April 3, 2015
I am fifty nine years old today. This simple fact seems to hold more weight than it should. I am fortunate to have arrived here, some don’t and some get way beyond. And I think any feeling – positive or negative – about this milestone is a product of ego.
Where am I? I have a beautiful family, a loving and dedicated wife. I have fewer friendships than some, but they are enduring and true. I have health and awareness of it, I have wiggle room to enjoy unhealthy things that give me pleasure without catastrophic result. I have possessions enough to satisfy my needs and I have gratitude for all of it.
Where am I going? Sixty I think.
There are times when there seems to be too much weight. There are times that seem whimsical and light, there are moments of pure joy and there are times when the only place to find comfort is sleep. But I am fortunate even then as sleep comes easily to me.
I enjoy using and reading words. I enjoy language – good books and the thrill of writing. I enjoy everyday experience – from shouting angrily at a goddamned cab driver (and the humility gained by examining the stupidity of these actions), to the joy of overhearing a conversation I couldn’t fathom being a part of. I enjoy kindness – especially when demonstrated by others. And I use it unconsciously, habitually – everywhere. I am rewarded daily, even hourly with gifts from muse – or my own perception – credit can be given to one or the other, I believe in both.
I enjoy music – I am blessed with a string of music memory and appreciation that dates back fifty years and I am especially fortunate that I regularly hear new things that give me pause to think – and that is the core of my enjoyment – thinking. It’s that that I’m most grateful for.
I have a different idea of success than many and that’s a good thing. I have wishes and desires that may never be met, and some that will, but I have experience, trust, and strength enough to allow that the future might hold pleasant opportunities, surprises.
This morning I woke my son at his request – 8:15, warning him the act of actually getting out of bed is not a thing I can help with – and went to the bank to try to accomplish something. Inside the door, up a small flight of stairs and hidden by the brick wall were two gentlemen bundled in street clothes, fast asleep with toques pulled over their eyes – last night’s preparation for the morning sun. I counted out twenties to deposit, pushed my card into the slot and began to push buttons – aware of the noise in the confined space. They didn’t budge. One is younger – probably thirty or so, the other looks to be around forty five – and these are guesses based on the skin of their faces – pointing up from the floor and visible only from nose to neck. They’re both gloved, one has mismatched boots – a heavy black work boot and a tan one.
My mind went to the defensive for a moment, a mitt-full of cash in my hand – pushed into an envelope and two people laying at my feet who could likely overpower me and take it all with little trouble.
It’s a strange place we go to – defensive – and I watched it and me from the outside while I completed the task. It’s something you have to consciously weigh. It’s interesting to me that a default setting has to be overcome to allow the human to act. I don’t consider myself programmed – but something was there. I still can’t identify it.
They’re not moving, they’re breathing, their clothes are layered against the weather, they’re warm in here but they won’t be for long. Someone else is going to come in. So I woke them up, fished in my pocket – I had a ten left and handed it to the old guy – I said, “Good morning gentlemen. You’re going to be rousted soon. Here – take this and go get a coffee or something.”
He asked the time and I told him.
They both thanked me – when I left they were still lying down, although moving around a bit, restless.
I drove downtown on an errand, returned and actually thought of going by the bank again to see if they were up, but elected instead to head home to perform that ritual on my son.
A dad is a dad, I suppose.