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Most mornings, I walk Ellie shortly after 5AM, make myself coffee, a couple of poached eggs and toast, then pull myself together to get out the door and to work before the suburban DC traffic is in full rush hour flow. I enjoy being alone in the office when no phones are ringing and I can work without distraction. I was looking forward to that today. But at 5:45AM I discovered that we were out of bread, so I figured I'd stop for breakfast on Brookville Road. Then I realized that a weekend change in who would be driving which vehicle failed to translate into my removing my office keys from one fob and clipping them to another as I should have done last night, so I was obliged to wait for them to return with Ina from her morning gym routine. Not a good start for me.

I hate waiting and even more, I hate wasting time. I went out and retrieved the Washington Post from the front walk and sat on a step flipping through it. Most of the news disgusts me these days, though, so that didn't last more than a few minutes. Then as I started to feel agitated about having to wait, I thought of how rarely I pull out my sketchbook lately. So I took my briefcase out of the car, took out my neglected journal, opened to a fresh page and started drawing what was in front of me.

Drawing is therapeutic. It forces me to slow down, leave anxious thoughts to evaporate, and focus on the moment. It's better than getting a massage. And when I'm done, there's a tangible result. 

Ina arrived a few minutes after I closed the sketchbook and slipped it back into my bag, I got my keys, and headed off to work still ahead of heavy traffic, satisfied that I'd managed my frustration constructively.

But I still want my poached eggs and toast.


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