Sunday, May 31, 2015

Faking It

Waking at daylight. Not ready for the day yet a quick walk down the hall and flop back into the restlessness. The sun is up and won’t go away for the day has begun without me but the yard calls me out. I know my duty.
Someone is cutting the lawn. On a Sunday? I stand braced in the beams of sunlight that will change as the day goes by. A shadow thinking the ponies need new shoes but not today.
A few folk venture out with their kids and dogs but everyone seems distracted. Is this really Sunday? Is this the last day of the month? Tomorrow the bills get paid and those people will still be walking.
There is no song this morning in my metronome, only bumps in the road. Such a regular route autopilot has turned on and only a conscious action will remind me of breathing and looking and listening. There and don’t remember getting there.
No little red haired girl but her car is here. Is that stalking? The usual contents in the cart and the typical Sunday crowd of women looking disgusted at being at the store looking tired and worn. Even yoga pants do not help.
Some old guy asked about the bike even though the manufacturers logo is all over it. Don’t know how I attract these folks but they really just want to talk about themselves. Is riding a bike such a fascination or a right of passage?
So after my chores, comes the realization that this is what LIFE is. Or at least this is what LIFE is now. Everyday.
Wake up from a restless sleep, stumble through the dust and dirt and heat and crowds to accomplish the minimal task, only to end the day with another scratch off the calendar. The daily chores of feeding and washing and pooping become just that; chores.
Us old guys can now have time during the waking hours to reflect on LIFE that has been and maybe forward looking with a bit more wisdom or at least bad experiences. Every bad decision makes a wonderful story.
So what is this LIFE thing? You didn’t ask for it. You just got dropped into it. There are no instructions but some moral, social patterns that rely on you as an individual to follow what everyone else is doing and you will be all right. Is LIFE the status quo?
The adventurers or writers or other great minds we are influenced about in history did not follow the status quo. So is LIFE about being safe in the cushion of the status quo following the lemmings or to strike out and go where no one has gone before?
This question doesn’t really involve you until puberty. Before that you are only doing what the tall people say to do for they feed you and provide you shelter. The rest is pretend time.
Our imagination, whether sponsored by fantasy in books or movies or television, can fill our time between sleep and sleep with wonderful adventures and colorful characters. When a box of crayons or some rubber soldiers could fill the day, it was pretend time. We created stories and adventures while being surrounded in comfort of the status quo.
BAM! WHALLOP! BANG! In comes puberty and not on is your body stretching into unfathomable shapes but your mind is starting to pick up on the world around you. Suddenly you realize pretend time is over and this is reality.
And so it goes, we do what we have to do to survive. Good stories.
Upon reflection are these decisions, choices, or reactions to the status quo our legacy? Did we become responsible citizens of our community and vote and clip coupons and shop for the best gas prices and watch the late night television until we couldn’t stay awake?
Were we just bouncing around in the pinball machine, decisions overruled by the flippers until tilt, or did we march down a path of destiny? We search our genealogy for a path but only find a map. We assume after so many years, our collections of stuff offer examples of our taste and wealth and prestige to the status quo. Do you like my new car?
Maybe, just maybe, we never stopped pretending? This space called our world and everyone in it is all aliens and had to be coped with. How better to deal with the unknown than to pretend. Make believe, fantasy, fiction whatever we name it; we cope by pretending.
In the long run, if we don’t write down our experiences or relay our accomplishments or accolades, we leave it to others and soon they will forget. As history records our time, only a few will be scrutinized or even pondered when so many more have built ships and car and highways and fought in battles or committed crimes or raised families or had ideas no one else ever noticed.
While everyone is standing around your coffin and say how good you look at being dead, will they remember the time you jumped ship to Europe with your cousin or how he threw you out of a plane to lean how to parachute? The facts of time and place have been recorded and will be posted for all time, but the nuances of LIFE can never be explained.
In the long run, as they say, we follow different paths with different encounters and we make different decisions. Whatever knowledge or wisdom we accumulated through our journey must mean something?
Na, I was just faking it.
Even getting out of school, which was my prison, and pretending to be in love or faking intelligence to promote and survive in the ‘real world’ before settling back and watching the world go by was only faking it.
From the thunderheads I saw this morning, seems there will be some rain tonight. Break out the frozen pizza or maybe some flap cakes, but there must be substance to devoir before a nice long rock on the porch with cool drinks and silence. LIFE is good until the restless sleep.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


