I hit the road silently singing along with Sirius thinking about things not written in this particular place and headed out for a lunch date.
Work obligations thwarted my goal of being in the area so instead of hanging out nearby responding to emails and making phone calls I walked in to find the ladies engrossed in conversation.
We hugged hello, tried to figure out if it was 10 or twenty years since we last saw each other in person and laughed at how long it could be.
One of them went to kindergarten with me and I think I first met the other around 7th grade.
What we knew without question was we had all been on the high school swim team together and had attended the same university.
We filled in the gaps and caught up and two of us filled the third in on life in Texas. She was here to help her daughter get settled in her new job and would soon be on her way back to California.
I said I had just returned from LA and we talked for a moment about how strange it was not to be in the old neighborhood any more and I thought about all the changes.
Once I would have driven down Louise to go home and this time I took Hampshire because I got lost in thought about whether I knew whether it referred to a place in England or if someone got lazy and forgot to add “New” when they made the street.
I have known about it for more than 30 years and thought about it before, but never did the research and still haven’t.
Some time later I got back in the car and resumed working long enough to fill the gap between lunch and a doctor’s appointment.
Listened to the boys and thought about how appropriate the song felt and smiled as I headed down a freeway Texans would call busy but was empty to my LA sensibilities.
Three straight years of life here and a year spent in a previous life have helped sharpen my awareness of just how busy the freeways are back home.
If I had been back home there is no doubt I would have struggled with trying to fit everything in because the commute between locations would have made being timely prohibitive.
But life is different here so I am able to do things differently and am grateful for it, even when I sometimes feel like I have no roots anywhere.
Doc took a look at my numbers and told me there was significant improvement and asked me how I felt.
“Better in many ways, but I got a few things that are chapping my hide. My best guess is they are primarily stress related, maybe age too.”
He asked me to run them down so I shared the list and he said he thought I was probably correct and suggested I keep track for a week and then reevaluate.
“If things don’t fit you can always call your primary care physician. Based upon family history it never hurts.”
I walked out of there thinking about how family history is exactly why things hurt.
Thought about how someone called Cinnabon poison and got pissed off because I have put significant effort into changing some things and it feels like it just doesn’t matter.
The old man should be here now so I can tell him in person a thousand different things, but he is not.
And if he were he would tell life is hard all over. “It is not fair, suck it up.”
He would be right.
The pickup flew through the gym parking lot way too fast and I wasn’t sure if he saw me so I honked…hard.
Didn’t give him a five fingered salute or yell, just a loud honk and then I parked my car.
A moment later a middle aged woman ran up behind me and started yelling at me about not knowing how to use my horn.”
“I don’t speak to bitches or assholes. Looks like both work for you.”
She paused for a half second and made a comment about my appearance.
“Lady, I saw how you drive and it is clear you’re half blind so I don’t give a fuck what you think about how I look. You can’t see five feet in front of you.
Been a few moments lately where I remember I am wrestling with a giant and I wonder why I can’t just roll over and let him win.
Roll over, let go and walk away because doing so would free me or so the idea rings inside my head.
But it is not me. It is not who I am or how I do things.
Or should I say how I handle the things that are truly important. I have gotten pretty good of letting go of people and things that aren’t.
Anyhoo, one of the last real conversations I had with dad focused on this and ideas for trying to solve a few situations.
He listened and offered a few comments and some advice. Told me if things got rough I could lean on him and said he would listen.
I smiled and asked if he was blowing me off.
“How do I know you are listening, let alone hearing anything I have to say. Seems to me you are taking the easy way out.”
Dad smiled and said we didn’t know but he trusted I had learned a little from him and that I would figure the rest out.
“You might be right and even if you are not I’ll have to figure it out anyway. That is a pretty good place to be, knowing you can’t be proved wrong even if you are.”
Dad smiled, fell asleep and I closed my eyes and listened to him breathe not knowing how many more times I could do that.
Didn’t realize until he was gone how reassuring that snoring could be, but so it goes.