And the story starts with this
I just finished watching Barbie and smiled as I watched shots of home and thought about a million memories of rollerblading in Venice.
Put in what felt like a million hours working on whether I wanted to stick with an SUV or go back to a sedan even though there is good reason for me to give in and pick up an F-150.
There are moments where I want something bigger so that if I need to move something I don’t have to hire anyone or ask someone if I can borrow their truck. But then again if you look back at the last 40 years I more than fulfilled my quota of moving things.
So I found myself at Grapevine Honda test driving a few vehicles followed by time talking numbers and asking them to explain why other dealers were offering deals that were significantly better.
Ultimately I thanked them for their time and walked out because I don’t have to make any immediate decisions and I am not doing anything that leaves me feeling like I forced down a bar of soap.
Got a half dozen calls from other dealers asking me to come in and told them I didn’t have time to play and if they want my attention they can email a quote over.
Only one did and they followed up by calling the wrong person three times. I understand how they did so because our numbers are only one digit apart but sometimes it is the little details that make the difference.
I pay far more attention to those little details than some people recognize. That is because there is a load of things where I don’t care at all, but if it is meaningful to me there is a good chance I notice.
And you can be damn sure I notice whether you are paying attention to what I say and how you are treating me. Screw around and won’t look for scissors because I know a dozen ways to snap the line.
Things We Write
Facebook sent me an email saying my account was going to be closed because of misdeeds and I laughed because I knew it was a scam.
I got a notice not long ago that someone was trying to change my password but I think that was real. I think that was someone trying to figure out how to hack my account.
It reminded me that were digital sharecroppers on Facebook and that any moment our accounts could be taken down.
Facebook memories reminded me of something I wrote in 2020 that I like very much so I decided to copy it and paste it here so that I have another record of it.
This picture has come to demarcate the beginning of the end of one chapter of life.
It was in the high 30s the man in the red jacket told me it felt bitter to which I said, “your Chicago blood has gotten thin.”
He rolled his eyes at me and I said I was glad he and mom had come to Texas and reminded him he was always going to be a native of LA.
“You’re like me, born in the City of Angels, even if you did sojourn in Chicago and Pittsburgh.”
His red jacket is in the closet to my right, about 20 feet from me and sometimes when I stick my hand in the pocket I can almost feel his hand there too.
The pockets have been emptied of the few scraps of paper and or mints he stashed there and forgot about. Trash to some, but a sort of treasure to me, scraps that remind me of little details about him.
I made the usual comment in the store about how Targets were mostly the same, “got t-shirts promoting local sports teams and some weather related items you might not find elsewhere.”
Dad didn’t turn his head or acknowledge the comment but I knew he heard and we kept going because after 48 years speech wasn’t always necessary for communication.
About a week after that I’d tell him to come to work with me and we’d set out in the car and he played passenger as I took us around town.
Towards the latter end of the day, post lunch at Deli News he fell asleep and I wondered how many times he had driven me around while I snored through the miles.
Thought about when he had taken me along with him from the house in Encino to downtown LA, mom having prepared lunch for both of us.
Sometimes he would say to leave it at his office and we’d go to Chinatown, Olvera Street or some taco shop in East LA and grab lunch.
That was several dogs and decades earlier, now I drove through the far less crowded Dallas freeways and wondered if this was the last time I’d see him in Texas.
Wasn’t any particular reason, we wouldn’t learn about the cancer for at least six weeks. It just struck me that way and I intentionally never said anything.
I could have, it wouldn’t have bothered him. He wasn’t superstitious and would have said what his father would say, “we’re all going to die some day.”
It wasn’t a melancholy statement, it was said with hope. It meant you ought to live now and enjoy life. Don’t worry about what you can’t control.
It is only three years since we took the picture, that is 1,095 days or 1,576,800 minutes.
Match it against one of those fancy Internet calculators and it doesn’t seem like much. I’ll post the numbers so that I can remind myself about what ‘reality’ shows.
Age in Dog Years: 217.0
Age in Galapagos Turtle Years: 24.3
But the thing about reality is it is always up against perception and in some ways it feels far longer and yet far shorter than it is.
1,095 days since Dad told me it felt colder here than it did visiting my sister in New Jersey.
1,095 days since I made a point to stand close enough to catch him if he slipped but not close enough for him to realize it; because he would have told me to socially distance myself with far more colorful words than I just used.
We think it takes huge amounts of time for our world to change because we forget life doesn’t operate on our time frame, perception or framework.
Older Than I Am
The younger Mr. Wilner is about to turn 23 which makes him three years older than I am in the picture above.
He isn’t a fan of social media and thinks that most of it is a waste of time and an easy way in which to make people feel badly about themselves or others.
I told him he isn’t entirely wrong about that and said I wouldn’t put his picture up in this post but suggested there might be a picture of he and I here.
He lifted one eyebrow at me and I laughed and said I never thought I would be the father of Spock and he rolled his eyes at me.
Sometimes the way in which he does that or makes some gestures reminds me so much of my father it confirms that genetics play a big role in our lives.
He likes to tell me I am old and that my hearing is going. I laugh when he says I am old and concede that my hearing may not be what it was.
Promised to get my hearing checked at some point to see if it really is going or if I am really that good at ignoring people.
Could be a little bit from both columns A and B.
Both he and his sister have asked me within the past two days why I was staring at them and I told them both it is what fathers do.
That is not a lie or any sort of exaggeration and I know they don’t totally get it and that is ok. I can’t tell them the joy parents get sometimes from looking at our children.
Twenty-three and we’re barely beginning to see the possibilities and the potential and that is ok. When you are at that age we’re not supposed to be able to know everything you can or cannot do.
We celebrated a big accomplishment of his not long ago and I reminded him of the joy and opportunity of being a place where the future is truly unwritten and you can begin to stretch and figure out what you are capable of.
Told him that I am still pressing my own limits and to enjoy the uncertainty and adventure that comes with possibility and opportunity.
Sometimes the ordinary is where you find the extraordinary, keep your eyes open.