Friday, March 16, 2012


Today is the vernal equilux. Yes, I spelled it correctly. It's equilux. The equinox is still a few days away, but today is still an awesome day. In fact, this might be my favorite day of the year.

Sunrise and sunset are as near to twelve hours apart as they'll be for the next six months. The days only get longer from here. This is exciting stuff.

Sure, there's the promise of spring renewal blah-blah and late afternoons watching kids play in the sprinklers blah-blah-blah and summertime blah. That's all great, but that's not why I'm so jazzed about today.

I'm night-blind and therefore a real danger behind the wheel within a half hour of sundown. I can drive in an emergency, like, say, if my entire neighborhood is on fire and zombies are shambling out of the flames while hungrily smacking their undead gums. If I were the only one of the living who could drive, I'd pile my incapacitated neighbors and their children into my car and barrel out of here, and I wouldn't worry about who I might hit, because I'd most likely be hitting zombies, or the dude down the street that nobody likes all that much.

That's not a likely scenario, not because of the zombie thing, but because I don't know how every single one of my neighbors of driving age would lose the use of their arms and legs, and, if they had, why the zombies wouldn't have gotten to them before I could drag them to safety. Never mind that my whole neighborhood is ablaze for God knows what reason, it's just damned unlikely that I'm going to be the only one of us still standing. But, if I were and it was a dark, moonless night, I'd be willing to give night driving a shot.

Under normal, non-zombie conditions, me driving in the dark isn't worth the risk. The few times that I've been caught out at late dusk, I've almost hit people in crosswalks, or broadsided motorcyclists because I couldn't tell where they were on the road. I'm legitimately afraid that I'll kill somebody.

As a result, I have to carefully plan my days around sunset. I don't get to do as much as I'd like in the evenings, because I have to be done driving before dark. I can't take evening art classes, and I can't take the dogs to training. Friends will meet up after work for drinks and billiards, but I can't join them unless I get my car all the way home and get a ride back to meet them. If traffic is too thick on my way home from work, I don't even get to stop and pick up milk.

I know that it put a lot of pressure on Peter. No matter how hard I tried to not add to what he saw as his already overloaded list of responsibilities, things would come up and I'd have to count on him to be here to ferry me somewhere. "Are you going to be home to drive Molly and me to her class?" It was a big, stressful pain in the ass every week, as he'd barely get home in time to get us, then turn right back around and race to training, irritated and keyed up. It wasn't ever a fun thing, not like the classes during the summer, when the dogs and I were able to do it on our own without putting anyone else out. A lot of things were like that, not just with the dogs.

Toward the end, when he was telling me about how tired he was of "managing" me, and I was trying to tell him that it's just as hard for me to have to rely on other people, he snapped, "You could just take cabs, you know." That stung as much as anything else he's said to me, that he not only wouldn't acknowledge that it was hard for me to ask for help, but that it made him think less of me when I did. "You could just take cabs." (And stop burdening me with your weakness.)

When it's lighter, I can get around just like everyone else does. That's why this is my favorite day of the year. It's the promise of months of increased independence and freedom, of being able to do more than one errand before locking up my car for the night, of not having to race the sun to my house. It's the first day of the year that darkness doesn't get the better of light.

I don't even care that it's raining. I know the sun's up there.

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