If this virus taught me anything, it’s how to fill time.
It’s not as though I was incapable of it before, just that I was a little out of practice. Twenty-five years at Manhattan’s top law firm will grant you plenty of perks, sure. But vacation time is not among them. And with every long night and short weekend, I became more and more jaded, to the point where a day without work was no longer relaxing so much as confusing. I just woke up, how is it already bright out? When did my sweatpants get three sizes smaller? And, most of all, what on Earth did I do before law school?
The answer to that last question, it appears, is very little. Without courts, judges, litigation, and research, I tended to do a lot of sitting. And drinking. And not much else.
Five drinks into one particular rain-soaked April morning a couple weeks ago, I heard my old phone ring. I’d gotten a new one months ago, with a new number, ring tone, everything, and I hadn’t heard a peep from the old one in ages. But upon just the first note of its chirp, signalling, in this case, the reception of a spam call, I recognized a tune I had long since forgotten. “Domino,” some old Van Morrison song – my favorite as a kid.
Maybe I was drunk, or maybe I was just so starved of emotion that anything would get to me, but in that moment, my eyes filled with tears, and I rushed to my bedroom to dust off the arched top of a guitar I hadn’t seen since leaving for Princeton.
I sat down, strummed it as though I’d never stopped, and by sundown I had a callous the size of a dime on each of my fingertips. When I went to brush my teeth, I noticed something strange. I was sober.
The next morning when I woke up, I immediately went to sit down with my long-lost friend, but needed something first. So, I went downstairs, and poured myself a glass of OJ.