The Good Life

Time speeds by early in the morning. I awoke before 4:30 and, as I begin to write this post, suddenly it is 5:45. My time spent revising an informational letter to the buyer of my old house took much longer than I expected; my message to her may be overkill, but I feel compelled to give her as much detail as I can about the house, the neighbors, and related stuff. I have always had high expectations that people from whom I buy homes will give me enough information to ease my transition into the new house; my expectations rarely have been met. Regardless, I want to be the exception, the surprisingly helpful seller who genuinely wants the buyer to have an easy, positive experience as they move into their new home. Little things, like letting them know when garbage is picked up and what brands and colors of paints were used in various rooms of he house, can be helpful. And leaving a book full of instruction booklets that came with the HVAC system and the stove and the microwave, etc.  It’s all so easy to do and can be so helpful. I wonder why it’s not as common as I think it should be? But, as someone said to me recently, some people simply don’t care. The instruction books, etc. may discarded the moment a buyer moves in. So be it. If that is what they want to do, they can do it. It won’t stop me from making the offer, though.

Now, it’s 5:53. I spent eight minutes ranting about my philosophy of the propriety and protocol of home ownership transition. Why do I document such trivia? I don’t know. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe it’s symptomatic of a mental disease. Maybe it’s a hopeful effort to encourage others to behave as I wish they would. Or maybe it’s just my fingers needing exercise and finding the opportunity in forcing the keyboard to express my take on home ownership transition etiquette.


The day on the other side of the glass is taking on a dim, silver-grey look, as if the reflection of light bouncing off a massive sheet of tin is bathing the world outside my window. I suppose it’s the cloud cover that’s doing it—not a sheet of tin. I wonder why I would interpret this morning’s appearance in that way? It’s the prism inside me. It’s the way my eyes and my mind refract and interpret light. I look at the world through a set of lenses that behave like rose-colored glasses—except my glasses this morning are tinted with tin or silver or some mixture of silver and grey…which is the color I ascribe to tin. My prism is not always silver-grey. Sometimes it is peach or deep, forest green. Sometimes it is fragile tan, the color of bleached sand. Other times, it varies from purple to orange to cerulean blue. Moods affect changes in perception. Colors appear to change, depending on one’s psychological context. Dark and brooding. Light and cheerful. Detached and distracted.


I dreamed last night that I was driving a borrowed car, trying to get home in time to meet my wife (she was still alive in my dream) to go to dinner with friends before the Bonnie Raitt concert. Somehow, I got lost. I had been driving on a highway, but found myself on a dirt road in the middle of a tiny town in Central Texas. I asked a teenager I saw on the roadside for help finding the highway; he advised me to contact the local police. It was then I noticed that I was wearing only underwear. I was carrying the handset of my (now-defunct) landline telephone. Scene shift: I was inside a police station. Two female police officers said they would arrange for me to be taken back to the highway to my car (apparently I had left the car on the highway and walked?). But first I had to agree to return to the little town and clean out an abandoned building. Scene shift: I was inside a bus, which ostensibly was taking me to my car. But the driver would not talk to me. And I noticed the time; it was well beyond the time I should have met my wife for the drive to Little Rock. I had no operable phone and no one on the bus was willing to let me borrow theirs.

In real life, mi novia and I are going to Little Rock today to see Bonnie Raitt in concert tonight. We will meet friends, who also will attend the concert, for dinner beforehand. I will double check to make sure we both have our phones. We hope we do not need to worry about getting lost—unlike last time we went to the concert hall, when we missed an exit, thanks to massive road reconstruction. Road construction that, according to reports I have read and heard, is only getting worse and more confusing. I will double check to make sure I am wearing more than a pair of underwear before we depart. I will not board a bus in advance of the concert.


I have a rather busy schedule today: 1) meet a guy at my old house so he can pick up some outdoor furniture I am giving him for his mother’s house; 2) meet with a woman who I will pay to do a thorough cleaning today of my old house; 3) take what seems like a vast amount of trash to the local dump; 4) move everything still left inside the old house to the garage; 5) take what I can out of the garage to store somewhere in the new house; 6) call the electric company to stop service in my name as of next Saturday; 7) shower, shave, and put on presentable clean clothes; 8) handle a few other administrative errands; 9) drive to Little Rock; 10) have dinner in Little Rock; 11) go the Bonnie Raitt concert; 12) sleep like a log—I hope. It’s not really as complex as I make it sound, but it’s plenty complex for me. I crave a day free of worry about what I need to do that I haven’t done—a day so utterly free of demands that it will make my nerves and my muscles relax into absolute leisure. When will that day come?


Breakfast this morning will consist of avocado on a whole grain English muffin with a bit of lemon juice and salt on top. And, then, I will commence my busy morning. Now, I will go cut the avocado, whip its flesh with a fork, and ready myself for a delightful taste experience. Right here in my imaginary casual fine-dining restaurant adventure, called the French Kangaroo, now operated by mi novia and me.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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