During normal times the sole companion in my home office is the dog.
He is a pretty good office mate as he’ll often sleep near my computer and or make clear when packages are delivered by delivering a canine barbaric yawp.
He is less good when the gardener or pest control guys come by as he thinks his job is bark at them the entire time they are here.
But my furry companion left for an extended road trip and there is no one around to walk through my Zoom meetings or interrupt/distract in any other way.
So now I adjust to the roar of silence and lack of human contact in the house with mixed feelings.
Made a stop by one of the Kosher markets here see if they had any shwarma and perused the aisles to see if there was anything else that looked interesting.
Let them convince me to try a meat and potato knish and was outed by the checker as an Angeleno.
“You have an 818 area code! How long have you been here?”
“Around six years or so.”
“Wow, you got out before it slipped into the ocean. It is terrible there.”
I congratulated her on her customer service and told her I still love LA.
“It is my home and I lived there for more than 40 years. I have lots of family and friends there, been back many times. Not sure what your issues are.”
She told me she didn’t like the homeless and that the borders were an issue.
“You know before Reagan made some budget cuts and forced a bunch of mentally ill people onto the street things were a little different. The border is a problem but it is not because of the current president. You’re pushing a narrative that lacks fact.
There is 2,000 miles of border and if you don’t protect the walls people get around them. And they do nothing about those who come in by air or sea, especially if they are light skinned and speak English.”
She stuttered and stammered and I suggested she post a complaint that was based upon fact and not the world she wished existed. Did it with a smile and hoped that something got threw, but who knows.
It is 90 plus outside but the misters on the patio are working and I am lost in endless blue skies.
Got a working lunch by my companion hasn’t showed up so I drink water, respond to emails and listen the cougar behind me complain about her husband.
In between sips of wine she tells her girlfriend about the digs he makes and the comments about she can’t find a better man because he is the best she’ll ever find.
The friend notices me roll my eyes but doesn’t say anything. I forget about it and then hear her say something and realize she is talking to me.
“Why’d you roll your eyes?”
“Because her story sounds ridiculous to me. Sounds like her kids are out of the house. If she doesn’t like how she is being treated she should get out. Life is short, but it is not my business and maybe I don’t know the story.”
“Nah, you got it right. But it is not that easy to leave.”
“People deserve happiness and sometimes you have to work for it or accept that you gave up on your chance for it.”
“Easy for you to say. Still hard to do.”
I shrugged my shoulders and went back to email. Almost responded with a few words about the major changes I made to make life better.
Almost said I am not afraid to make big ones again if it is necessary but saw no point in sharing it with a stranger who won’t care. It is not important to them, but it is to me.
I am proud of myself for being willing to take a chance to grab that brass ring. Proud that I wouldn’t just lie down even when I had reason to.
But the only validation that should be important to me is my own. I have to be comfortable with those choices and I am.
Paid a stiff price for them and sometimes I second guess myself but most days I don’t.
Wouldn’t matter if I did because I can’t go back.
No Grandkids For You
The younger Mr. Wilner does his Soup Nazi impression and says “No Grand Kids for You!”
“Not yet, you and you’re sister are too damn young. Better to be smart.”
“Dad, I don’t want kids. You know that.”
“I do. Not going to wonder or worry about it now.”
“You should take me seriously.”
“So then accept that I don’t have plans to change my mind.”
“One day I’ll tell you a story about a girl. Didn’t go looking for her or ever expect she’d get my attention. Sometimes lightning strikes and you do things you never expected.”
“Don’t plan on that happening to me.”
“That is the point, things happen that have nothing to do with plans or expectations. You’re almost 21, got a lot of years ahead of you. No telling what will or won’t happen.”
He growls something at me and I tell him I didn’t like it when grandpa told me how unexpected things could happen.
“So you shouldn’t do it.”
“I really didn’t. Mentioned it in passing, call it a teaching moment even if you don’t get it. Remember this, I am positioning myself for opportunity.
Don’t have to take them when they come but better to be ready to evaluate make an informed decision than to just say no.
Most of the time we paint ourselves into corners. Doesn’t have to be like that.”