By Bryan Jackson
I scrambled around my room throwing clothes in my hamper, books in bags, and ChapStick, phone charger, recorder and all my other desk-top trinkets into the front pouch of my Eastpak.
I was running late again.
I lugged the first round of stuff to my Taurus then headed back upstairs for more. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.
I tapped my pockets on the last run. Phone in front left. Keys in front right. Back left empty. Back right wallet. Just right. All set.
Wheatland-Chili High School is two-ish hours north and east of St. Bonaventure on winding, bombed-out NY 19. I had to cover a boys basketball game there – a sectional quarterfinal contest – at 7:00 p.m.
It was 5:00 p.m. now.
I was supposed to be on break. I guess I still was, technically. Some people were in Ireland or France or the rolling English countryside on their break. Others were drunk on warm, sandy beaches. Others were sitting down to Mom’s homemade beef stew and biscuits.
I was driving unsafely fast on an unsafely pot-holed “highway” in 70 mile-per-hour wind and pounding rain…with broken windshield wipers.
Fuck the other people. This was vacation!
When I got home that night, which was actually the next morning, I realized I’d meant that vacation bit. If I didn’t, I certainly wouldn’t be hauling myself to far-flung, artificially-lit high school gyms three times a week for $100 per month (or so) and the occasional after-meeting meal courtesy of my boss.
A few days later, my dad asked me why someone else couldn’t cover the two-hour-away games. I told him someone else could, but I wanted to.
Speeding in the rain with broken wipers while running late beats the beach every day.