the tenth day

a neon sign reading PANIC on the side of a building in the dark

oh shit guys it’s technically the day before tomorrow

TOPICAL: this is part of The Cycle of the Seasons series

I might not celebrate the Gregorian calendar’s year end / new year beginning, but I do love a good dad joke about it.

I haven’t slept since last year!

I haven’t had coffee since last year!!

I haven’t taken my meds SINCE LAST YEAR!!!

… I am great at pushing a joke past the point of its inherent humor. Just like a stereotypical dad.

This morning, I slammed my hand into a hard surface trying to catch something I wouldn’t have been able to catch in the first place. And then I did it again, except in a different setting (the fridge), same result. OUCH. I guess the thing I needed to know today was that the effort of trying to keep a thing from happening is more than the effort it takes to fix it afterward. Just because I want to have not dropped the whipping cream container cap does not mean I can avoid it happening by smacking my knuckles into the fridge door after the cap was already too close to the floor to snatch it back.

Some things I do have control over, or at least some measure of influence, and those things are good to be aware of. But there are a whole hell of a lot of things that I do not have control over, although I might be able to influence them simply by doing my work to make the world a lighter, safer place.

It’s like that time I drove a stick-shift pickup truck down into a ditch — really it was more of a small gully — near the lake on my neighbors’ property, because my coffee cup tipped over and I, for the first and last time, put the safety of my coffee before the safety of everything else and there we all went, the coffee and the truck and I, thump BAM CRUNCH. My foot lost the clutch and the engine turned off (probably for the best) and I had just enough time to think DAD IS GOING TO BE SO MAD before I hyperventilated a little bit for maybe thirty seconds, and then my problem-solving brain kicked in and I reasoned that if I could drive down into the ditch (again, it was really fucking far down, and my excuse is that I was sixteen), I should be able to drive UP the ditch. So I turned the ignition, put that fucker in four-wheel drive, and did actually drive up the near-vertical side of the ditch and back onto the S-curve in the road I had just driven off. And then went on my way, wide-eyed and terrified, wondering how to clean the inside of a windshield so it looked like nothing had ever happened.

I’m pretty sure the only reason I was able to get the truck out of the ditch was the intense willpower behind my desire not to have a conversation in which I had to explain that I almost wrecked the truck less than a mile from our house because my coffee fell over.

Happy dad joke day. I hope the memories that play across your mind tonight are the good kind that make you smile. I will never forget how hot spilled coffee smells inside a blue Toyota pickup truck.

— Nix

Our days traditionally begin at sunset. The darkness is all around us but we are safe here together inside these walls that we have fortified with love and with sacrifice.

featured image is a photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

Nix Kelley
Co-parent to multiple kids. Writer. Death doula. Member of the Order of the Good Death. Seeker on the Path of Light. Queer, non-binary, & trans.


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