Wednesday, November 18, 2009

parallel

I knew that I had gotten down here later than I wanted when I pulled up across from the beach and there was only one spot left along the curb. That can only mean one thing….parallel parking… not the most enjoyable start to a morning. I handled it quite well this morning thank you. The second clue to my later than desired start was the amount of faces staring out at me from inside the spacious and usually vacant windows. There was a line at the counter and upon finally getting my usual morning kick and turning around I discovered that my usual allotment of chairs were being occupied. Actually I handled all of it quite well, which might be a surprise to those who know me well.
I attribute it to the parking. That might seem odd to those of you who don’t live somewhere that you park sideways more than you park front ways or back ways or long ways or short ways. Some of you haven’t had to park sideways, parallel wise, since your driving test. I envy you sometimes…more now that I have smog belching, fossil fuel consuming, road rage inducing, ozone depleting SUV. Now I have to measure my parking requirements in yards rather than feet and when I can find one, it usually takes the same touch as docking a space shuttle trying to coax my beast into line. Depending on the day, I may be either in the “when at first you don’t succeed” kind of mood or the “shut up and drive away” mindset. Either way, my parking can mirror how my day is going.
This morning, as I’m waiting for my drink, and searching for a seat, and wireless, and headphones, and isolation amidst a sea of retiree’s I can take heart because I mastered the parallel… in one take. Now if I can just apply the same skills inside as I did outside I’ll be alright today. Successful parking is a dance of multitasking. You have to reference yourself around the other vehicles. You have to watch mirrors and curbs and bumpers and pedestrians and dogs, landscaping and an occasional mailbox. You have to guide yourself from a position of being parallel to other travelers to one that is in line with everyone else on the block. The type of vehicle in front and behind you don’t matter. All that should concern you is whether or not your vehicle will fit into the space you are trying to fit it into.
Why people attempt to shove themselves into spots that they have no business in is beyond me. In my opinion, their problem is not skill. It’s an issue of denial. Occasionally I’ll watch someone in their attempt while thinking “you have no business trying to put yourself in there”. Sometimes I am the one. Do you know people like that? People with no reference points and very large bumpers. Some have seemingly no awareness of their surroundings, and worse yet, no regard. I guess that might be why my parking attempts can seem to mirror how my day is going. It’s all too familiar in this living metaphor.
In the end though, what we all need is a place to park. Don’t be fooled into thinking that one size fits all, or that you’ll just make your own with your own efforts or denial. There is one spot… and it was made for you. It might be as easy as pulling into a full size spot with a compact car, but for others, not so much. We might drive around a bit. We might even have to make an opposite side attempt on a one way street, but it’s there for you. We are all created for a spot and a spot is created for us.

Monday, November 02, 2009

leaves

It’s been rumored to be the case for awhile now. I’ve known it and certainly my muscles have known it, but the arrival of a beautiful baby girl has confirmed it. I’m old. I’m a grandpa. Lillian Joy was born 9 days ago as a permanent antidote to denial. I decided that I needed to come down this morning to attempt a readjustment. My chair feels good. The sunlit snowy mountains are amazing in their reflection on the water. The air is cold and so is the fireplace. You can’t have it all I guess. It’s been a crazy month.
We began the month with the adoption of a rambunctious kitten named Lucy who has taken it upon herself to entertain us and make a valiant attempt at living in the memory of a household legend named Sassy. In addition to all of the extra time and focus that goes with my graduate work, I have to make my 8 day pilgrimage to Portland for face to face classes. Two days after returning, Lillian Joy made her appearance which meant that we had our grand puppy Oliver while everyone got to adjust to a new baby. And thus began the week long dance between Lucy and Oliver to negotiate a balance between dog and cat and whom is chasing whom. Add in a life as a pastoral artist with an active community o’ faith and some Halloween fun and I have no idea how 30 days can go by like a Facebook update. I’m exhausted.
So now it’s November and I have a determination to put the brakes on. Although it’s a bit like Fred and Barney trying to stop the Flintstone mobile; I hope my fee hold out. We’ve had some fairly windy days lately and I’ve been watching from my living room window the leaves, all aflame in reds and yellows, trying desperately to cling to their branches for just a few more days. I’m cheering them on. The bare branches that lie underneath are a stark reminder of the winter approaching. The longer the leaves hold on, the more enjoyable the color. Once they lose their grip, they are at the mercy of the breeze and then all bets are off. Today the winds are calm and they have hope for one more day of peace.
Right now, as November begins, the winds are calm for us, and we’re holding on for one more day of peace and enjoyment of the season. It’s not simply the seasons passing quickly that get to me. Seasons represent years and years add gray to my hair. I’d like to slow down enough to accumulate memories along the way. Some days go by so quickly that even a digital camera couldn’t capture them. This begins the season of “Baby’s first everything” and I plan on being alert and attached. I’m just praying for calm winds.