Stranger than fiction
It's interesting how you opt to
digest my daily tidbits. Some
ravenously devour them shortly
after awakening. Others linger
over a cup of coffee or a glass
of wine. A few of you even sit
down and savor an entire week
in one sitting. Given I spend an
hour or so a day spewing what
comes to mind, I find the idea
of reading multiples en masse
somewhat odd. However you
choose to join the fun, so be it!
Maybe it's like nibbling out of a tin
of candy. One is never quite certain
of what lies beneath the wrapper.
Therefore one can be somewhat of
an adventurer knowing that whatever
the outcome it will be if nothing else
sweet. I'm anything but a capricious.
Being a Taurean, my feet are firmly
planted on the ground and if needed
ready to stamp loudly if I don't get
my way. By my very nature surprises
are not anything of interest to me and
hence I avoid them if at all possible.
On the edge
Frank on the other hand must have
been a world explorer in a former
life. As we prepare for our autumn
vacation, I plan to book each room
and excursion well in advance.
Whereas my better half would
prefer to board on a plane, land,
take a look around, and then get
a room in a hotel of his liking. The
very thought makes me palpitate.
How can this roué be so pedantic?
Somewhere between Studio 54 and
Shopko I became a silly old man.
How many of you are true adventurers?
Is anybody else capable of risking it all
in a culture that abstains from any and
all risk? The other day Frank ordered
steak and eggs and when asked how he
wanted his steak he replied "rare." But
a minute later, our waitress reappeared
and asked Frank to sign his name next
to his rare request on the order ticket.
She explained that the owners asked for
this as protection against any lawsuit
should somebody get ill. Have you ever
heard of anything more ridiculous?
Hopefully this is only a policy in this
isolated province. Given the times
we've happily devoured Steak Tartar
or "cold center" T-Bones, we've never
been asked to sign away our lives.
What is going on? Have we forgotten
that upon ordering one takes personal
responsibility for whatever one ingests?
When did it become your responsibility
to manage my choices? Somehow that
sort of Big Brother mentality permeates
most of our society. Hence my sense
that it's very hard to do anything risky
Over the top
Even if given the chance, I doubt I'd
opt for anything on the edge except
when it comes to cuisine. Rarely has
there been a time when I regretted
tasting something new. There's little
risk involved given that if I don't like
it, I can always spit it out. Where I'm
challenged is in applying that same
approach to broader areas of my life.
One can only wonder what I've been
missing out on. Who knows what's
behind that next corner? Isn't it better
to leap forward rather than fall in line?
My dilemma is trying to conquer
whatever it is that feeds my sense
of complacency. Could it be that
I'm simply experienced, savvy, or
knowledgable? Do I no longer need
to stretch given I've been there done
that? Am I a lazy old man who has
been lulled into a mundane frame
of mind? Or am I simply afraid to
risk being disappointed? Maybe it's
time to reject all of the above and
experience the thrill of something
new. The clock is ticking, let's GO!
There are times when I want to do
absolutely nothing and yet... have
to do something. That's when I pull
out the computer and play solitaire.
Somehow this pointless activity lulls
me into a catatonically blank state.
I wish that I could say that I utilized
strategy as I played. That I truly knew
where every card was in the deck as
I slowly waited for the perfect deuce
to be revealed. However the fact is
I simply don't want to think and so...
instead I play "addiction" solitaire.
I guess I should feel guilty given there
is so much else I could and should be
doing. Could it be that I just need an
intellectual break? Or is it possibly
stress due to transitioning to a new
town while renovating a home that
has pushed me over the edge? If I'm
honest - it's probably that I'm simply
bored or lazy. And while I should care,
I really don't. There are times when
I just need to go into my zone - escape
all responsibility - and fade away to
a state of mind where nothing matters.
We all have some form of escape hatch
and if you don't, you should. In the end
staring blankly into a computer screen
is much better than nursing a glass of
Scotch. Some simply tune into QVC
and start shopping. Others endlessly
scrub floors or do laundry at 3 a.m.
However you deal with not dealing
with anything is your business. But
rather than fight it, I suggest that you
celebrate it. Go ahead, give in, let go,
forget about everything. Because in the
end, a free mind facilitates illumination.
One of my best times of the day for
ideas is my morning shower. Think
about it - at this point washing up is
a rote activity at best. Once lathered
up there's little left to do except stand
and rinse. During such a banal bain
one's mind is free to open up and go
places it doesn't normally have time
to explore. That's when the lightbulb
goes off! Suddenly all of the pieces
to a puzzle fall together or a new idea
pops up. What better way to clean up
your act than by clearing your mind?
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. LOL,
I just had to write that, sorry! Actually,
you have no organ that is more complex
and therefore often underutilized. In our
world of multi-tasking, we rarely give
ourselves the time to free our thoughts -
open our minds. So what am I saying?
Simply that blankly staring a the wall
while sipping your morning java may be
the best thing you do all day. Whether
one calls that daydreaming or a catatonic
state - it might actually be good for you.
After all... what do you have to lose?
