Memories flash before my eyes of a dozen places in which I ask a version of how long will you make me wait.
There is the prospective employer who asks if I think it is effective to call and email, the girl in the car who discusses her feelings, the landlord who hasn’t made the repairs they promised to make and so many other images.
“I get things done and that is who you are looking for. Someone who produces results and doesn’t hide behind work that makes him look busy.”
“What if this. What if that. Some questions can only be answered by being lived.”
“I can do the repairs myself or pay to have them done and subtract it from the rent.”
The conversations go back and forth in a positive manner…mostly. I explain the battle against inertia and how it impacts our ability to make changes.
Not sure which moment brought up the others but when I am working on solutions for various challenges the brain likes to rummage through the closets to see if we have a particular tool that will help resolve things.
Sometimes I know there is something there even if I am not sure what that something is. I can feel the fragment and sense the existence of the thread to tug on.
I’ll Share Your Fears
We’re standing in the backyard of the house I grew up in at my father’s retirement party. There is a man I haven’t met before but I have heard his name in conversation.
He shakes my hand and says he has heard a lot about me and I smile at him because as a relatively new father I have a deeper appreciation for the need to share something about our children.
“Do you know your father isn’t afraid of anything or anyone? I could tell you some stories but I bet you have a few of your own.”
I smile and say I do.
He is partially correct about my dad not being afraid of people or things. He wasn’t without fear or concerns especially when it came to his family.
There were things that scared him but he didn’t fear taking action or have compunction at facing people or things that he viewed as threats to our safety.
That was something that sometimes translated into some of his professional life which led to the moment that introduced my father’s work friend to that side of him.
The younger Mr. Wilner and I are sitting on the couch talking about some future plans when something reminds me of the time his grandfather threw me into the pool.
“Must be 45 years ago, maybe a little more. I didn’t want to get in the water so grandpa threw me in. I was furious but after I swam back I realized I didn’t have any issue with the depth or length.”
I paused to give him a chance to ask the obvious question and then answered before he could speak.
“I was very pleased that I had proven to myself that I could do it, but I was still angry. He and grandma were very good about not inserting their opinions on child rearing with you guys, but I suspect if I had done that to you I might have heard about it. Grandpa was always protective of you guys too.”
We don’t talk about the conversation from high school about a guy who was messing with me. I don’t tell him how his grandfather said I should consider letting the guy hit me so that I had an excuse to knock him on his ass.
“If he hasn’t hit you already it is because he isn’t as tough as he makes himself out to be. So if you happen to be a in situation in which you can get hit but can control the how and where you have an excuse to educate him.”
I brought that up with dad when I was in my early forties and asked if he was worried about me getting seriously hurt.
“Yes and no. It is always possible, but you have a really hard head literally and figuratively.”
Makes me snort to think about it.
A dozen or so years ago I am sitting in a bar with a bunch of guys from college when the guy who has been married and divorced twice in less than seven years says to remember to pick a woman who shares your fears.
I tell him he is drunk and that he should look for someone who says “I’ll share your fears” and by that I mean will listen and support him.
“Josh, you’ll never find a woman if you use that line on them like you used it on me.”
I snort and tell to start drinking water and to think about shaving his head.
“I am no expert on women, but I feel confident in saying most don’t want their guy to look like his dog groomer doubles as his barber.”
And with that we’re one step closer to the next thing and one step farther from the last.
How much longer will I have to wait.