During my big adventure and anything is a big adventure from a guy who was described as “never leaving his zip-code”, I had the chance to observe others and took notes. As all the actions, conversations, and observations gel in my mind, I’ll pontificate on what I heard and saw.
After a few decades of brief letters or emails, people try to gather all the information into a crammed space together. So many years to catch up on and so many ideas, a few hours cannot cover all.
So looking over my notes and sketches of a week with familiar strangers, one theme that caught my brain many times was being ‘vested’.
The concept of ‘vested’ has any number of contexts, but the most common are inheritance law and retirement plan law. In real estate, to vest is to create an entitlement to a privilege or a right.
My use of the term ‘vested’ is to have the time and the money to do what you like.
So much of our lives we are being told what to do and when to do it and how to do it and even thought we might have our own thoughts and goals and desires, we follow the status quo. We get our education, find game-full employment, select a mate, find appropriate shelter, consume products, and with any luck, live to tell about it.
What I noticed from this adventure, three old geezers were sitting around talking about creative ideas spoken decades ago but with a difference. Now, as we discussed concepts and visions, we have the time and the means to explore our passions (*Note: if our spouse allows). 
My point is that as senior citizens, we are now ‘vested’. The subjects we discuss would have been dreams back in the day, but are now within reach. We not have the accommodations and the means to procure our toys.  

Is this what life is all about?

Family Drama

Being around others, you get a chance to catch up on their family dramas. Everyone has them. It starts at sunrise and continues through till sleep, only to come back the next day. Family drama is how we interact with other people.
I will admit, I’ve had plenty of family drama, but now it is different. Now it is fun, even exciting, to listen to other’s families’ crisis and triumphant. Everybody has a soap opera going on and we love to listen when we are not involved.
So now I know a little more about friends who I’ve not seen for many years and perhaps I’ve told a few secrets too. How we handle the family drama is what makes us who we are.
With that said, last night I walk out on my porch for the nightly rocking chair tour. I relax with a cool drink and wait for the night to fall. It is a soothing ritual.
Usually it is the last of the day birds flying, a few breezes and a late night jogger or biker. Other than that, it is a quiet rock to end the day.
Last night, across the street, there was family drama. Two women were trying to start a car. Unsuccessfully I must admit but the drama played out before me and I didn’t even buy a ticket.
I couldn’t hear the conversation but the motions of the players relayed the plot. Neither the actors or the car seemed familiar but I had front row seat to their family drama.
A large truck came up and blocked the street with lights flashing. Now things were getting exciting. Some guy got out of the truck which usually haul cars that are parked when they were told to not park because the city is cleaning the streets and had a brief conversation with one of the women while the other was talking on a phone. The guy, in his most professional manner, tried to start the car, then opened the hood and then walked back to the truck. The women were talking to themselves and then the guy with the truck and then themselves. What declivitous plans were being laid on my neighborhood stage?
The truck gathered its chains and drove off. The two stranded women walked off as if to go back to a place they had come to in my neighborhood. Then they came back and opened the door only to find the car did not magically start again.
Another car drove up and parked. There was a brief conversation with this new guy and he repeated the same routine of flooding the engine and raising the hood. There seemed no solution to this family drama. Stay tuned till tomorrow.
I did not stay to see the finale, but this morning the car was gone.

