2.24.12

Upstairs texts around 2 am on Thursday night/Friday morning to say Someone broke the elevators. I sleep through it, and don't respond until after noon the next day: Are you ok? Do you need me to call the fire department? I can drop a Lunchable down the elevator shaft...

He lets me know he's back upstairs, but he's hungry. Would I maybe just grab the string he's dangling down the shaft and tie the Lunchable to that? Yeah, I say. Do you want ham and crackers or tapioca and sliced apples?

Tapiocapples for sure, he responds. I inquire about the elevator problem. Did they just not work? Did you have to take the **shudder** stairs? He did. How many breaks did you have to take? I ask. Did you have a camelback?

He asks if he can buy me a cup of coffee, and I tell him I would, but I'm in the middle of something. He writes back: Is it a clever text?

I'm shaving callouses, I say. It's heavy labor.

A little pedegg action? he replies. I'm floored. You know about the ped egg? HAVE WOMEN NO SECRETS ANYMORE??

A bit later he texts again. Coffee break in a bit maybe?

We agree to meet at Starbucks in half an hour. I grab keys, the dog leash, and my phone, and Chaucer and I head out for a quick walk beforehand. It's pretty and sunny, and I snap a couple of pics:



We get to Starbucks before him, so together Chaucer and I watch him leave our building and cross the intersection. Starbucks is about a hundred steps from our front door. Chauc nearly pees himself with excitement when he gets to the table. Upstairs rubs his head and coos at him. He pulls Chaucer's velvety ears, and nuzzles his jowls, letting the dog lick his cheek. "Jesus, Chauc," I say. "Have a little self-respect. There are tiny hearts floating out of your eyes right now."

While he's inside getting us Arnold Palmers, a Neo Mastiff puppy stops by for a visit. After puppy and owner leave, we sip our drinks and talk about the various, familiar homeless people of downtown. We know some of them by name, as well as what to expect from them: this one always wants to talk about Chaucer, that one just wants enough money for smokes. There's one guy known as Ricky the Pirate, and I've heard it said that he has his own Facebook fan page. Or maybe it's MySpace, I'm not sure.

One man we see around is wildly unpredictable and prone to sudden outbursts. Today he's taken a chair a few feet down from us. He's muttering loudly and at one point, throws his cup violently to the ground. It splashes the sidewalk and a pair of pedestrians. Upstairs looks at me with an eyebrow raised: should we go? But the man's fit passes, and he walks away, calm again.

Our table outside is next to a window, so patrons inside occasionally point and smile at Chaucer from inside. One young woman and her friend laugh as I allow Chaucer to chew on my straw. They look from the dog to Upstairs and back again. They mostly look at Upstairs. I roll my eyes and he laughs. He's not cocky or arrogant, but there's no doubt he's comfortable being a good looking young man. He told me once he loves meeting women. I told him it was scary how similar we are.

It's suddenly chilly, so we leave. We get our mail together, and he gets off on my floor, excitedly opening a manilla envelope. Inside are printable sheets of aluminum that he's been anxious to experiment with. Last week it was glue trials. He walks me to my door, where he gives me a quick, friendly peck goodbye. I'm satisfied that we've successfully reclassified ourselves as friends.

I set my alarm for seven, and fall asleep. I wake up at four am, twelve hours later. I've slept through an entire night of work. A Friday night. A night I needed, badly. I feel nauseous, I'm so furious with myself. The sleeping problems I've been having have gotten out of hand. I know exactly what I need to do - just stay the fuck awake during the hours I need to be awake and sleep when I should be sleeping - but I'm failing at this seemingly simple task.

I try to forgive myself, focus on the things I am getting right, and start my day optimistic and determined to do better.