Every book has to have a few surprises, so I'm keeping book #45 from you.
You can read about this in the book about 100 books when I publish it at the end of October, deal? I need to have deadlines and gates to pass through to keep me on track of reading 10 books a month and writing 10 chapters a month.
So to make up for not writing a chapter (now) on Book #45, I give you the story of the open gate. I'm writing this from my (new) home office, which consists of a yoga mat by a window, and a laptop on a box. I have a wall to lean on and a windowsill to hold my coffee. Frogs and birds make obscene noises under a nearby bush while birds swoop down in pairs chasing each other, looking like they are up to Nothing Good.
This is the opposite of my work office, which isn't for working but for talking to people. It's a dressing room before class to get ready, it's a place to meet students, it's a place books live, but I rarely have the time and peace to buckle down there to write. Here, at home, there is more space, more peace.
And the refrigerator is steps away.
The Open Gate
There are two gates leading into our community.
One says "residents/members" and the other says "visitors" and has a call box with a phone pad that stumps and challenges "visitors" causing them to curse at their passengers and shoot mean texts about how they are now running late.
For about 2 weeks now the "visitors" gate has been open.
I don't ever use the visitor's gate, but I come and go 5 and 6 times a day so I notice these things.
Maybe they left it open because the call box is so confusing it is now being used as an initiation test for Mensa.
Maybe they left it open because the gate itself is broken. No one has explained anything, and there are cameras everywhere so this is safe enough.
Despite the visitors gate being open, I repeatedly chose to take the resident's lane.
I have a clicker to the special gate.
I have a window sticker that says I belong here.
I am someone.
Bless my heart.
Other cars ignore the open gate, too, so four five times a day I joined the line behind the closed gate because its the right gate to use, the one we are entitled to and besides that everyone else with clickers and stickers is going through that one so that's where we belong.
Bless all our hearts.
Then today I woke up and saw through the madness.
I was in a hurry(ish) after being stuck in rain and traffic and the idea of getting stuck between two cars that might possibly stick to the 24 mile per hour speedlimit -- or worse, go slower, riding their brakes every inch of the way towards their dream home on a golfcourse -- was torture.
I swung into the visitor lane and dashed through the gate and passed the line of cars without hitting my brakes a bit.
I was free, rebellious, smart and wise.
What fool would sit in front of a locked gate when there was a straighter, faster, easier path a foot away?
From now on, I'm taking the open gate, and I hope you look for open gates too.