Not Today, My Friends
I want my day to begin softly with a coffee or two and not much in the way of conversation. To do this I will have to visit St. Arbucks early, do a little writing, and then leave before the influx of Usual Suspects filter in. If I don’t I know what will happen. There will be anger and high blood pressure all around me. Not today, my friends. Not today.
This morning I may get my coffee and go home or I may hit one of my alternative watering holes – a place close by where I am still pretty much a stranger. I can sit in the corner and no one will bother with me.
One thing I will most definitely NOT do today is have the TV tuned to anything that is merely talking heads filled with hatred who will be telling me their version of the world. Today will be a day for the Classic Movie Channel.
I have survived for 71 years now and I have heard more than my share of screamers who are sure that they know The Truth about whatever topic they are ranting about. 71 years and I learned long ago that the louder someone screams, the less they really know and understand. I turn down the volume and just look at them and I can see that they are nothing more than two year-olds throwing a tantrum to get that extra piece of candy. I want none of it.
In the course of my 71 years I am much like your standard issue human being. I have done some things right and some things wrong. Good decisions and bad decisions. I have hurt people and I have been hurt by some. I have learned some interesting and useful things and I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some important and valuable things. I didn’t take good notes. With all of that it makes each day a bit of a surprise. Each day gives me the opportunity to rediscover something that I had allowed to slip away. Some of my rediscoveries might be important. I hope so. I might need them tomorrow.
Tomorrow, the future is coming in bits and pieces. When I was a young man I looked at my future in terms of years and decades. Now that I’m an old man I look at my future day by day, sometimes even hour by hour. Long range plans are shorter than the “Best if used by” date on a carton of milk. It’s not that I think my life is over, no, far from it. It is just that I’m not making plans to see Halley’s Comet on its next visit in 2061.
I have gotten to the point that each morning when my eyes creep open I do say a silent “Thank You” for another day. I think that “Thank You” is justified. After all I’ve survived my share of close calls along the way. Most of which were made closer by my own poor judgment or overconfidence.
For my future, however long that may be, I intend to love my wife and hold her close. She has been one of the rare and truly smart moves in my life. I am most grateful for her.
In my future I know that I will still be seeing doctors who will tell me the same things I’ve been hearing for most of my life; lose weight, don’t push your luck doing stupid things, maybe have some surgery on your legs or hips or knees or whatever else is aching today. I have decided that, barring an accident, I came into this world with some messed up equipment and I will go out with that same equipment. I’ve had enough of attempts to make right that which is wrong with my body. I had one orthopedic doctor ask me a few years ago, “How do you walk? From what I see on your x-rays you shouldn’t be able to walk.” I gave him the simple and honest answer, “Years of practice.”
And that’s it.
“Years of practice.”
My life, your life, everybody’s life is just a case of “Years of practice.” We start out and learn to crawl, then walk, then run. It takes time. It takes practice and as time passes we live our lives one step at a time. We trip, stumble and fall occasionally. Then, if we use our heads, we get up and take the next step, and the next step, and the next.
I’ve collected a bunch of scars along the way, but I’m not through yet. I think I’ll go take a walk, maybe get a cup of coffee.