When I commuted and I drove the hours before dawn, the radio played all-night new age music, always a piano, overly bright in timbre, with synthesized strings, chimes and nature sounds. I’m not sure why I didn’t turn it off. It wasn’t my kind of music.

We didn’t have milk boxes out front anymore, or the sort of milkmen whose presence was heralded by the soft comforting clanking of glass milk bottles. But at gas station convenience stores, brightly painted dairy trucks coughed sweet diesel smoke into cool damp air. Grinding transmissions, sliding doors, loading ramps, and hand trucks harmonized. Paper cartons were carried in plastic boxes. I bought cigarettes and black coffee.

I imagined my smug moodiness, the world still asleep as I smoked and drove, could only be, must be, the disposition of milkmen. I had no milk, but in those hours, ones worth is rarely questioned.

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