Today I want to talk about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. I’ve written a few posting regarding my personal life and, for one reason or another, didn’t publish them. This is one of those posts.
Whether you are a friend that reads this because you know me, or a reader that is getting to know me, or it’s your first time here…here is my take on today…
We live in a world full of uncertainties, and if you believe in fate, we swirl around in it like turds in the toilet waiting on that particular moment that we disappear; flushed away…
Now he will wax poetic…
We are into the fall of the year. My favorite season. The temperatures cool, “the autumn moon lights my way.”, (bonus points if you know the quote) and the earth gives us its hearty bounty and prepares for its own hibernation and rejuvenation.
The kids are back in school and the house has grown quiet for the family folk. An almost eerie stillness falls over suburban neighborhoods. Folks find their routines again and life returns to “normal.” Whatever that is, I’m sure I don’t know and it will never so much as touch me.
My few attempts at it have been jokes at best. Not really in the funny sort of way, but should you try to turn spots to stripes you just end up looking silly.
I’m sitting on my patio in Portland-Fucking-Oregon drinking a beer and pecking at my laptop while my lady friend’s cat mewls behind me perhaps simply waiting just as I find myself doing.
I’ve been in Portland now for 16 long ass fucking years. In that time, I’ve had maybe 6 months combined where I thought I liked it, but the truth is the only reason I’m here is for my daughter. Or rather a promise I made to both of us. That promise is that I wouldn’t leave her. My promise, my love for her, is more than my desire to be somewhere else, do something else or be with someone else.
She’s going to be 15 years old in just over a few days and I hate it. I wanted her to be 8 years old forever. I’m going to hit my half century mark on Christmas day this year, and the best time of my whole life was the summer when she was 8. It was pure magic.
Now she’s a full blown teenager. Dad isn’t nearly as rad, and, for her, time is much better spent with friends.
In the middle of April this year I met my lady friend. She drives a beat to shit barely running Volkswagen something, dresses from thrift stores and has the furniture to match. She is beautiful, plain, nerdy, doesn’t wear or need make up, and is quiet and unpretentious.
We spent the summer playing. Taking motorcycle rides to nowhere just to be out and away. We had great talks, grilled many dinners just off this patio, foraged mushrooms and fucked in the woods. It was pretty fucking great. We, my lady friend and I, took a strong liking to each other, and in July she moved in with me.
As I move towards more history than future I can’t help but think about ending my affair with this city and retiring to a small town, open a little home cookin’ style café and live out my last days telling war stories in the local tavern with my lady sitting next to me rolling her eyes at how I embellish the tellings she’s heard no less than a hundred times. She enjoys my rhetoric, but wants to be home making dinner with me and then cuddle on the couch watching a movie once in a while. I tell her that though I’ve never been a huge fan of people, I’m ironically social. I need the interaction and entertainment of others. It truly has been my way.
The small town cravings of my mid-sized life seem so far away and so near at the same time. As my lady and I toured around on the motorcycle (the bike that I swear is my only real freedom) we stopped in depressed, yet happy, small towns and just observed. We talked about running away all the time, but knew that we wouldn’t earn enough to sustain the “golden years.”
Starting before my lady friend and I had met, I had taken a time out from kitchen work, well mostly, and figured that I should start thinking about the fact that I’m getting old. I guess most people do such things on approach.
I took my first corporate job. (as an under chef. My past had only seen me as the boss. No. Not Bruce Springsteen.) I took this position with a lot of enthusiasm as it offered good benefits, retirement, upward mobility and relocation potential that seemed more promise than potential.
Anyway, I wrote an entire post about that experience but my lady friend, more or less, talked me out of publishing it because, ooooh, Portland people would know who I was talking about. Suffice it to say, for me, the corporate job was a complete shit show and an untenable situation. In under three weeks I walked. No notice and no hard feelings. (I think)
My lady friend is in the same business and actually works at the restaurant literally two doors down. So after I grabbed my knife bag heading out of the corporate world, and on my way to my motorcycle, I texted her to meet me outside. I gave her the news. She knew it was coming, but I guess really didn’t expect it if that makes sense.
On my ride home (thank God for that motorcycle) my mind returned to the small town dreams of an easy life growing old and fading into an existence far away from the stresses of running kitchens, city life and “San Francisco cocksuckers” (more bonus points if you get that reference) and finding that certain white noise to spend the last few fleeting moments off the road well-traveled.
I went back to working with a friend that I had been helping out while I searched for this untenable corporate job. It’s pretty cool work, great hours that include three day weekends. It keeps a knife in my hand and offers pretty much zero stress. Completely different from running a restaurant. COMPLETELY.
