Friday, September 11, 2015

And Then One Day he Arose, Looked at his Feet, and Wiggled his Toes

It was the fall of 2011 and my lovely branch of the Big World Bank Machine was about to close, word had come down in the spring and the walking papers came fast and furious, of course being a building grunt meant that i would be one of the last ones out the door but that just meant i had to watch a lot of good people get shit-canned, of course i got to see a lot of complete assholes get shit-canned too, it was also somewhat amusing to watch as the rats (upper management) that had a chance of survival scrambled to jump ship and board the boat to C-town or the Penthouse but alas i digress, it was about this time that the doc gave me the usual line about low platelets and cholesterol and exercise and shit, and since my building had it's own gym and the population of said building was dwindling, it was easy to use that gym, i was a soft 215 back then, a doughy face and belly, and so it was that i decided to get in shape or lose weight or something of that ilk, four years later i can attest to it being the smartest thing i've ever done sans the boyos, my doc laughed and told me once again that i'm in the best shape he's seen since i've been seeing him, 17 years? hell i'm not sure, i didn't tell him the reason but he's a smart guy i figured he knows...

And so after four years i roll around roughly twenty pounds lighter with a lot less fat and a bit more muscle, i never wanted to be Charles Atlas i just want to see my kids grow up, kicked the smokes and the hard drugs, watched the drinking taper off, of course i still smoke grass but the medicine men tell me that's not as bad for me as Nixon and Reagan wanted me to believe, and these days? i spend them at home painting walls, fixing things, teaching myself to do shit i never knew how, i take the boyos to school and pick them up, i make them breakfast and pack lunches, i come home and then spend the next seven hours or so doing that list of shit up there, sometimes i lie on the couch and read books and listen to the fucking birds chirp, it does not suck mind you, of course it's not all fucking free and easy either and even when i graft away at some project the girl wants done i still have all the usual shit to do as well, laundry and making dinner and cleaning bathrooms, and it's strange that for someone who has wobbly discipline at best that for the last four years i have managed to stick to this strange regimen of sweat and (sometimes) pain, i enjoy it oddly enough, it keeps me balanced...

These days it is a strange world i inhabit, like a conservative christian i'm a walking conundrum, bending the rules to the situation, making up new ones when needed, it's an odd place the burbs, i've subjected myself to certain situations for the boyos, i'll do whatever they ask me to do, but basically i'm a social misanthrope, or maybe a misanthrope capable of socializing, i'm fascinated by humans but like Hank usually like it better when they're not around, maybe it stems from the Wilderness Years and the constant motion of dealing, days when to get ten minutes alone to clear the head was a rare thing, and yet i'm still studying, there's an interesting dynamic when you're a male who doesn't "work", i find it fascinating yet mundane to hear these stories of office politics and plane travel, stories that often sound eerily alike from mouths of different shapes and sizes, i remember them, i have a vague sense of it, you see it occurred to me the other day as i approach the halfway point of my fifth decade that in all the jobs i've held in my adult life i've never been promoted, that i'm beautifully below average according to some weird puritanical equation of the American Work Ethic, that in an odd way i feel most successful because years ago as some smart-ass smug twenty year old i decided i wasn't going to ever by defined by a "career", that i would create in the margins that i carved out, that i would not become obsessed or consumed by a job, so while being incredibly unsuccessful i've also been incredibly lucky, weird yes but on paper it makes perfect sense...

Lucky you ask? Why yes, you see i'm like the Greatest American Loser, and yet somehow it all works out, i've been a fry cook and warehouse grunt, i've been a criminal, i've lucked into jobs that fit my psyche and worldview perfectly, hell at the Big World Bank Machine i lucked into the best gig in the place, a decent wage and great benefits but better yet, ample time to read and study the pony charts, to sleep or walk around downtown and check shit out, to have the occasional beer or three for lunch, it was perfect and a complete accident, they couldn't find anyone to fill the fucking position and i was a memorable interview apparently, so months after i got turned down for a more "career" type gig i lucked into that... and the bosses fucking loved me cuz when duty called i did my work and didn't bitch or need baby-sat, a rather sad statement on the current state of the employment pool, but that was it, i was WinstonfuckingSmith, sort of that is, and now i'm a taller, hairier version of Carol Brady...

