During normal business hours my time is not my own, I am not at liberty to dwell on personaDuring normal business hours my time is not my own, I am not at liberty to dwell on personal matters.l matters. My daily tasks occupy all my time during normal business hours and I leave details of my life hanging on a hook by the door with my hat and coat and umbrella if the forecast calls for rain and the morning commute is gray and the train is filled with damp passengers contemplating the idiomatic pieces of their existence before arriving at office doors where they, too, will surrender those parts of themselves in order to focus on matters at hand during normal business hours. Coats will hang, glistening with pearls of fine mist or dripping into puddles on the floor.
I might wonder if it is raining back home on the farm where the cows stand, steaming in the barn as they wait for the cribs to be filled with a breakfast of hay carefully stored during the hot days of July. This is during normal business hours, yet I see my calloused hands lifting the bales into the rack before cutting the rough twine, allowing the tightly packed dried grass to explode in a cloud reeking of mildew and summer sun. A sun that shines two seasons away on beach sand the same shade as the stalks of hay that long bovine tongues pull into the gnashing mill of grinding molars. I pause to lean, during normal business hours, in the doorway of the barn, gazing at the leaden sky, listening to the far away roar of surf and smell brine in the moist air and taste the mild saltiness on the tip of a bottle of beer that is so cold and refreshing after a swim in the ocean and riding a breaker back to shore like a slick sea lion to bask in the sun, you silly, fat, lazy thing.
The photo of you on my desk is the only indulgence from nostalgia’s cabinet I allow myself during normal business hours. You smiling in front of Doge’s Palace after wandering, lost but unconcerned with finding our way through the dark twisted maze of Venice in search of wine and cicchetti. Most tourists leave the city after dark for cheap hotels on the mainland or cruise ships bobbing in the lagoon and you have the quiet, sinking streets all to yourself if you don’t mind the ghosts that glide like fog across wet stones. A melody I cannot place floats from a window, coalescing with the dulcet melody of the On Hold Ensemble as I wait for the call to be connected during normal business hours. What would ersatz background distractions sound like today had Bartok stopped writing for string ensembles and concentrated on Tin Pan Alley palaver during normal business hours? As complex as multiple, compound time signatures can be, music is confined to the restraints of time itself and must pass just as normal business hours must conclude eventually freeing me to dwell on personal matters once again.