Unecessary Missions

We had run out of coffee. Well, not really, but we had run out of fancy, freshly-ground, artisan roast coffee; the kind of coffee that makes home feel like the outside world in a European summer that is not tainted by the guilt of buying a fancy, freshly-ground, artisan roast coffee. Well, not really, but I needed an excuse to leave my kitchen table. My productivity was suffering from wonderings about what the weather might be doing beyond the square of sky in the skylight. Stepping out onto the high street made my brain feel how a swimming pool sounds. But, the sun was shining, my body needed motion and cycling created a breeze of my very own. I creaked along the main road. I let the end of summer seep into my hair. I squinted a little because I hadn’t thought to wear sunglasses and, every so often, the canopies of trees gave way to brazen beams. My heart beat and my thigh muscles complained and I was on a mission. Working from home can be a laboratory exercise at times; everything is controlled and that can be good. What is not to like about curating your environment? I just moved back to this town from a place in the southern hemisphere where many of the straightforward things were not straightforward. Every day had its necessary missions. The pandemic was ever-present down there too, accompanied by its dark twin: political spin. We had roadblocks and facemasks were policed and the electricity being on for a change felt a little like mind control. On the other hand, it was home, and working from home felt like that in a way that working from this new space does not. My procrastination could be blamed on drongos sweeping arcs after insects in the trees or ants marching across my bare feet, rebelling against the route change that my colossal presence might have demanded of less industrious creatures. The end of a dishwasher cycle is not quite as satisfying somehow. My former home hovers like a phantom limb. But, back to my not-entirely-unrelated, fancy, freshly-ground, artisan mission. There may not be sunbirds flashing daylight in my eyes, but look at all of these strangers! Deliciously messing up the world. Look at this bus, cutting me off like the bastard it is; o, beloved un-curated bastard! Why didn’t I pack those sunglasses? And my mission, when it came to fruition, hopping off my bicycle with me, was an overly long conversation with a Colombian coffee snob. His eyes smiling from above his facemask as he told me that my taste in coffee was shit and that there really was no excuse for decaf no matter how haywire your caffeinated fever dreams became as a result of leaning into your own lack of self-control. The rudeness, the mirth, the irritations, the world clamouring in. Funnily enough, I did not notice the creaking of my limbs in quite the same way as I pedalled back to my box with my coffee. Mission complete.

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