When was the last time you didn't think
about anything? How often have you sat
and done nothing? Whatever your zone
is - go there often! After a marathon an
athlete often takes a nap. So after a day
at the office - why not give your brain a
break and chill out? Ever do something
completely useless?! While it may seem
like a waste of time, in the end I'm fairly
certain you'll find that sort of down time
invaluable. Blank out, stare, pause, play,
or snooze. Whatever you do... please do
us both a favor and don't think about it!
Empty nest syndrome
Recently I was strolling out of a
local store when two young men
rather surreptitiously approached
me. Being of advanced vintage,
I immediately knew that chances
were they were not about to ask
me out on a date. After a pause one
quietly said under his breath "need
any eggs?" After politely declining
I drove off smiling. You see, if you
were anywhere else, a parking lot
sale would probably involve weed
or sex not eggs. Only in Lewistown!
Neither here nor there
It's times like these that remind me
of how different we truly are from
most of the natives. Much like Mr.
Oliver Wendell Douglas, I'm still
transitioning to a very different life.
Fortunately I don't have to climb
atop a telephone pole to talk to the
outside world. Instead I simply log
onto my computer each morning to
catch up on the latest gossip. Given
I'm straddled between two worlds
it's easy to be a bit conflicted. Must
I pick sides or can I have it all?
To shop at the nearest Target one
must drive over one hundred and
twenty miles. Thus it's easy to live
in a bubble. Our accouterments all
came with us from the big city.
Hence when home, it's hard not to
be delusional. Like Miss Havisham
one can opt to live out one's life in
isolation. Yet that's not the reason
we choose to move to Lewistown.
Now we just step outside and are
immediately transported to rural
reality. Who said pigs couldn't fly?
Out of order
It's the little things that I'm unable
to adjust to. We continue to be deep
into the task of outfitting our abode.
It's not unusual to need something
suddenly. Sadly it's apparent that
few locals seem to have a need for
the things we desire. More often
than not they're unavailable or just
one sits dusty on a shop shelf. Who
knew I would corner the market on
the silliest of things such as hangers!
Guess I'll have to get my act together
or simply learn to do without!
If one didn't know better, one might
assume an outsider could leverage
their external knowledge on a local
basis. However we already have many
stylish and smart folks residing in our
rural region. Even when like souls are
gathered, I always learn something new.
Meanwhile the balance of locals seem
perfectly happy being who they are.
Therefore I doubt that any sort of urban
charm school is a viable pursuit. Good
news as I wouldn't want it any other
way. That's a reason I left Manhattan.
Ever wonder why I've opted to be
a fish out of water? It could be that
I prefer to be an outsider rather than
member of the pack. Owning what
may be the sole Birkin in the state
does offer up an odd sort of appeal.
However if no one else knows what
you've got - it really doesn't matter.
Living outside of the grid forces one
to look at oneself - not others. And
with that process of elimination has
come the realization that I still have
plenty to learn about being "me."
You see, most of what goes on in the
big city is "fluff" at best. While quite
entertaining, it's not going to save the
world. There's little as exhausting as
keeping up with the competition. After
years of doing just that we moved as far
away from it as was possible. While
style is still a part of me, I may finally
have figured out how to put it in proper
context. Now I'm quite happy living in
the manner that I'm accustomed to in a
place where nobody cares what I do as
long as I don't bother them. Paradise!
Getting there is half the fun!
When I was a boy, the idea of going
anywhere was exciting. For many
months prior my parents would plan
each excursion. Our tiny mailbox was
constantly stuffed with big, engorged
envelopes filled with travel brochures
and maps. Quickly all would be spread
out across the dining table as Mother
plotted the best course for us to take.
She meticulously crafted our itinerary
as only a control freak with a touch of
OCD can do. Then before you knew it,
we went, we saw, and it was all over.
Many say that the best part of the
journey is planning it. Frankly I
couldn't disagree more. The fact
is that figuring out where, when,
and how is a daunting task at best.
Even worse is finally aligning on
a plan in time to book it Danno.
Many's the time we've hemmed
and hawed until the last minute
only to find that we missed the
boat. Hence we usually end up
somewhere we know and love -
and what could be more boring?
Window of opportunity
One of my top priorities since
"retirement" is to take a long
vacation. However we share the
responsibility of helping Frank's
parents. While Mom and Dad are
well into their nineties, they are
still fairly self sufficient. Yet we
feel that somebody needs to be
nearby "just in case". Every year
our co-caregivers "B" and "S"
escape to some exotic location
during winter's darkest months.
Therefore we'll fly away this fall.
More is more
After years of feeling guilty for even
thinking about taking a week off, it's
finally my turn to spread my wings.
Frank has a natural wanderlust and
endlessly reads about exotic locations
that up until now have been too far
to be viable options. Now we can go
wherever we want. I have only one
requirement - that we're gone at least
four to five weeks. Now the pressure's
on to make a decision. And between
us this is one of the hardest jobs ever!
Time to stop, drop, and book!
Within a week or two we must make
a decision. So we're channeling our
inner Ethel by scouring the web for
destinations. Whether it's a cruise,
apartment, or suite at the Ritz doesn't
matter. Deciding on where and when
does. Most important, we must book
our airline tickets before First Class
is fully booked. You see, while I'm a
new man - I still have my standards.
Given this is the trip of our lifetime,
I plan to travel in the style that I'm
accustomed to wherever we end up!