I was driving back from the pizzeria, a works for me and a veggie for my youngest daughter, when I realized how slow I was driving. Even in the rural area where I live there was a queue of cars behind me (3 to be exact) waiting for me to either speed up or pull over. I did neither. During this leisurely drive home I realized I’d slowed down not only on this particular drive but in all aspects of my life. When did that happen? It was, of course, a gradual change. One not seen as it was happening but only after it was finished. I had reached the crest. I was coasting now.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop learning, writing, painting, traveling, growing (both inside and out). What it means, I think, is that I’m finally comfortable being me. We race, struggle, and fight with our past and our future trying to make some sense of it, trying to find solace in our choices, in ourselves. Some never reach it, others reach it in their youth. I probably took a little longer than most; although, I know people my age who are still climbing, still searching for who they are.
I’ve slowed down and begun to enjoy nearly everything more I than used. I eat slower, read slower, make love slower (my wife nods enthusiastically). I enjoy after dinner conversations, the dirty dishes can wait. I work slower and usually do a better job. I stop and listen to my kids. I even drive slower from the pizzeria and I am happy. The journey was hard, but getting here is nice.
A quick note about the Oscars. I understand the Oscars are taking a publicity hit this week because it trended old – old host, old jokes, old winners. So what! I like Billy Crystal. I like his easy, often funny, but never mean-spirited jabs at the celebrities. This event is meant as a celebration not a roast. I like the fact that Christopher Plummer finally won an award at the age of 82. And Meryl Streep and Octavia Spencer are no spring chickens who most assuredly deserved their awards. Besides, the elderly old guy (Oscar) nearly had a stroke when J-Lo’s areola winked at us, Angelina’s leg seemed to have no end, and Emma Stone’s vitality flooded the stage. I don’t want to consider what might have happened if we’d had a host like Justin Timberlake or some young rap artist I’ve never heard of. Thank goodness order was restored when a silent film won the Best Picture besting The Tree of Life’s fascinating, impressionistic view of one man’s struggle to define the existence of life and The Descendents subtle, yet complicated, telling of a man’s struggle in the garden of eden when he finds out his Eve has betrayed him. On second thought?
Embrace is my favorite word. I’ve grown into this word. Twenty (even ten) years ago it would have simply meant a hug and given my nature (I’m not a “touchy” person) make me uncomfortable. As I’ve gotten older I look at that word and I see much more. Certainly, the word is soft and easy on the tongue making it enjoyable to say. More importantly, when looking at the word’s synonyms you find it has no disparaging branches. Each node off embrace has a positive meaning. I find this comforting.
I’ve never been a person of the community – one who volunteers their time to helping others. I’m not proud of this, but I understand my limitions as an emotionally reserved and often unempathetic creature and I choose not to play a part my heart is not in. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the work and unselfishness of others. I do. Their ability to include, adopt, and love unconditionally is an inspiration to me. It’s taken me many years to truly understand the word embrace and hopefully in the near future I’ll also be able to completely embrace it.
I had an unusual cell phone experience this past weekend.
I don’t own a cell phone. I don’t WANT to own a cell phone. I don’t have a good reason for this, except that I am wary of the idea of being “in touch” twenty-four hours a day. I know you can turn the phone off, but how many people do that? I like the idea of being hard to contact. In a world of constant, ever-flowing information – a world of incessant chatter – a world in which you can instantly see or talk to someone on the other side of the planet – I want less data, I want more quiet, I want privacy. I understand I’m swimming upstream against the societal norm and this weekend I was foul-hooked and gutted for it.
I went to see my oldest daughter dive for her college in the conference championships this past weekend. The venue was small with limited seating so a number of swim team parents were sharing tickets. One woman who didn’t need her seat for Friday kindly sent me her ticket. It was predertimined that I would return her ticket at 10am on Saturday so that she could watch her daughter swim. I was in the lobby at 9:30am, waiting. My wife had insisted that I take her cell phone for emergencies, which I had in my pocket turned off. Why have it on, I only need it for an emergency was my thinking. Apparently, the woman whom I was meeting kept sending me texts and messages to the cell phone in my pocket explaining that she was going to be late. With each non-return call she became more and more upset with me (who I remind you was early for the meeting and waiting patiently). Eventually, she looked up my home phone number and called my wife complaining that I wasn’t returning her calls. My wife calmly explained that I probably had the cell phone turned off. Eventually, she arrived (two hours late) and angry. When we found each other, she immediately berated me for not using my cell phone properly. She made a disparaging comment about the differences between someone from NYC (her) and Maine (me). I said nothing, just nodded my agreement and handed her the ticket.
She made no offer of apology for being late. I was in the wrong. I was the bad person. I was an idiot. Somehow, my desire to remain cell phone free is stronger than ever.
Greetings. This blog WILL NOT feature cute kittens or adorable puppies (sorry, I can tell you’re already disappointed). It WILL NOT be a forum for my political views (I hear clapping!). It WILL NOT be a trophy case for awards both professional or personal (really, who cares). And, it WILL NOT take it self too seriously. If at any time you catch me failing to observe my own rules, please feel free to persecute me verbally, or, if you see me in person, punch me in the nose. What I hope this blog will be is a glimpse into my wobbly mind, a discussion of my own writings, and occasionally a review of books I’ve recently read.