Seven a.m. Pacific Time

by Marissa Lingen

The sky is not the color of television tuned to a dead channel. It is far too indefinite for that. We always used to call the T. V. static the ant race. The white ants were winning, we'd decide, or the black.

The black ants are winning this morning, marching across the kitchen ceiling and into the pantry, around the firmly closed lid of my Karo syrup. I have sprayed for them twice. The apartment smells sick with it, sweet and deadly, and I have the obligatory Cold War-esque wondering of whether I will live long enough for the ant spray to kill me of cancer down the line.

It seems likely. I am reassured until I look up again.

The thing about living in Pacific Time is that you always know everybody else has already started. When I am opening the blinds to a sky less resolute than television, when I am thinking of whether to have orange juice or tea, there are people in perfect make-up already answering their first call of the day in Chicago. In Denver they have showered and read some of the paper, probably the comics or the sports. In Toronto, they have already been at work long enough to be bored. Let us not even think what they have accomplished in London. And here, I have not eaten my suitably fibrous cereal yet. Here I am wearing yoga pants that have seen much better weeks, to say nothing of days, and my cotton camisole has faded and stretched through sexy and straight into disgusting.

But it's funny when I look up at 7 a.m. Pacific Time, because the rest of you are in the same boat. As a species we are still gaping and not yet caffeinated, still collectively clad in grey cotton pants with a bottom hem coming unstitched. I wonder if they have come at 7 a.m. everywhere, or just right now.

It doesn't matter. They have come, and the ship is beautiful.

I can smell rain on the air, coming in over the mountains and across the Bay. It would be a storm if we knew how to have storms here. My little apartment deck will keep me until the rains come, and I stretch my arms up off it. My mother's voice in my head says that I will need food before I go out, food to greet the newcomers, and probably clothing as well, and then I realize that the phone has been ringing, so I step back inside. Someone wants to talk to me about the brave new world, and I am almost ready for it.