks in the clouds. The Pacific is roiling, waves breaking far out and pushing sea foam all the way to shore. Can bioluminescent plankton even make their way this far north? Can they handle this slightly less mild climate, the verging on frigid water? Microscopic creatures that glow when agitated must surely thrive only in warmth. Is the ocean bluegreen now, lit up, shining through the white, or is it the moon that illuminates nearly everything until the black of the horizon, punctuated by the pulsing points of freighter ships, hulking vessels lining up to pass beneath the bridge and enter the Bay, flashing red and blue? Left and right don’t matter once again. My neck is turned westward when my tire is mired in a sand patch pooling in the middle of the path, left there by a recent rain.


2 thoughts on “Misdirection

  1. oncle Est November 4, 2014 / 2:04 am

    …can’t tell the wax from the wane….and your brown bin is drifting into the ocean
    ….and has broken in two


  2. Elaine Alton November 4, 2014 / 8:53 am

    I wonder who you get that from?


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