About a month ago I noticed subtle (negative) changes in my lady friend that quickly became more pronounced.
As her changes became too pronounced to ignore I ask her to join me here on the patio, where I am sitting now, to discuss whatever the fuck is happening.
She with a glass of Rose and me with a beer we convene…I, in an emotional vent, said that sometimes love isn’t enough to make a relationship work. There are few truer statements. In that moment we agreed. A mutual decision was made to separate our lives, being changed by our time together, and to return to our lives without each other. Simple on paper, right?
She has uncanny way of falling asleep in a second, much like her cat, at any given moment. So she just went to bed without any reason or resolve of the problem I was addressing. I gave thought to the conversation of vagueness and the lack of issue regarding issues and, as is my way, took a mental inventory.
Our relationship had yet to be truly tried. There had been moments where things weren’t amazing, but duh, that is how it goes. We were, and still are, absent of arguments, yelling or calling names or any of the other insane bullshit most relationships bear. It would never come to that. And I say that with all honesty. Atypical I know, but true.
Within my ruminations of the past six months I found nothing actually wrong. She isn’t the greatest of communicators, but I have a fairly good read on folks. Especially on those I’m close to, but, then again, she is a quiet one.
In my life I have missed many things. Missed them because they weren’t there any longer. Missed them because I never knew them. Missed them because I failed to catch. So, I thought of my life before I met her. I thought of my life since meeting her. I thought of my life being with her. And then I thought of my life without her. That thought was grey. I couldn’t pull it into focus. And not to romanticize, but I felt it was because we weren’t done.
The next day we went about everything normally. After making love, we again convened on the patio. I gave her my thoughts from my ruminations, realizations and the lack of effort on both our parts. This is an ironic statement considering the quote from my past I spoke to her last night.
She then told me she had found a place but couldn’t move until the end of October. I thought to myself, okay, perhaps whatever is going wrong will right itself between now and then. It only got weirder. Worse.
A few days’ pass…we had both just settled in after our work day, and, again, on the patio…we talk…
The conversation begins where she says she doesn’t know where to begin, but suddenly she does. She goes into a soliloquy about her ex, and the fact that he didn’t have a job for the last three years they were together. (ok?) Then she goes on to say that she wants to go out to eat every night and we can’t afford it. (huh?) Is this really what first comes to mind from my unpretentious little thrift store girl? Is this really issue number one? Umm…yes? money. Here’s where I go. “That should have been on page one and we would never have wasted each other’s time.” The sweet little woman I met back in April disappeared as the words past her lips. The lips I loved to kiss so much. I sat staring at her then not knowing who she was.
I have no aspirations of being wealthy in the monetary sense. That isn’t happiness. I’m beginning to realize I don’t know what either is, by definition, to most folk. Wealth or happiness.
The conversation continues, but it’s needless. Point number one was on the shallowest of ground that a puddle couldn’t form and all around me it was pouring down rain.
Here’s a situation presented where one of two has just said we don’t have enough. The other says I have no more. THE END. Right?
Then I actually really start thinking, wondering and questioning.
She, the month prior I’ve been telling you about, had brought home near constant talk of a new coworker. Her “only friend.” The Chef for a new, yet unopened place owned by the same people she works for. It all coincides with the changes I’ve seen in her. Just a coincidence? What would you think, dear reader? I mean given the scenario I just gave you, would you see something like a lie dripping off of someone’s chin?
I merely ask. I’m suspicious, but not accusatory. She gets fucking agitated, red faced and raises her voice.
It gets better…(worse?)
Her plans to move become immediate. She tells me that this coworker is going to help her move her things. “He’s all I’ve got. I have no one else to help me.”
Now whether this be my past making assumptions, or the truth of a lie I’ve been told, I tell her it would be a really bad fucking idea to bring him to MY HOME.
She gets verbosely defensive. Again. In my life’s experience, this is generally a product of guilt. I wasn’t angry before that point. Then, well, I got angry.
He will not be coming to my home. All of her will be vacant within my walls in two days’ time. The flow will become ebb. Calm will return.
But right now, I feel…I think…does it matter what happened? Whatever it was, it just happened.
It boils down to this…and correct me if I’m wrong…
It takes much effort to become effortless. Don’t pray for an easy life; pray for the strength to endure a difficult one. Or, if all you really want is money then pray the opposite. Greener pastures? Go for it.
Maybe a better way to put it is to quote something my mama used to say; “Want in one hand and shit in the other. Tell me which gets full first.”
Tonight I’ll sleep alone. Tomorrow morning I’ll wake the same way. My routine restarts. It’s coming into fall. The kids are back at school. Hibernation. Rejuvenation.