It’s been another week of scary statistics, another round of Who Will Guess Where The Economy is Going, and an almost unique experience for our household: temporary separation.
Far from sight
It’s not what it sounds like. We didn’t have a fight and decided to separate — we’ve been together for 20 years now, we’ve smoothed (some of) each other’s edges. But in these 20 years, we have been apart exactly three times: once, when Big C. had to travel back home because his father was sick, which was about 14 years ago, another time about 10 years ago when his grandma passed away, and this week.
Luckily, it wasn’t to go to a funeral or a hospital. No, he had to pick up his new passport so he could renew his permanent residence ID here. Bureaucracy is always fun but Romanians excel at it. You can’t order a fast service. You have to apply, get your photo taken and wait for two weeks. Naturally, there was no way for us to stay there for two weeks waiting for a passport so Big C. made a power of attorney doc for his mum so she could pick up the passport. Why didn’t she then send it over by courier? Big C. plays it safe. If it got lost he’d have to go through the whole process again. So he drove over there to get it.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly anxiety-free but when it comes to driving I have a good reason. I’ve heard people say the worst drivers are in places like India, or Paris, or Florida but I’m enough of a patriot to claim that we have some pretty crap drivers down here as well. A few months ago, for example, a boy high on coke slammed into a stationary car at a traffic light so hard the driver of the first car died. What little we have in the way of highways is dotted with the memorials of drivers who overestimated their ability and/or their victims. Big C. is a safe driver, him I trust. Everyone else is who I don’t trust.
That made for some exciting palpitations in the days before he left because I also suffer from a vivid imagination that’s especially generous when it comes to nightmarish scenarios. I could probably make a decent horror writer if I wasn’t too scared it might cost me what’s left of my sanity. Anyway, everything went well. On the way back, he even found a new route along the seaside and through three mountain passes, one of them fit for a Formula 1 track — his words. We’re trying it next time we go to visit with the in-laws. My love for windy roads may not make sense but that’s only on the face of it. Windy roads mean you have to go slowly.
The economy roulette
You might have missed it if you’re smart enough to stay out of the daily news torrent but guessing where the economy (any economy) will go from here, here being any point of time, in an arbitrary stretch of what we call the present, has become something of a sport.
I’m sure many bets are being made and the bookmakers are going to make piles of cash on these, so that’s good news for at least one industry. But I am awed by all those analysts, strategists or plain economists who seem to believe their day will be meaningless if they don’t make at least one prediction that involves a letter from the alphabet.
There’s been the V-shaped recovery, the L-shaped recovery, a W-shaped recovery (that one’s bad) and even a K-shaped recovery (don’t ask). Maybe they won’t stop until they go through the whole alphabet. Maybe it’s a race to find another letter to play with. The funny part? All of these predictions, except the obviously politically motivated ones, ultimately come to “more uncertainty”. You’re welcome.
Keycard under the towel
It was too late, anyway, she told herself as she took off her dress and picked up the towel she had thrown on the bed in the morning.
This is not a particularly good sentence. It’s pretty bland as sentences go, even in context. But as sometimes bland sentences do, it somehow turned into a writing prompt, serving me with a twist in what I had conceived of as a comfy romance but turned out to want to be a thriller.
Under it, on the white sheet, there was a keycard. The number 510 was on it.
Did I have any idea what this keycard was doing there? Nope. Did I know who had put it there? Not really. But that only lasted a moment and then I had it all. I knew who had put the keycard in a woman’s single hotel room. I knew whose room the keycard opened. And I had a vague idea about why the perpetrator had perpetrated this perpetration.
It’s a bit like finding a jewel on the street without looking for it. You cruise along your story, you know in what general direction you’re going, you’re enjoying the ride and suddenly there’s a turn off the road and you simply have to follow it because it’s lined with beautiful trees and has interesting shades.
In this case, the turn will lead to the death of a character (who kind of deserves it) and things I’ve yet to figure out but no doubt will be interesting and possibly exciting. It also means I will not just have to rewrite the first draft. A lot of it will have to go forever. It hurts but it has to be done. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and plot the murder of a major company.