Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Lameness Knows No Bounds...

Music Right Now:

The Waco Brothers

So, with some intentions of going to the Wings/Bruins game last night, Astroman and I made it down to Honest? John's for a sandwich and some beers, but we never made it to the game. I wish I could say that it was because our plans were sidelined by a wild adventure, but the truth is, we're getting old and lame.

Sidebar: Honest? John'sis probably my favorite bar in the city. It's a simple straightforward bar with great food in a not-too-wonderful neighborhood. John is always there, with a hello and a smartass comment, and he's always patrolling the street around the bar, keeping an eye on his patrons and their cars. It's a bar that TFN and have given the affectionate and honorable nickname of "The Winchester," and those of you who've seen the movie that bar is from understand the significance: it's a tried and true favorite that we somehow always end up at, and it's on the top of our list no matter how many times we been there. When the world is coming to an end, if I can't be in a cafe in Tuscany, hopefully I'll be sitting in a booth at Honest? John's drinking cold Ghettoblasters and eating their (awesome) chicken and waffles.

So, anyway, we had a few beers, and by that time, the game was well underway. We discussed the possibility of catching a band somewhere, and instead came back to my house to watch some of the debate. After that, we went downtown to grab one more drink. After walking out of several bars that were too crowded (crowded was not on our agenda for the evening), we ended up at my favorite Cajun place, where I ordered a bottle of wine, drank a glass and a half, and had it recorked to go (smartest liquor law this state has ever made!). Then I was home and asleep by two AM. That was guy's night out.

Lame. But fun.

This morning was CSA day, where we go to the farmer's market in Ann Arbor and pick up the produce from our CSA membership. It's a fun tradition for TFN and I, a ritual which involves bloody marys and brunch at little French bistro too, but TFN is on a business trip this weekend, so I was flying solo.

My first stop was to go to the bank.

I hate going to the bank, and I hate going to the post office. Those are two places I really hate going to. Because of this, I do all my banking via ATMs and/or online. Except when it comes to expense checks from TFN's employer.

You see, our bank went "state of the art" with their ATMs, creating an ATM that doesn't use envelopes. When you are depositing money in the ATM, you feed the bills or checks into the machine, and it scans them. It can apparently scan 99% of all checks, with TFN's expense reimbursements one of the checks it can't read. So they need to be manually deposited.

This requires banking on a Saturday usually, Saturday being the only day we can get to the bank. It requires going in the lobby, filling out a slip and standing in line. There were two people in front of me, and only one teller working. One person made a deposit, and the second didn't know what the hell she was doing. She stood there for 10 minutes exploring options about how to take money out to give to someone else, getting very distraught and confused before settling on a cashier's check. I got impatient and frustrated. Then I finally deposited the check and went on my way.

Shaking my head and mumbling about how people need to learn about things like how to complete a basic financial transaction in a timely fashion, I got ready to pull out of the bank parking lot, when I saw a Ghost Bike chained to a sign. For those who haven't seen a Ghost Bike or don't know what they are, they are a cyclist's version of those roadside altars. A Ghost Bike is a bike painted completely white and locked to a sign in memory of a cyclist who was hit or killed on the street. They are also meant as reminder to cars to watch for cyclists, and a quiet statement about the rights of cyclists to be on the road.

It was a sobering sight, the sort of thing that told me to knock it off. It was the sort of sight that reminded me that if the worst thing that I had to deal with was standing in line while some woman figured out what way she wanted to withdraw money for a few minutes, I had it pretty good. It even got me thinking about her; why was she in that position? Why was she, probably in her 50s, unaware of what a cashier's check was? Maybe her husband always took care of the finances? Where was he? Maybe he passed away. Maybe he left her. The white bike had me silently hoping that everything would be OK for this woman who was in front of me in line at the bank.

This white bike had me smiling to myself when I stood in line forever at the coffeeshop because the old couple in front of me were regulars, chatting with the staff about families and stuff. I was quietly happy to myself that this old couple had what seemed like a daily ritual at the coffeeshop, and didn't make me impatient as I waited for my coffee while they caught up with the girls behind the counter.

I try to not be a sour person when I'm inconvenienced. I don't want to be a pushover, but I understand that shit happens, and I'm willing to go with the flow whenever it's really no big deal, or even when it is a big deal but isn't anybody's fault.

It's just that sometimes I need a reminder to remember how fortunate I am.

Unfortunately, today that reminder was in the form of a monument to a cyclist who'd been struck down.


One morning, TFN and I went to brunch at a local creperie. While we were there, a shuttle from a local retirement home came in as well, with about 20 seniors from the home, who came for brunch as well. At one table sat two old sourpuss ladies, who scowled and frowned and rarely said anything unless they found something to complain about - food, weather, other people, anything.

At another table sat two old guys, who were smiling and laughing and joking. The creases in their faces were just as deep as the ones on the ladies, but where the ladies carried their creases in the form of frownlines, the men had deep laughlines around their eyes.

They were probably about the same age as the two women, but they looked 20 years younger. Their backs were just as bowed, but they still had a spring in their step.

That's the old person I want to be. I want to be happy and easygoing no matter what life throws at me.

The hardest part of it all is remembering that this is the person I want to be. It sometimes takes a reminder.

TFN will be home in a few hours. That gives me just enough time to drink a leftover glass of wine from last night's wild adventures, catch a short nap, and straighten up.

I hope everyone's weekend is going swimmingly, and I hope you all take a moment today to remember one thing that makes you lucky.


Angeline Rose Larimer said...

Knowing you makes me lucky.

This was beautiful.
Of course, I'm the sort who walks through a nursing home and thinks, 'you were probably an asshole when you were young, so why should I feel sorry for you now?' but I'm working on that. I wanna be a happy old person, too.
Saw a flood of them the other day, while we went into a diner with Pickles for a soda and hamburger.
She returned goofy faces to an old man in the opposite booth and I felt trapped inside another time, wishing it was fifty years before, when times were kinder, or so I tell myself.
Freedom is never ever being annoyed by anything.
I long for that.
But I'm giving myself another fifty years to achieve it.

Very sad about the cyclist.
Take care of yourself out there!

fineartist said...

I try to live by who it is I want to be, too, I'm not always successful either, and yep those serious reminders thump me between the nose and ears every so often, making me realize that I'm making myself what I don't love...again.

We do the best we can, always striving to do better.

I think you are not in the least bit lame, I think you are awesomeous! And this piece was an extremely good read!

But dude, chicken and waffles?