Bright On the Water Tonight

In 2022, my life changed a lot. I retired from the unnamed university in the late spring after 35 years, the last few of which were torturous. The library system was in the clutches of a malignant narcissist and control freak, and finally, I couldn’t stand being an object any longer. I flounced off to my home and stayed there all summer, jarring peaches.

Retiring – no matter what anyone says – takes some fucking practice. Because I’d worked two, three and at one awful point four jobs most of my adult life, having free time feels like an elevator in freefall. The idea that I can just sit quietly and not berate myself for doing nothing is new, even now. Last spring, I started taking long walks around the tiny town, and almost right away realized I saw things I’d never noticed before each time I put on my sneakers. Near my house, a wisteria plant has eaten a garage. Fifteen years ago, this garage was in use. Now, no one who isn’t a lumberjack is getting inside that door. Behind me, as I took this picture, the wisteria is climbing an oak tree. One day it will interfere with Newark Airport’s flight path, and no one is going to stop it.

The other day, I woke up to a feline-based poopsplosion on two floors and because I am retired, I had time to mop. Then I had time to consider whether I’d missed spots. I then had time to advise Pete to change his socks and mop a second time. My house smelled like lemon-scented cleanliness and not pot roast and farts, like your house – unless you’re a vegetarian, in which case your house smells like kidney beans and farts. It’s December! Everyone’s house smells farty, but in any case, for a brief, shining moment, my house smelled lemony.

With Twitter descending into unmoderated Hell, I’ve joined a bunch o’ different social media sites, though I’ll probably narrow it down to one or two soon. Too much words! Too many talk! One site I can’t figure out at all. Anyhoo, the idea of writing again is one I had not considered until a couple months ago, and it seemed like if I’m going to do that, I should start here. Who am I anymore? Who is even talking? I both know and don’t know. Maybe we’ll find out at the same time.

In Me You Will Find

Well, hello there. I remember you.

The Lovely Georg, first of her name, practical joker and fiber artist beyond compare, sent yarn for the ongoing cat blanket project, promising they would be immune from the predation of porch pirates. She would explain nothing more. I asked if she’d mailed me a live skunk, but no answers were forthcoming. A few days later, I was standing on my front porch when a letter carriers appeared in a torrential downpour carrying two enormous wee wee pad boxes and knew immediately they weren’t full of pads. For one thing, I don’t have a dog. For another, the letter carrier did not struggle with the weight of the boxes. When I quit guffawing, I explained why those boxes had arrived at this destination. He was a pretty good sport about the whole affair.

I’m not going to claim to know you, but I may know two or three things about you. The pandemic changed everything for me. It changed me. We can talk about this later, but I will say I no longer have a moment to offer people who waste my time. Life is very goddamn short. Grab your purse, fellas. We’ve got places to go.