Posts Tagged ‘Middle Age’

royalty-free-gamble-clipart-illustration-442188The Armenian Hostage Crisis (Part 3)

Some people take a vacation from their jobs. I took a vacation from my car problems.

Yes I was excited to visit a good friend who had just moved to Miami, a place I’d never explored before and was anxious to see.

But I was just as excited to get away from my Volvo XC90, which hadn’t been operational in 61 days. I also wasn’t going to miss “Papa”, the Armenian mechanic I trusted to install a new engine over two months ago. Today, he’s more like my captor than my mechanic.
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slomo(In my daily pursuit to ignite the second-half of life, I came across this. It’s a 16-minute short film (link below) that’s turned heads at film festivals, and now I know why. If you ponder mid-life questions, you might want to watch. You’ll thank me later.)

For John Kitchin, practicing medicine no longer satisfied him. His Ferrari and his 30-acre ranch, populated with exotic zoo animals, no longer fulfilled him.

He left work each day asking himself: “How much of what I did today promoted me financially? And how much of it promoted me spiritually?”

Over the years, the answer became more and more about promoting himself financially.

It made no sense. He was working to support a lifestyle that didn’t make him happy. So he reset his priorities.

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smoking on bus

The Armenian Hostage Crisis (Part 2)

I’m not now, nor have I ever been, a prima donna.

But, was there a time when Greyhound bus travel was beneath me?

Absofuckinglootly.

Why?

Because (the logic went) bus travel is something poor people do. I’m not poor. Therefore the notion is preposterous.

Well, here I am. It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life.

And I’m on a Greyhound Bus.

I love experiencing new things, but Greyhound bus travel never made my bucket list. However, due to new world realities, here I am. This is a financial decision, plain and simple.

Whenever I hear “Greyhound Bus” I think about the guy who stabbed, killed and then decapitated a total stranger sitting next to him a few years ago.

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Broken_CarPart 1
“God save the queen,” my friend shouts, driving off in his Jaguar, leaving me at the Greyhound Bus station in a rather seedy part of downtown Los Angeles.

Very funny. I get the joke. I won a costume contest 20 years ago dressed as Queen Elizabeth, a fact my Jag-driving friend finds extraordinarily funny, and references frequently.

But there’s a double meaning to his queen quip. He’s known me a long time, since the days when I had some money and spent like I had a lot of money. The days when I wouldn’t have dreamed of going the cheapest route, unless it was also the fastest and sexiest route.

And now, in a very different time and place, he was dropping me off at a Greyhound Bus Terminal. Why? Because it was the cheaper of my two options. It was by no means the sexiest option. In fact, “Greyhound Bus Terminal” and “sexy” may be the most polar opposite concepts known to man.

The reason I’m at this Greyhound station epitomizes my riches-to-rags story . Thank you in advance for allowing me to stretch way beyond the definition of both “riches” and “rags”. I’m trying to illustrate a point here.

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bandaid images
It’s Valentine’s Day.

Bah humbug!!

This is a perfectly fine holiday if you’re in a relationship. But when you’re single, it’s like being Jewish on Christmas. It’s a holiday for other people.

With no disrespect to my Valentine’s Day date tonight (we met very recently), I’m left thinking mainly about my exes today. And of my late partner who died of AIDS in 1998. (I don’t use the term ex when referring to him, it implies a breakup. We were partnered when he died and very much Valentines!)

I propose a supplemental holiday to Valentine’s Day. Call it Ex-Valentine’s Day. Or X-Day, if you happen to be spelling it on a cake.

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IMG_2507“Uncle J, how can you not know where everything is in our kitchen?” my adorable little niece said as I asked, for about the twentieth time, where something was in my sister’s cabinets.

It’s custom in our family that I make a complicated/challenging/gluten-infused dessert on Christmas Eve, often requiring hours of work. My family insists I do this every year, I suspect, in order to keep me out of the living room where I’m bound to offend somebody. Or where I might roll over the dog’s tail in the rocking chair.

For me, I participate in the annual tradition as a test to confirm I can still follow directions.

I’ve made some pretty impressive desserts in my sister’s kitchen, if I do say so. But I’m sorry, little Miss Rememberpants, I don’t recall where your mother stores the food processor. Or the cream of tartar. Or the spring-form pans. Or the brandy. Wait, that’s a lie. I know where she keeps the brandy.

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1531677_1379384392315582_2113765239_nClichés can be so insipid. But there’s one I can’t get out of my head–the one about living every day like it’s your last.

Last Wednesday was Steve Pryseski’s last day. He died at 54 years old. His friends, of which I’m honored to have been one since 1984, called him Pry (that’s him on the right, sitting). Only a few months ago, Pry’s world was normal, proceeding on course. Then came cancer, then an operation, then complications, then more cancer, then death. A wife and daughter suffering with him, by his side watching it happen.

Like so much death I’ve witnessed, Steve’s leaves me just numb and befuddled. His passing reminds me of just how much things have changed–in the world, in my life, and in the way death has evolved for me.

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