And being the cultural anthropologist i tend to try and keep my mouth shut in the company of the suburban business set, not because i'm a dick or a snob but i've noticed that once you're a stay at home type the SBS does not give much credence to your worldview, and i understand why, it's an undervalued position and not seen as, dare i say "manly", i'm not swimming with the sharks they think but really what do they now about sharks? i've swam with some big, mean fucking sharks in my day and they weren't the type to fire you, that would be getting off easy, the only thing i could ever be considered a success at career wise is still illegal in 40 some odd states, so i'm the odd man out at these social functions, no business to discuss with the gents and no beauty secrets to discuss with the ladies, once again the outsider, a recurring theme in my life, and so i chew my food with my mouth closed and drink the free beer and sneak pastries and watch the boyos, the reality is i don't mind being the outsider, shit i practically revel in it, i like reading my books and ignoring television and painting shite pictures and typing useless pieces of prose to stuff into folders that will yellow and become brittle while sitting in a storage container in the garage...

Now after a week of being lazy and letting this sit around and collect electronic dust i'm on the eve of my 45th year, born years before a bunch of maniacs used planes as weapons, i've achieved exactly nothing which to me may be everything, you see i've said this before and i'll state it again, my art is living, these days it's a lost art in a busy age, i am not in competition to work the longest hours or have the busiest schedule, i am using Li Po and the Dude and Ferris Bueller as spiritual guides, there were days in my wayward youth that if you told me i would reach the ripe old age of 45 i would have laughed, partly because i couldn't fathom 45 years and partly cuz i didn't care, now i'm just amazed at how all the things of my youth that i didn't want turned out to be the things i wanted the most, so far i've had a damned good time, probably too good of a time but  dumb luck counts too...

And tomorrow morning i will rise, i will look at my feet and wiggle my toes, i will smile and look out the side window into a field, i may see a deer or a groundhog, Zuko or Pedro will be rubbing against my feet, purring loudly, the I-mac, ever the early riser, will be sitting on the couch gazing out the front window, his hair mussed, he'll get up and give me a hug and then go back to the couch and pull a blanket up over him, i'll pour a cup of coffee, i'll walk back up the stairs and creep into Nick Disaster's room, wiped out from dealing with full days of school for the first time, i'll lay down and kiss his curly mop, he'll grin and pretend like he's sleeping, then Zuko will jump onto the bed and meow and Nick D's grin will get bigger and his eyes will pop open, i'll scramble eggs and butter toast and pack lunches and it will be a morning not unlike others except that it is not like any others, beautifully ordinary and something never, ever to be taken for granted...

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around, you could miss it."  F. Bueller



6 comments:

Jayne said...

So did the song inspire this dispatch. Or the other way around?
Good stuff. All of it.

Kono said...

Jayne- well welcome back to the lounge Madame, the writing always comes first and then i think about a song to post with it, after this got started i was making some mental notes on music and this was one of three at the time but seemed to fit the best, sometimes the song works with the piece better than others, this time it clicked pretty well i guess, other times maybe not so much...

Rassles R. said...

"basically i'm a social misanthrope, or maybe a misanthrope capable of socializing"

This is wonderful. Happy belated.

Jayne said...

It is perfect (and one of my favorite songs by The The), which is what made me wonder about the process. As much as I've enjoyed The Wilderness Years, I'm loving the reflections of an older, wiser and tamer Kono, informed by those impetuous and disorderly days. Tame is not bland or broken (but manageable and freeing, I think, in a good way). Now get yourself an agent.

Kono said...

Jayne- I'd call it a more Zen Kono these days, thinking inwardly so as to see outwardly, and vice versa, cause and effect, a bit of the Hippocratic oath of "do no harm", alas something's can never be tamed... or maybe that's the smoke talking, smirk.

daisyfae said...

Absolute beauty... Happy belated birthday, good sir! You have it figured out... for right now. You know exactly what you are for. That is absolutely as good as it gets.

This post made me laugh (Carol Brady) and cry (your description of A Morning).