A Trusted Advisor

People tell me things. I find this to be strange, as my perception is that I rarely shut up long enough for the other person to get a word in edgewise. Yet hardly a day goes by that someone or other isn’t telling me some kind of secret, unsolicited.

Maybe I’m really a bartender, and just haven’t learned to accept it — possibly because I don’t drink alcohol.

Recently, a very young woman who works at our company cafe told me that she doesn’t understand guys at all, and wishes she could find one who actually saw her, and heard her, and liked-her-as-her, not for what they hoped they could get from her.

I told her that there are indeed guys like that out there.

Where? she asked.

The fact that I get a biscuit and a Coke Zero five mornings a week has apparently qualified me as a relationship counselor, so I gave her the most Dad-like advice I could think of, namely:

“Find activities you like to do with other people, both men and women, and where you aren’t there primarily for the purpose of meeting anyone. If you meet someone, great; if not, you should be able to have fun anyway.”

She said that was actually do-able, so she’d try it and let me know how it went. Then she gave me my biscuit for free.

Okay, I made up that last part.

I am not quite sure why it is people trust me; I don’t trust me, and I’ve known me quite a while. Maybe people mistake my predictability for reliability; getting the same breakfast every day isn’t the most accurate indicator of emotional stability, however.

I am sixty years old, so I would say there’s a grandfather thing going on, but truthfully, things have been like this since I was about sixteen years old. Choosing me as a confidant has never seemed like the wisest choice, to me; but people did it, do it, and will seemingly keep doing it, so, there you go.


Currently, I’ve driven a ways out of town to some farmland to watch the sun set. Sundays, I will often go out for drives in the country; it’s lovely around here, and particularly in the fall.

Thinking about what I wrote, above, I realize: I tell all of you who read this blog my secrets, it’s only fair that people in real life tell me theirs.

It’s some kind of balance.


Waiting Room

I’m sitting in a waiting room
And choose to write this verse;
The snow is blowing hard outside
The wind keeps getting worse —

Winter once was magical
With castles made of snow;
But now the world is blank, and I
Can’t see which way to go —

The wait is over, and my child
Is here, so we depart;
We speak of senseless nothings as
We head into the heart

Of this relentless blizzard
Where we’re greeted by a blast:
Just two more people cold and lost
In problems
Way too
Vast


(“Waiting Room” – 1-26-2015)

Elizabeth

At just eighteen, her shoulders start to droop:
The drudgery of sub shop artistry’s
Been rubbing off some of her natural shine,
But hasn’t punctured all her buoyancy.

I look, and wonder, at her haunted eyes,
The father in me, I guess, coming out
In wanting to be kind to her, some way:
Some type of gentle affirmation. Sure
As night turns into day, time into time,
We gain connections we might make, or not,
And feelings, deep as any we might find,
O’er people barely known, and who don’t know
We’ve ever given them ten seconds thought.
Or even who may not connect with us,
And to whom we may be as furniture:
Mere objects they pass by, no more, no less.

Elizabeth’s her name (she wears a tag)
I cannot dawdle, for the line is long,
And sometimes all that we can really do
For anyone is not to make it worse.

I take my sandwich, pay my bill and go,
I may see her again, or maybe not.

But if good feelings could build paradise,
She would be on the beach, and not back here.
And I would not be with her, but I’d be
The owner of more kindness agency.

Photo credit : ID 35550926 © Brett Critchley | Dreamstime.com  under an editorial license

poorhouse

I cannot say I understood how bad things were,
 and yet, I knew the look that came into her eyes
 when she would say the word: "poorhouse" --
 an abject horror, and a dread, of what had been, 
 and might yet be. This was her truth:
 and nothing mortals say or do, or ever said,
 or ever did, can take away the fear she knew, 
 and knows, and goes to bed at night with, 
 there in the nursing home, alone 
 wondering, when she wakes in the dark if she 
 is somehow way back there

Life Happens, and then Suddenly It Doesn’t

There is a 'before' and an 'after' 
 that we forget about 'during' -- 
 but every calendar carries colors that change, 
 not with the seasons or weeks,  
 or even days, or hours, 
 but with moments -- 

And we cannot find a 'why', 
 we just know the 'when', 
 and we reach for something 
 invisible, and beyond, and within, 
 and we reach uselessly, uselessly 
 into the multicolored dawn -- 
 beautiful, and indifferent.

Because life happens, and then
 suddenly, it doesn't: