She greets me at the door with a smile. I place plastic booties on my shoes. She directs me past the large screen TV silently displaying pictures of war-torn Syria. Inside the bathroom, she explains that her marble floor has spots in a strange circular pattern.
“I think it was the cleaning lady,” she says.
The marble floor is calcium carbonate. “The easiest way to think of it,” I explain, “is that you are walking on bones, a bed of long-dead sea creatures crushed and compressed by time, mined and polished. The acid from her cleaning solution ate away the shine.”
“Can you fix it?” she asks. “It’s driving me crazy.”
I nod, write up a bid. Long before this, I worked in the optical industry, explaining lenses and dispersion and the bending of light.
We walk past the TV again. A talking head reports on the possibility of another planet with similar characteristics to Earth, one in which there may be life.
I thank the woman and head for the company Prius. I turn on the radio, mixing the rantings of right wing doomsayers with the auto-tuned voices of pop stars. My windshield has a horizontal crack caused by a small pebble from a concrete truck, mass times acceleration, the sun glinting off of it, stinging my retina. I squint and pull over in the shade.
I accept that the world is a random sequence of events strung together to make it Monday. I know that a too careful examination of the universe — even with my limited understanding of it — will open a door to the measure of my importance, or lack thereof, in this world. I choose to go on, knowing that not accepting value for my brief and infinitesimal time on Earth would be a mistake.
This is life. Family and friends await. And lemon meringue pie. And a baby’s laugh.
Then a song comes on the radio, filled with angst and love and unrealistic hope, and I shift into drive.
With a Perspective, I’m Les Bloch.
Les Bloch is a construction project manager.