Change is Good
(or, You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks)
The above statement is something that I'd never thought I'd put to paper and
believe. Although I often pay lip-service to my "ability to be flexible
and go with the flow instead of against the current," the past months have
really been a test of my mettle.
Everythingians have been lately filling my E2 inbox with warmth and concern.
For that I'm very, very grateful. I've been putting off writing anything by
saying that I've got "writers' block." Bullshit. I just haven't wanted to talk
about what's going on.
Last night, after a lovely evening working (no sarcasm involved - it was,
indeed, an evening filled with good karma) I decided that I'd put pen to paper
(or fingers to keys) and let everyone know what's in my head.
My new little buggy is now beloved by me. At first, I
hated it. My friends cackled with snide remarks about the dramatic difference in
my vehicle of choice. Stuff like "he lost the Lincoln in a poker game," and "the
gas prices got the better of him." The nicest thing anyone said to me was
"gee... it looks like you've sold your shares in ExxonMobil and are fast on your
way to becoming a Democrat." Pshaw.
Anyhow, I'm driving all over the place (often far above the speed limit) and
digging the compactness of the car. Last night I was negotiating a curvy country
road as surely as in any far-more-expensive European sports car
I've driven. I felt as if I was in my twenties again, and driving my first
The drive to see my dad in hospice is 45 minutes to an hour each way. I used
to be so self-conscious about driving the little white car; enduring looks of
loathing undisguised as my fellow Republicans in their Cadillacs, Mercurys and
other gas-guzzlers flew past me, probably thinking I was some sorta tree-hugger
('cause of the big, green "hybrid" logo on the rear of the car). These days I
find myself spending more time in the car paying less attention to other drivers
and more attention to how lucky I am, being able to spend time with dad.
Which brings me to my wife. I've gotten recently to see a side of my wife I
thought I'd never see. Sure, she's kind-hearted and very loving. But the stress
of having to manage every day with "half of me" surely must be taking its toll.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, she's risen to the occasion. If we were Catholic I
think she'd have been nominated for sainthood. Well, I'm not Catholic and I
nominate her for sainthood nonetheless. She is my rock and has been tolerant of
more absence on my part (both emotionally and physically) than I think many
wives would tolerate.
Dad's changes are for the worse. But that's C-A-N-C-E-R, my friends. A
mysterious disease that becomes all the more mysterious the more I attempt to
learn about it. So I've gotten an education. I've also been able to spend time
with him. A lot of time. Which is far more than many folks can say about their
own dying relatives. I am blessed.
My brother flew in from L.A. last week and will remain here until dad's
demise. Thank goodness his firm allowed him to work out of their New York office
for awhile. It's nice having him around; I'm discovering a new relationship with
him that's just wonderful.
The bills for mother's new living quarters are quite hefty (she doesn't want
to live in the family home without dad). I've taken a pay cut 'cause I'm not
around that much. I'm dealing with eating at diners and otherwise pinching
pennies very, very well. In retrospect I can see the foolishness of my ways
So although my life is full of changes and unexpected turns in the road, I
remain optimistic and as cheerful as I can be ("fake it 'till you make it" works
for me). My Buddhist faith has carried me far. My friends have carried me
Love to all of you,