Sunday, March 30, 2008

Time Off

I'm on vacation this week, so what fun and exciting plans do I have? I'll be remodeling the bathroom. Tearing everything out then discovering that I have no clue what to do next... That's how most of my projects go, so we'll see. At least I'll be at home working, which is always nicer than punching a clock everyday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

When I Escape Life

My wife and I were discussing our financial situation the other day and the topic of selling our seven acres in order to stay on top of the bills came up. I hope it doesn't come to that. After years of living in town it's incredibly nice to be able to go out there any time I want and do whatever I want. My wife was born and raised in town so, even though she loves it out there when the weather is nice and everything is green and lovely, she doesn't feel the need to escape to the country like I do. Her favorite alone time is when she's shopping. I can go there any time and stay for hours. Even this time of year, when everything is a different shade of brown, I can walk through the woods and enjoy the solitude and the stark bareness of late winter, where the few signs of life mix with the surrounding seasonal death to remind me that its bleak appearance will soon give way to an explosion of green brilliance. It's nature and it's where I feel at ease when the burdens of life weigh me down.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Flash of a Memory

I was about nine or ten one time when one of my friends stayed the night with me. Back then it was a big deal to stay over at one of your friends' houses or have them stay with you. On this occasion it was a kid who was always getting in trouble for something or other, which meant that if I was with him at the time then I'd be in trouble too. He was from the town where I went to school, so being in the country was something different for him. For example, he didn't get to have a bb gun in town, so when he stayed this time we were out shooting at things with my gun. All was well until he decided to take a shot at my sister and hit her in the leg. Naturally she went screaming into the house and my big brother came out, took the bb gun off my friend and spanked his ass with it. It was one of those situations where you stand and wonder what to do next. I couldn't really take his side since he shot her on purpose, yet I'd have to spend the rest of the night with him after getting a beating by my brother. I don't think he stayed any more after that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Slow Blade

I awakened again last night with my arm and hand tingling and numb. It's been doing that off and on for awhile now, sometimes taking several hours for the feeling to completely come back and sometimes, like today, it never does. I went to the doctor about it a few months ago and he said there was nothing to do for it except to be careful that I don't sleep on it wrong. It's just one of the many aches and pains that are threatening to turn me into a walking hurt-thing. As if a knife blade is slowly pushed in just far enough to cause a lot of pain but not enough to put you out of your misery, then reinserted in another spot, I think this is what it's like to age not-so-gracefully. I know I'm not alone in my physical decline, as I hear so many people - old people- on a daily basis talking about doctor visits, new prescriptions and the latest ailment to befall them. I just hadn't planned on joining them this soon. I guess it's my punishment for not furthering my education to get a cushy job where I didn't have to do a lot of physical work.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Something You Just Learn to Live With

A bit of fiction because I have nothing much to write about right now.

Chet was reading the paper in the breakroom sipping the last of his coffee when someone walked in and went over to the vending machines. It was the guy coming to fill them and empty the money out, but not Rocky, the usual vendor. He looked a bit familiar to Chet and when the man stood up, looked at him and said "Hey Chet, how ya doin?", he recognized him as a manager from a store where he used to work. Dick was his name, and he remembered him as someone no one liked, and - he'd never forget - a suspect in the Tom Morris incident. They talked for a little bit while Dick filled his machines. Dick said he'd just started working for the vending machine company and Chet said he'd been working at the metal shop for six years. That was about the extent of their conversation, but he wished he would have asked him about that time way back then, but that would have been rude. He let his thoughts drift back there now.

