May 2015… |
Lately I’ve been obsessed about something that it’s probably best not to spend hours, or even minutes, being bugged about. But I doubt that I’m alone. I’ll lay odds you’ve had a similar experience a time or two; like having some undesirable thought enter your mind that you don’t want to be there. It’s like being conscious of the beating of your heart, y’know? See I’ve lived all these years and still find it mysterious that my heart keeps beating with no control from me; and my blood circulates; and my gallbladder empties itself of yucky liquids; and my liver secretes bile; and my pancreas regulates sugar; and my kidneys filter and produce a sterile liquid called urine. The processes go on and on without me giving them so much as a fleeting thought. More bothersome is that someday these functions will also stop because of a cancer injected into me at birth called time, which will create a last moment when it and destiny intersect. Or the thing that bugs you might be an irritating melody repeating over and over between your ears…or the nose whistle of the guy sitting next to you on a three-hour flight…or a big, juicy zit on the back of an attractive female in beach attire…or a well-groomed businessman with a hanging booger The more you consciously try to ignore those unpleasant features, the more aware you become of them. Maddening! Anyway, my most recent bugaboo is thinking about potential last events of my life; e.g., the last time I run or bike a favorite route; the last time I visit a certain restaurant; the last time I play a favorite game; the last time I see a certain friend, the last vision I’ll ever behold... Get the idea?
Maybe I’m wrong, but I surmise this type of intrusion into one’s bean happens more often as age advances. Otherwise why would becoming morose about any kind of last event be on anyone’s mental radar screen? Well…I have an idea of why it’s happening to me at this stage of my life to wit: My wife and I are spending our last three weeks in a Midwestern house we had built 15 years ago. We watched as a hole in the ground turned into framing, brickwork, interior finishing, etc. Additional thousands of dollars were spent finishing the basement, building a deck, and for custom furnishings. Our home was the fourth one in a secluded neighborhood of 51 homes. Now we’re leaving and I continue to become aware of more “lasts”. Oh, I suppose I always knew this day would come since our immediate families are on the west coast where we left them years ago. Did I mention all the stuff we accumulated that fills three floors? No? I surmise we’ll end up in less than half the floor space we now occupy, and that’s a good thing believe me. We have w-a-a-y too much house (and “stuff”) for two people. Still there are certain attachments to home, neighborhood, good friends, and community—one of the most desirable in the US a decade running according to annual surveys that purport to know of such things.
We have been fortunate. Our health has been robust and allowed us to remain very active, and we’re about to move into the third brand new home in our lifetime. I cannot complain. Still my heart is a bit heavy as we prepare to leave. I’m told by some that I’m fortunate because: 1) Since we’re moving to the desert I won’t have to mow the lawn, weed-whack, trim, and edge. (BTW I like to do those things.) 2) I won’t have to put up with the humidity of summer. (What humidity? I lived in Houston for 11 years. Now there was some real humidity.) 3) No more cold winters; no more snow shoveling. (I enjoy winter, and consider snow removal as a free workout.)
Last night we attended our last Kentucky Derby party hosted by the Newtons, and today we’ll attend our last spring concert of the St. Mark’s Orchestra conducted by Ed Rowell. Among others, the playbill features the music of John Williams and Tower of Power. In a few weeks I’ll mow our lawn for the last time, and travel a few hours north to (probably) see my remaining aunt and my late parents’ last standing golf partner for the last time. I’ll say good-bye to my two favorite lap swimming pools, farewell to Woody’s, my favorite watering hole; and so long to Bub’s Hamburgers. The latter stands for Big-Ugly-Burger, and the advertised weight (one-pound, half-pound, etc.) is the COOKED weight, not the raw weight. Damn, they’re good. I will never say adieu to the family Poe who have been the best kind of friends anyone could ever wish for during this lifetime. Spending Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) with them is a highlight of my life. Will that ever happen again? I hope so.
Fortunately, I embrace change and opportunities for new beginnings. There is that. Of course, it’s likely to be my LAST new beginning… I bet when you took the subject in high school you never thought biology would have the last laugh. It’s like I’m on the edge of a cliff preparing for, but dreading, that last ultimate fall. However, as they’re plowing me under my very own dirt sandwich my last thoughts will be 1) what a great ride I had, and 2) wondering where the mystery train will take me.
Meanwhile, I intend to act like a kid and spend the days swimming, running, biking, playing tennis; and spending too much time in the sun.
Several weeks later… (Pronounced in the voice of the narrator for the SpongeBob Squarepants Show)
We’ve moved into a new home in a gated community in the Southwest. I like everything about it in spite of the challenges and seemingly never-ending list of to-do items typical of a new move-in. We still have plenty of items on our list, but (at last) they seem manageable. Outside the gate our neighborhood consists mainly of millions of saguaro cacti standing guard like taciturn sentinels. I’ve been told they only grow six inches to a foot in the average human’s lifetime. Man, those fifteen footers are ancient. I read where they can reach heights of sixty to seventy feet in areas with a bit more water.
So, anyway, my birthday pops up in the middle of all this. It was one of those milestone types—I won’t tell you which one—that leads one to believe he might be entitled to some kind of special treatment for the day. Au contraire! Here’s what happened: 1) The gatekeeper turned away the guy who was scheduled to install six ceiling fans. It took eight days to get him out there in the first place. 2) I planned to play tennis, but the court was not available. 3) After a bike ride I attempted to mount up again for a dash to the swimming pool, and discovered a flat tire. So much for being special (sigh). Normally I’m a cheerful sort especially in the morning, but that day I turned into a whining, petulant ratbastard. I got more depressed thinking about the dumbed-down, pop-culture corps of effete impudent snobs populating our society. I mean who is more tiresome and phony than the Clintons or more ill-prepared than the Obamas, any of the GOP duffasses, and Donald Trump. Then there is the ersatz body of so-called newscasters who are more focused on becoming celebrities than actually reporting facts: Brian Williams, Matt Lauer, Sean Hannity; the list goes on-and-on. The citizenry’s awareness has been dulled and lulled by the bogus blathering of mediocre men and women; that is, we have birthed a class without class; power without greatness, and a consecrated national stupidity. Before I left the business world, I noticed what the Japanese call the new human race taking the reins. They have sweet, disinterested faces and no future because they are only interested in the present, and say “tomorrow” because tomorrow doesn’t matter to them. Sorry for the soap box oration; but fear not, citizens. I recovered by dinner, and became resigned to the fact there was nothing special about the day—or me.
So here I sit waiting again for the ceiling fan installers. They’re twenty minutes overdue. Wait…there’s the doorbell…they’re here. Hot damn! Gotta go.
Copyright 2015 by Gene Myers, author, former world-class pocket pool player, and all-around opinionated good guy.
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