In The Mirror
Monday. Decolletage in San Francisco. Better than coffee to keep your heart alive.
Another day, another dollar. Had a haircut just after noon and told my barber I was going to retire in another seven months. I've been talking about it, thinking about it, but this is the first time I've said it out loud without qualification. Was I telling the truth? Don't know, don't care, but I'll prepare (and be ready come April). Life is short (someone said), better to live whatever time you have left doing something other than what I'm doing now.
I would say I don't believe you, but I know your history. Do you think you can last another seven months?
I suppose, I suppose. I've had times in my life when I've arrived at work, looked around and realized I couldn't stay another day (and quit). I can probably put off doing anything that stupid by taking long lunches and leaving early in the afternoons before the walls close totally in.
That's not the American Ethos with a capital E, my man. Americans get to work early and grind it out like well oiled machines.
I can get well oiled during those long lunches and cruise through the afternoons sitting with glazed eyes at my keyboard in my well padded chair. Best not to fall asleep at one's desk in one's well padded chair, of course, but these things can be managed.
Tuesday. A long lunch with MRE at a sushi place I've not been to before near the office. We each had a large hot sake and then split another one between us before returning to the office. I sat at my desk and finished a set of images for our group's web site - “I can do these things blind folded”, he said - and I finished the day in a reasonable mood.
An obituary notice in the Chronicle today: Jack Smith, a sports writer for the Chronicle during my days living in San Francisco during the seventies had died at the age of 70 due to “complications from a fall”.
I met Jack through MSK when he was pursuing MSK (a perfectly sensible thing for a fellow to do, since MSK, who was fond of writers, could cause a man to stop dead in his tracks on the opposite side of a street with but a casual glance. Lord help the poor soul should she favor him with a smile) and we had a few conversations at the usual haunts in North Beach whenever we ran into one another. Which brings me back to quitting this job before I turn 65, let alone 70, which brings me full circle, full circle and full circle again with this I'm stuck in a rut business. It was suggested to me today I'd better stop all this carping because I was becoming a dull fellow indeed. And I agreed.
I talked about New Orleans facing what might be the dreaded “perfect storm” on Sunday. New Orleans hasn't floated away, at least not yet (since the water still seems to be rising), but it has gutted hundreds of miles of coast and killed who knows how many people. I don't usually watch the news, I listen to public television news in the evenings as I'm listening to it now while I'm sitting at the computer, but I listen without watching so I've no gut reaction to the images they must by now be broadcasting.
I'm grousing about a job (that is more than halfway interesting, that has always been more than halfway interesting, doesn't require long hours except now and then and pays pretty well) while living in a city that many consider located near the End Of The Rainbow and yet, not so very far away, folks are losing everything they own, are losing their lives, all without a whimper. Which sounds about right, doesn't it? Idiots abound. As you get older, though, you pick up on idiots more quickly and, if you're honest, you recognize one in the mirror every morning.
That's a bit precious, isn't it? How soulful we are, are we not Mr. Proprietor?
There is a war in Iraq, there's a hurricane in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, there was a tsunami in Sri Lanka, there will be another earthquake one day here in Oakland and somehow, although there is empathy, there is concern, there is occasionally a check sent to the relief agencies, I sit grousing about what is essentially nothing, avoiding decisions that should be trivial and, although all of this is true, I still sit here drinking this glass of beer, the balcony doors open to let a light breeze blow through the apartment, contemplating my navel.
Here in Oakland.
Here in Oakalnd.