It was all thought up in the car on the way home.
It was like all late-night, car-ride fantasies, concocted far out of reach from the action center of the brain and diametrically opposed to the laws of nature composing reality in any given place. Maybe the flaw to the design he imagined was in its colorful detail, so elaborate it would make a cross between a Klimt and a Pollock look like a Rothko, but not quite like a Klein, one of the monochrome ones — Blue Epoch, actually.
He watched the traffic light ahead turn from go-green to slow-yellow. At red, he stared into the light above, getting in mind the deep and warm glow of his rose quartz lamp at home. Once there, that would create the correct mood to his evening’s wind-down, which he anticipated would lock everything together in place from that point forward, forever. “Isn’t that what we are all looking for-” he thought to himself, dreaming under the radiant stoplight, “one everyday thing like a face cloth, a lamp, a mug of tea, or a bedside photograph, which set in its right place sets everything in its right place?”
To him, the plan was paint-by-number, including every hue along the spectrum. It would go like this: “First, organize a few items inside the car under the overhead lamp, taking in the things you’re going to need to unwind once you get inside. Last, do a guided visualization while lying down, beginning with the photograph of a green field under a setting sun in a stormy sky. Every step in-between — from wetting your face to sipping the last trace of tea, wine, or a mix of both — will have its own tone, changing so gradually from one to the next it will be impossible to say where one ends and the next begins. “This is how to live.” So he planned.
On the way up to his house, he noticed the trash cans still on the sidewalk. Before going in, he lugged them up the driveway one by one to their station behind the house, throwing the first one into place, fighting with the second and third one to fit in properly. He cleared his throat, ready to resume course. Feeling strange, he leaped back in shock at the possum staring him down two feet ahead. “Two feet is too close for you,” he thought. He clapped his hands at the tree-dwelling, Australasian marsupial playing dead near the lawnmower he realized he needed to take in too, but the possum was good at its game. He carefully backed up, stepping on a child’s toy (he’d have to explain that later), which, in breaking, must have aroused the famed faker in front of him into a zombielike waltz, dragged itself, along with that hideous grasping tail, behind the woodshed. Sighing, he continued into the house.
Along the way to the kitchen to mull some wine, he organized the shoes in the hallway and fixed-up the disordered blinds, messing far too long with those blinds. Before long, he found himself cleaning dishes, wiping down counters, the stove-top and even the overhead range. He straightened up a few things in what he called “the everything drawer,” fixed the magnets on the fridge over the birthday cards in a completely new order before having to put them all back in what was well-enough alone, turned around and took a proud breath over his finished work in there before encountering the other inhabitants of the house, some of which may or may not have had elaborate plans of their own for him.
I’ll spare you the remaining and very colorful details of this picture because you know them well in your own way. No one of us is alone in our vanity for foresight. However, there was a moment of reprieve from the buffeting of reality’s waves upon this ordinary holder-on’s back, front and both sides — a moment during which everything seemed in its right place after all.
Hunched over the bathtub arguing with an excessive number of shampoo containers, he spotted a tiny ant struggling to stay out of the nearly, but not completely dry drain. Suddenly, the two of them stopped and shared their grasp upon some cosmic fabric covering the best, worst and not-at-all laid schemes of ants and men. His eyes closed, and its antennae eased. The muscles of his back and the hooked claws of its legs simultaneously un-tensing over the immeasurable, elegant cloth they now lost themselves in, they shared a thought. Next time, “No all the time,” they affirmed to themselves, “we will make our plan the canvas, not the picture upon it.”
If there were an opposite power to the power of bending objects to one’s will, they had found it. This, just before the door swung open forcefully into his ass, jolting him into the shower curtain, which displaced all the bottles he arranged on the side of the tub. “Honey,” a pleasant voice said, “you left the light on in your car.”