The paper is late again. I’ve come to depend on doing the daily crossword as a way of passing the morning during the winter pandemic months: the first part of the morning, not the middle, not late morning. The crossword deals with words, someone else’s, surely a legitimate substitute for producing mine. This chronic, indifferent paper delivery schedule interferes with my routine and I am furious when it is late. I had reported the problem to the Herald’s voicemail several times, but nothing changes.
I plot my strategy. One morning I get up, sit by the door, alert with purpose, and I wait—finally the noise of a car. Looking out I see a small hatchback slide to the curb and stop. A man gets out, opens the car’s rear door and picks up a paper. He lopes up the sidewalk and tosses it onto the porch. It is 9:30 am. Aha! I bang open the front door and step onto the porch ready with a mouthful of invective. He smiles and waves. “Morning ma’am,” he says. “Warmin’ up. Single digits today. Have a good one.” And he turns down the walk.
I stand on the porch until he is gone, then go inside and close the door. His are the only words I have heard from a live human in days. My mood lifts. I put the paper down. After all it is only the paper. I do get it every day. Who knows why it was late, or what effort it took to get it to me at all.
Gratitude, a new feeling. I am well, my family is well, the temperature is rising and there is all day to do the crossword and perhaps find words of my own.