The night stock crew of the Stuff-N-Save was a mixture of all sorts of people. Chet was about thirty back then, he and his wife struggling to make ends meet with their two young children, so he had taken this midnight job because it paid a little more. Also on the crew was Allen, a guy in the same situation as he was who'd become his friend. Then there were a couple of older guys who worked together all the time, and about five or six young kids, from eighteen to their early twenties. It was these younger guys who were getting into trouble all the time. With the store empty of most of the management except for Dick, the young guys were always finding ways to slack off and goof around. Tom Morris was their ringleader. The oldest of the bunch, he was cocky and brash and could talk the others into things they wouldn't think of doing on their own. He'd been written up twice, once for sneaking out and screwing his girlfriend in the parking lot and once for hiding in the public restroom and smoking while on the clock. The night Chet recalled now was one where Tom and two of the others were stocking groceries in the cereal aisle, the next one over from Allen and Chet. They heard laughing coming from the end of that aisle, then the three left to empty their cardboard hopper. Dick came by and poked his head into the aisle and asked Allen and he to come over to the cereal aisle. He'd been watching the three on camera and it looked like they were up to something, so they were searching for anything out of the ordinary. It didn't take long to find it. The Quaker Oats guy now had a voice bubble that said "fuck you" on the package. Enraged, Dick called Tom into his office, which was located next to the maintenance room. The entire stock crew just "happened" to be working right across from Dick's office at the time, and listened as the voices coming from that room rose higher and higher. The last thing they heard was Dick yelling "This is the last time", then Tom saying "I'm outta here!". After that came a sort of yelp, a cry of surprise, and Dick opened the door, eyes wide and fearful. The crew looked into the tiny room and saw.... no Tom. Dick was babbling "He vanished. Right before my eyes. He was just gone." Everyone looked at each other, then examined the room. There was only one door and no other way to exit the room, but sure enough, Tom was gone. There was no way Tom could have opened the door and walked out without the whole crew seeing him. A search was made of the store to no avail. Soon the store owner and the police were there, questioning everyone. Dick had to retell his story over and over, maintaining that Tom had just disappeared into thin air. With seven witnesses who had been outside the door, there seemed no other explanation, even though the police searched every inch of that room for blood, signs of a physical struggle, or an unseen way out.

Tom was never found, and no explanation was ever offered for his vanishing. The police investigated the matter for a long time, and Chet heard that they brought Dick in repeatedly to answer questions about that night. Dick never returned to Stuff-N-Save, and rumors circulated about a nervous breakdown. He hadn't seen Dick until today, and Chet found himself feeling relieved somehow. He'd never liked the man much, but was glad that he was out in the world making a living instead of in a mental institute somewhere. He finished his coffee and got up to go back to work, putting that part of his past behind him and wondering if Dick was able to do the same.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Degrees of Death

We all know that death is our final destination, but the last road we take before we get there is what I've been thinking about today. Whether it's a long painful bout with a terminal disease or a space station falling on top of your head without you ever seeing it coming, it's still the same end. So why do we fear different types of death? Myself, I can sit here and think that to step into the path of a bullet to protect a loved one might be an instinctive reaction, and to sit here and think about it isn't something that would send me into a panicky state, but to think I might have a blood clot in my body at this very minute that could break loose and go to my brain killing me or turning me into a vegetable - dependent on others to care for me - is something that scares me if I let it. And what of the idea of a worldwide cataclysmic event, an end-of-the-world happening? That sort of thing terrifies me. Why? Why more so than my own, singular demise? Maybe it's the way I'm programmed, what with my anxiety and all, or maybe it goes deeper. Maybe the end of mankind is a terror that is inbred in all of us because it means that all our generations of accomplishments will be for naught. But still....what will we care if we are to die anyway, probably before that happens? Maybe it means that we really are living for something more than our own selfish existence, which means that ultimately our works during our lifetimes are leading to something really ... special.

The older I get the more I think about these things and the more fearful I become of death, but also the more unafraid I am of it. No, I can't explain that statement. Maybe I should say that I'm closer to accepting death... Yeah that might be what I'm wanting to say.

I'm really not at the age where I should be thinking about dying, but maybe it's a change of life
thing. They say you do a lot of crazy stuff when you go through the change, like getting a younger woman to make you feel young. Hmm.. maybe I'll make that next on my agenda.