Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Wisdom

Sometimes, maybe, if you are trying and working hard, things come together and work out.  Most times, I think, they don't.  As your Life Coach, that's my message to you today.  When things don't come together, when things don't work out, comfort yourself with the knowledge that this is pretty usual.  It is how things go.  No you've got The Wisdom. 

But yesterday was one of those Crown Jewels of a day.  I want to chalk it up to my effort and hard work.  I know that is bullshit.  Still.  

I was up early and finished my reading and writing and coffee drinking.  The sun came up in a cloudy but rainless sky.  O.K., I thought.  Get your ass out there and get stuff done.  First thing was to put away the paints and brushes and paraphernalia that goes along with taping and scraping and cleaning.  This required many trips to the storage room off the garage.  But the thing was a mess.  I couldn't step inside to put anything away, so before anything else, I had to clean it up.  There were old paint cans from nobody knows how long ago, cans of turpentine and unrecognizable poisons.  When I picked up one rusty can, my fingers went right through.  Nothing at all was holding it together.  A can of spray foam had exploded and cemented many things in place.  I would have to deal with all that later, but I removed what I could, bagged it up, and hauled it away.  After half an hour or so, I had arranged things so that I could walk in, and after many trips, the painting equipage was stored.   

The air was moist.  I was soaked in sweat from head to toe.  

Next, I moved the heavy furniture and potted plants back onto the deck, even the big glass table top.  I was scared, I must say, for these were the conditions in which I dropped the even thicker glass table top on my big toe.  As then, I was working in flip-flops.  I bent my knees, spread my hands as wide as they would go, got the grip, and lifted.  And trembled.  The sonofabitch was heavy, the ground uneven, and I had to step up on the deck.  When I tried to place the glass on the table, though, two chairs were in the way.  I'm dumb, dumb.  I decided to muscle it up anyway.  Chairs fell.  I had a trembly grip, my bare toes exposed.  

So, o.k., that's a lot of drama for a non-story.  I got the table top in place just fine.  Sorry to disappoint.  

The heavy planter pots, the various milk jugs and porcelain cans.  When it was done, I stood back and looked on at the beauty of the deck with glee.  

I moved Tennessee's pressure washer and the half can of gas back to the garage.  Then I changed my mind.  I don't know anything about storing a can of gas, but I know bad things can happen with gas and wood.  I went back and got the can.  Where would I store it?  I walked up to the brick patio off the bedroom and put it under a potting table.  That should be fine.  Next to the potting table was an old sheet of wood that had been laying there for far too long.  I decided to move it to the garbage, but when I picked up one end, the board folded broke.  It was rotten.  I picked up what was left. . . and found a horror show.  Winged ants?  Termites?  I didn't know.  But there were big bull ants three times the size of any others, so I'm thinking carpenter ants.  I ran to the shed to get some spray, but the thing wouldn't pump.  I ran back and got a smaller bottle.  I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed and watched the ants run around in drunken, wobbly circles.  I opened the bigger container and splashed the poison against the fence.  I poured it around.  I started stamping on them.  It was a nightmare, but I think I got them all.  

Just then, I heard a truck pull up in front of the house.  It was the roofer.  Three of them.  I walked out to the truck.  The lead guy said, "Hello.  I remember you."  I shook his hand and took him to the kitchen to show him where the water came in.  He told his fellows to get the equipment.  I said, "I"m going to keep working back there if you need me."  

I went back to the nightmare.  A few wobbly, dying bull ants and a battlefield of carnage.  How could I let a piece of wood sit out for so long?  I grabbed the broken sheets of board and hauled them to the curb, far away from the house.  I was sweaty, dirty, and probably poisoned.  I needed to shower quick.  As I walked back to the house, the roofers were walking to the truck with their equipment.  They had finished up.  

"What do I owe you?" I asked.  The fellow looked at me for a minute and said, "I'm not going to charge you.  I remember coming out here to fix some flashing once before."  

That was five years ago.  I was amazed.  

"I really appreciate you, man," I said.  It seemed weak appreciation, but it was all I could think of other than, "Wow!  You've got to be shitting me!"

When they were gone, I ran to the shower.  I could feel my feet going numb, my fingers.  I could feel my face swelling.  I'd look like one of those Palmetto Bugs after you spray them, walking in hurky jerky circles, kicking their legs.  

I still had things to do.  The cleaning crew was coming.  I'd stripped the bedding and thrown it in the wash earlier.  I put it the bedding in the dryer and began preparing the house for the maids' arrival.  It was after ten when I finished up.  I got dressed and headed for the gym.  