Monday, May 18, 2015

It Started On A Thursday


It started on a Thursday.
Same toothbrush. Back tight. Maybe it was sleeping in my own bed. Maybe it was back to the routine. The mail will be read or thrown away. The guys who are digging a hole in the ground made progress. The bamboo has really popped up. Other than that, everything seems the same.
He arrived. He said he was be coming and now he is here. He has his car. He has his bag. He has his bike.
An old friend, yet we are both older and perhaps not as much as friends for it was long ago and far, far away. He was more of a friend of a friend, but a recent visit delivered what the mail could not.
A new visitor welcomed into my private space. Welcomed, but with some anticipation. Some initiation. Could I provide?
And yet age and experience and probably the letters through the years help to keep the connection going.
No stress or deadlines with wonderful weather and plenty of natural entertainment. Catch up that takes decades to describe without really knowing.
A ride into history, then a ride into the present. A common bond of two-wheels followed by a few laughs and some librations.
Sleeping arrangements were basic and not as expected, but seemed to suffice. Hopefully enough space was given because it is difficult to live in another’s house.
While volumes could be written, the two traveled onto another adventure. A voluntary exit from the familiar into the circle of unknowing.
Rest stops are good. A chance to stop and stretch and realize other people really does exist. And yet another chance to continue the conversation.
For you learn about people just being around them. There were times and then times changes. We go separate ways with separate motivations with detours.
It started on a Thursday.
The mobile machines slowed and sped up, but I was the victim. All I can say is it was pleasant and safe. Hope the return is the same? Thank goodness for chocolate cookies pressing white sugar.
Without GPS, we somehow found our destination. Well, almost, if we were going to the neighbors. That may have been a different adventure.
Wanders settling into another strange space, welcoming but unknown.
Now two have become comfortable with each other with likes and history, but we invade another culture. A culture that may be different, yet the same.
Causal welcome and comfortable surrounds, we travelers settled in. The lord and lady provided much to the vagabonds. A walk down small town, even if it was a college town, gave a sense of the location. Fortunately, grabbing a meal is just an excuse to stop and talk.
From a sunrise to a sunset, few people can acknowledge themselves between the fiction and the fact. When the opportunity arises and the participants enjoy, it can be a special moment.
After our first invader made his deal, it was time for another chapter. One would leave and one would stay.
 Living with another, even a brief time, changes the perspective. With all the preparation there is the chance you will not fit into the environment. Observation and adaption are a must to adjust to someone else’s lifestyle.
In a captured space with someone who was known by ancient history and electronic typing, it was time to talk face-to-face. After all the time, truth seemed the best remedy. What do you have to hide from a stranger?
Morning and night with a couple in a foreign land was the charge of this adventure. Yet, the host entertained their intruder with much variety and wonderful gurbbies. A wonderful series of adventures without disturbing the normal family pattern. Hope I didn’t make a mess.
And so the kind patrons, who provided me with substance, decided it were time to deliver me back to my spot of earth. What an adventure was had.
Living in someone else’s space is awkward and reveling. Sights and sounds that no one notices are all new to strangers.
Although there were bonds by ideas and history, there was the wonder of companionship with another. This brought us together and brought us apart.
It started on a Thursday.
And so an early morning drive back home with some who are more strangers than other but more familiar. More information than must be diagnosed. As is life, experience and consume.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Nothing Last Forever

Are you sure….?
We have all been brought up to believe there is “eternity”. We can all reassemble on the other side to be with our loved ones and our pets and some who we have never met.
This is why we live the ‘good’ life, so we can make enough ‘points’ to insure our continuation in the great beyond.
How do we make these ‘points’ to insure eternal happiness?
Do we follow the writings of ancient scribes? Do we follow the teachings of our elders for they have experienced life and understand how events accrue? Are we influences by our friends or social media to follow a path of enlightenment?
For nothing will last forever.
Building and monuments so sturdy and strong will crumble. Power structures will shift and change with the whims of those who can influence. Pages will fade and the ideas will be forgotten.
If the Supreme Being had just planned this out, we would all come with an expiration date. It would make life simpler knowing when you are going.
The term “Till Death Do Us Part” would have a timeline. Insurance companies would have finite calculations. Employers could define the cost of pensions. Families would grieve as much knowing their child’s time had come. Suicides would drop knowing when your time is up.
All those pills and potions to keep you alive won’t matter because you know your expiration date. Some of those concoctions may ease the pain but nothing is going to save you.