Friday went something like this: an impossibly long workday interrupted only occasionally by the creeping sense that someone was staring at my back and then finding out repeatedly that this was so, beer, a long walk to a television set (set as in shooting film and not as in watching an electric box), I tugged at the Fiery One's sleeve in an effort to leave before the weather hit, the weather hit five minutes later in a painful barrage of water, beer, and then home.

I work in an itty bitty cubicle. It is so small that when I had a shelf put up on one of my dividing walls, several co-workers expressed their surprise that a shelf could fit inside my cubicle. This is nothing against my job, but the cubicle, she be small. The workspace is set up so that my computer is in a back corner, which forces me to sit with my back facing out into a high traffic intersection of the office hallways. Bereft of a door or walls made of something more solid that fabric-covered frames, people rarely attempt tp knock and instead stand there quietly, staring into my cubicle for a while before taking in a deep breath and issuing out an uhm. On certain days, this feeling of having someone stand behind me starts to plague me so much that I find myself being jumpy and turning to see who's there, even over the noon hour when almost everyone is out for lunch. Personally, I think it's natural for an animal that is pushed into a corner and deprived of its ability to see its surroundings to be just a little jumpy and paranoid. This kind of thing can make for very long workdays when I'm overwhelmed by walk-bys and silent back-staring.

And then after many twitchy hours of jerking my head around to find out that, yes, most of the time I was being stared at, I went out for a beer at the local watering hole. It was relatively uneventful with conversations that consisted mostly of how are you? and then fine, and how are you? and other such friendliness. It was a convivial affair without the trappings of any subtext or intellectual depth, which is exactly what I needed to divert my brain away from its cubicle-born paranoiac leaping.

Just as I was in need of a change, the Fiery One arrived to whisk me away to the exciting world of television documentary production. If you are in the world of documentary television production, you will have recognized the hyperbole used in the previous sentence. We dropped by the set to see how things were going. I got to see the long process which is setting up lighting, three guys dressed as cowboys pretending to have fun while driving a car, and another draped over with a black sheet holding up two flashlights and pretending to be a car in the distance. It took hours for these three wondrous things to take place. I smoked cigarettes and filled in another onlooker with the details to explain why it was they were going to light his old car on fire.

I saw a couple of ripples of sheet lightning and suggested that we leave now, which we did, and it turns out that it didn't make a lick of difference. Within five minutes of our twenty-minute walk, the rain began pouring down in thick sheets of water. The drops were so large that they splashed and cascaded each time they connected with me. About a third of the way through our excursion, the rain was pelting down with such a velocity that it battered and stung my bare arms. It was painful enough for me to yell out fuck, will you quit it already?!

We raced through intersections to get to the relative shelter of buildings across streets, laughed at ankle-deep water, lifted heavy legs weighed down wetly with jeans, and shook in the cold when the wind hit. The downpour had enough force to undo the glued hemming on my pants, run the ink from the Fiery One's money through his jeans and boxers (would the federal government like to buy him a new pair of pants?), and wash out all my natural tears, leaving my eyes stinging and a little raw. I don't even get wet enough in the shower for that to happen.

By the time we got to the pub, I was beyond caring about what was happening with my mascara. We decided to stay and drip in the bar for a while. Typicalquirk was kind enough to loan me her extra shirt, which I am still so thankful for. I'm sure she saved me from a nasty cold with that kind gesture.

After a quick drink or two, it was off to home and bed with me to curl up with the Fiery One in a dry bed in a dry apartment and lose the ache where my muscles had been tensed against the storm and shivering.

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"All Night, All Night" by Delmore Schwartz

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