When I got there, Tennessee was waiting outside what he bawdily calls "the Boom-Boom Room."  It is where people stretch and warm up and do odd exercises.  T does what he calls his daily hundreds there--a hundred push ups, squats, sit ups, etc.  The room is usually full of women.  A lot of kibitzing goes on.  I sat down on the bench next to him and waited.  The class would be finishing up in mere moments.  Just as they were walking out, the Shock Jock walked up and we all walked in together.  My friend the nurse saw us and came in.  

"This is the place to be if you want to talk instead of working out," I said.  She grinned and got a mat for the floor.  T and the Shock Jock got mats as well, and they all found their places.  I was across the room hanging from a bar next to the small weights I would use to warm up my very terrible shoulders.  A woman walked in who I have never talked to but who always makes eye contact with me and smiles a small, friendly smile.  She found a place to lay her mat.  

T, the Shock Jock, and I were raucous.  The nurse grinned and giggled.  

"Where did we end up deciding to go on Thursday night?"

"I don't know.  I don't think it has been decided."

"I thought we were going to the bowling alley."

"We need to decide.  She said she wants to go."  I nodded to the nurse.  She laughed.  She never said such a thing, but she liked being included.  The woman who smiles silently did her exercises with her eyes closed.  Were we pissing her off?  I said, "You can ignore us or you can join the conversation."  She opened her eyes and sat up.  We'd been talking about a new Mexican restaurant that had opened recently.  I hadn't been but the boys had and they were raving.  They couldn't remember the name, though, and were arguing about what it was called.  The smiling woman said, "I lived in Atlanta.  That is where it started.  This is the first restaurant they have opened outside of there."  She said the name of the restaurant.  "I don't know.  That's how they say it there." 

She was unexpectedly proper, I thought.  She didn't dress up for the gym, but I could tell she was "society."  Funny, huh?  That's how us hillbillies talk.  

"Oh. . . she's one of those society gals."

I asked her name and we all made introductions.  Then I excused myself to go work out in the weight room.  

When I finished up there, the boys were coming out.  They were done.  They were leaving.  I was going to do half an hour on the bike, but I said, "You boys have inspired me.  I'm going to leave, too.  What are you going to do?"

"I don't know," said T.  

"You want to go to lunch?"

It was decided.  I hadn't eaten anything.  This was a good idea.  

We met at the restaurant.  It was a place T and I go to often.  The Shock Jock ran to the bathroom.  The waitress came.  We always get country girls, it seems, and they like us, T with his heavy hillbilly accent, me with my hillbilly ways.  We kid, they laugh.  We always order the same thing.  When the Shock Jock came back, the waitress asked him what he would like.  He had no idea.  "Have they ordered.  I haven't. . . uh. . . ."  He was flustered.  "I'll have the Reuben."  

"And bring him a glass of water," T said nodding to me.  "He doesn't drink enough water.  That's why his lips are always chapped."

The waitress got the dig and belly laughed.  "Old cock-breath here should know all about that," I wanted to say, but I had to wait until the waitress was gone.  

When we were leaving the restaurant, I looked at my phone.  I had a message from the cleaning crew.  They were at my house.  Had been for about forty minutes.  O.K.  I'd run some errands.  Got gas.  Went to the grocers and got a ton of vegetables for grilling.  Tofu.  Emergenc-C.  Wine.  Beer.  I looked at the time.  I'd drive to my house.  If they were still there, I'd run some more errands.  

They had finished and were gone.  I walked into a house that sparkled.  How do they do it?  

That night, I did three loads of laundry.  It had been a day.  Things seemed to have come together. I had The Wisdom.  

But there is much more to do.  Much.  I need to channel my inner Doolard and get to work.  But I don't really have an inner Doolard.  What I have is a charming, lazy Bohemian.  I was verified as "charming" by a woman at the Y earlier.  "Charming and intelligent," she said to Tennessee.  She didn't say anything about my good looks.  Oh well.  There's a little more of The Wisdom.  I had to remind myself that I just don't care.  

I just got a text from Red.  It is four in the morning there.  She is still celebrating her birthday.  She wants me to come out to L.A.  Her girlfriend, the one she brought to my house a few months ago, is staying with her for awhile.  She needs me to come out and celebrate with them.  Should I let her know that terrifies me?  I don't party like they do.  I'm good for an hour, maybe two, but they are maniacs.  Still, I have a place to stay in L.A. if I want.  I guess it's because I'm charming.  

The sun is up.  Another few days of intermittent rain ahead.  It is alright.  The world turns green and begins to grow.  I must make choices and decide upon my day.  And I will.  Right after I make some heavy whole grain avocado toast.  

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