Much to be said for a stay-at-home morning, no wheelchair travels Peetsward, a deliberate effort to tune in…with an emphasis on the ‘in.’ Something about the week had dragged me down. Jane’s absence playing no small part. More prominent in my consciousness, the lack of same. Very little time given to reflection, which is always a bad thing for me. A growing sense of irritation when I had to deal with the practicalities of life. All adding up to the feeling at the end of each day that I had done nothing, not added a page to my new book, while the chapters of my life went flicking by. Mocking my lifespan. Failure.
Until this very morning. When it dawned on me, well into the second hour of ‘getting ready to write,’ that this was simply my life. The noisome details…are my life. All of them voluntary, optional and in their own right, and in different dimensions, enjoyable. No, I wasn’t fucking up. I was living.
For example, in between paragraphs – this one and the one preceding it – I noted the arrival in my carport of a certain pickup truck. Maria. Of David and Maria. The team currently remodeling the downstairs flat in this, my apartment house. Did I really have to rush outside to talk to her? Well, I needed help, garden help. Time to turn the cover crop under, this being gardener’s parlance for the next stage of vegetable cultivation. And when one adds things up, that is to say, financial management, property development, gardening, and several other major projects – well this is it, what I do when I am not writing. Or traveling. I didn’t sign-up for this exactly. But I took on these components one by one. Each is enjoyable, satisfying and generally adds to my life. Strange that I couldn’t sort this out until now. As for the sense of being overwhelmed…. Why not? I only have two balls, and I am juggling 10. At least.
Where was I?
Well, I was beginning to read Michael Frayne’s wonderful ‘Skios,’ when the phone rang. The young people in Phoenix who just visited us. They were saying hello. They were also checking in, talking about their lives…in which I have gotten myself involved. Help with job training being the current topic. Did Luis really mean it when he said that talking to me was reassuring? Yes, I think so. And why are they phoning now, just just as I am settling down to my great literary work? Because this is when they have time off. This is their rare opportunity. Welcome to life. Or, in my now comfortable existence, a reminder of life. Which is a gift. A gift with burrs. Like those little thorny seeds that detach themselves from desert weeds to stick in your socks. A reminder.
So we talked, and the clock was ticking, and I had writing to get to…that itself being sandwiched in between a meeting with my computer consultant. Why now? Because tax time approaches. And I have had, to put it mildly, an unusual tax year. My records are in utter disarray. The computer guy is going to sort me. It’s one of those projects, the 10 or more balls ajuggle. And while one doesn’t want to drop the ball, there’s nothing wrong with tossing it to someone else.
So good to send Marlou’s old car to a new home. My niece in Los Angeles. After all, it’s not just an object. But something attached to a person. Marlou researched it, bought it, and it has her life stamped upon it. And another member of the family has it now. Which feels fine. Mission accomplished. One less ball. Which makes one turn one’s attention to the adjacent ball, vis-à-vis, Tom’s car.
I can’t say why it hasn’t been sold already. But it’s just one of those things that needs attention. Maybe it’s good that we haven’t rushed this petrol-burning monster to market. In any case, it has got my attention now…a vehicle that is not connected in my mind to yet another project. The wood shop class at the local high school. I have already given them a donation in Tom’s name. Maybe I should put money from the sale of his car in a special fund, just in case the high school shop needs more money. Why would I do this, and why would it matter? Better check out the tax implications. Talk to the financial advisor.
Which reminds me. Tom’s car. I was going to sell it. Fact is, I have been trying to sell it for months. Five months? No, six months. I have run afoul of details. Sending the Department of Motor Vehicles a check from an expired bank account being the worst faux pas. The recovery from which involved a chain of additional details, including a cashier’s check. But never mind. We are beyond that now. My neighbor is poised to sell it. All mercantile systems are go. Except for one unpleasant fact. Insurance. The stupid car is not insured. What am I supposed to do?
Call the auto club, of course. They are the guys who insure my old van. Marlou’s car. And now that I think about it, both of these cars are gone. Maybe not the most efficient use of insurance resources, when one considers the absence of both vehicles supposedly being protected from collision, theft, and God knows what else. Not to worry, for this is easily remedied by a quick call. Isn’t it? Well, there’s a little problem. My auto club card…. Well it seems the thing is inside Marlou’s car, now in Los Angeles. A 400 mile gap being a significant barrier under the best of circumstances…. But damned if there isn’t a little piece of cardboard, battered, dogeared and nearing the natural end if its paper life…still it contains my insurance account number, along with a vague promise to represent me should the need arise. It has arisen now, and I call them.
Dazzling. Most incredible, I even have an old invoice from Tom himself. State Farm Insurance once protected this 2006 Ford Mustang. And look at that, the official state of California Vehicle Identification Number. I rattle it off to an auto club woman on the phone. Voilà. The Mustang is now insured. Just in time for the computer guy to arrive and start me down another track. This particular track leads towards getting the printer hooked up. Which, it turns out, cannot be done.
The only thing that can be done under this particular circumstance is to pull the activity plug. No more stuff. I’m going back to Michael Frayne.