floods and mirrors

brni and i went to the informal gathering of artists and sponsors to view all the tables together before they go on tour. i was feeling rather intimidated by the credentialed artists, thinking to myself, you are an upstart and don’t belong here. afraid of seeing my table looking lame next to those of the *real* artists, i whined all the way to the event. suprisingly, my table stood up well among the others and i felt a bit better about myself. in fact, i felt rather smug about not having the BFAs and MFAs and the awards that the other’s included in their bios.

this momentary burst of uncharacteristic ego did not go unpunished.

after the event, brni and i went to dinner at the high street caffe in west chester, one of our favorite places. while we were looking at the menu, a very large, heavy framed mirror which was hung above my head decided to fling itself to its death. it came crashing to the floor, clipping my right forearm. i sort of felt and heard it at the same time. and i just sat there. not moving. barely blinking at the menu. apparently, brni jumped out of his seat, but i wasn’t aware of this. i did what i always do when i feel threatened — retreat to a safe place inside, freezing time for a moment. i think this might be what it’s like just when you die. not here or there, just taking a moment to blink.

after one of those hour-long minutes, i was aware that the place had fallen silent and i could feel everyone’s eyes on me. i heard brni ask (whisper?) from across the table, are you ok?
yes, i think so.
go to the bathroom and check yourself out.
ok.

i was fine. no scrapes, scratches or blood. just the beginnings of a bruise. i was encouraged. but as i gazed at my arm in the mirror, i wondered, who’s mad at me? have a made some terrible cosmic faux pas? did my little whiff of pride cause the universe to put me in my proper place? what silliness. even so, i think i’ll be quiet and stay away from reflective surfaces and all sharp objects for a bit.

now, you’d think that the establishment would bend over backwards to make right what could have been a terrible and litiginous event, but instead our waiter avoided us and took over an hour to get us our dinner and he got mine wrong. by that time, i’d lost my appetite so i picked at the wrong dinner and finally gave up on eating.

he asked, do you want me to box that up?
no, i don’t like it. it’s wrong.
do you want something else?
no please, i just want to go home.

he was contrite and told us he felt very bad for all that had happened and that our dinner was on him. i felt like saying, you should have given me the right dinner and the offer of free food should have happened two hours ago.

but i didn’t. i don’t want to anger anything else. i’m just glad we didn’t have to pay for the wrong dinner and that i wasn’t murdered by a mirror before finding out how much money my table fetches.

after dinner brni and i went down to Bridgeport where our karate school used to be to watch the Schuylkill overflow its banks. there’s been flooding everywhere, all up and down the eastern corridor. when we got there, the ActionNews van was there getting ready to report on the local flooding and the evacuation of Bridgeport — it was all very exciting in a quiet sort of way.

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