No Blanche Dubois Here

Nodding in the general direction of Tennessee Williams, I’ve always depended on the kindness of friends. Strangers are good, too, but the intimacy of long friendships gives me some solace. These impromptu lunches and coffees are keeping me in the outside world, while my inside world stays confused.

The freelance (read that: Content provider) market has become overloaded with English majors and people who just retain sentence structure from somewhere, although nothing exciting. Technical, press releases, blogging anonymously for various sites: This was a fall-back position for me, when I couldn’t find something solid and parttime that paid well and gave me the flexibility that drives all this uncertainty, but it’s saturated and a young world, anyway.

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Family caregivers know all about this, and I’ve spoken of this often, but I started working at home, in this house, 13 months before my son was born. He’s never known a dad who wasn’t there, usually in the next room, comfort by proximity. And in this phase of his life, he needs a proactive parent, along with a chauffer to his various appointments. Eyeing poorly paid but solid positions in fields I could probably find a job would mean several hours of commuting as well as landing in cubicle land.

The social aspect of that is a plus, at least. But I have trouble picturing how it work. In the summer, sure; JK is not teaching and I could pull that off.

In the meantime, I’m supported by people who may or may not have trouble grasping my peculiar life situation, while I try to brush up on all my MS Office Suite skills (when’s the last time I used Power Point, other than to mess around? Probably that would be never), along with possibly coming up to reasonable skill on SQL database management, something I barely understood a decade ago but seems a useful skill.

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In the meantime, I’m still working on producing my audio book, which I’m pleased with but done here in my makeshift recording studio, which involves a lot of noise-absorbing quilts (thanks to my wife’s relatives) and trying to trick my brain into reading the words on the page, and not rewriting as I speak. Then there’s the sound quality, which is fine for me but interrupted by the planes that nearly brush my roof as they land at Paine Field, a mile away. Sunshine and longer days means private pilots are taking advantage, and a plane (and leafblowers and string trimmers and even the lawnmowers) make clean sound a challenge. It’s taking a while (I had to restart, noticing distortion only after I’d recorded half the book), and I have no idea how many listen to audio books, but I’m up to the job. It’s just the plane, boss.

I’ve not been successful in getting word-of-mouth publicity, but then there are lots of books and not that much time, and sharing a post and writing a blurb sometimes takes more effort when you’re just checking in. No hard feelings. Many nice reviews have come in, for which I’m grateful.

In the meantime, I rewrite resumes, trying to capture an adult life of minimal entrepreneurship and self employment. Three companies I actually worked for — thus establishing a record and recommendations — are defunct, closed, boarded up, at least for the most part. My history has been erased by market forces.

So my friends save me. They offer suggestions, they buy me lunch, they comfort me in a time in which I fight back a growing awareness that spontaneous decisions made for the purpose of earning a few bucks has left me out of the networking loop, and at my age…it’s a bit ugly, but not hopeless. No point in regretting the past, since I seem to be unable to change the past and unwilling to spend the time trying.

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But there’s sunshine, and I attended a wedding on Saturday between two young-ish (I have no skill with ages, but they seem like young adults) women who started attending our church a while back. I was absent during a solid year from church, needing Sunday mornings for work stuff, but I’ve grown to appreciate them from a distance and they invited the whole church, along with families. Plus food and dancing.

I refuse to dance, thinking it unbecoming of the aging male unless he’s really into ballroom classes (Richard Gere, J.Lo, Susan Sarandon: I should watch that again, just for the fun and growth that comes by just learning how to tango).

SHALL WE DANCE?, Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere, 2004, (c) Miramax
SHALL WE DANCE?, Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere, 2004, (c) Miramax

But we danced, my wife and I, as hesitant as I was, and discovered a little joy in movement together. The music was fun, the atmosphere lively, and I can twinkle-toes from time to time. It has to be the right song.

Joy, once again. Find it, embrace it, dance to it. Encourage your friends to friend you, and take up their invitations. Search for answers. Try to get the words to start coming again, and ponder how stressful it would or would not be to be a shuttle driver somewhere (I can drive, and the pay is probably dismal, but the socialization aspects are intriguing). But there’s something else that might need SQL.

In the meantime, back to the recording, back outside to walk in the sunshine, cut back the morning glory, run the lawnmower over my well-trimmed grass, maybe dig out a few more flowerbeds…I’m not retired, can’t, won’t, don’t see the point, can’t afford it, but it’s fun to pretend some days.

And all shall be well, as my wife says, and I trust my wife. I might amend that to say, “Some things shall be well,” but I suspect she’s right all along.

There was a strange run of random memories yesterday that led me to wonder whatever happened to David Hartman, the former actor and then original host of “Good Morning, America,” who served in that role as a steady, calming baritone presence. He quit after a decade or so, and he either died or retired or did something else, so I googled and found his Wikipedia page on a whim.

On the day of his 80th birthday, as it turned out. Strange. I have no idea. Just a weird coincidence, but the universe is expanding and maybe I’m picking up that vibe.

That, and the affirmation I’ve gotten from the few book readers and those who’ve had peeks at Winning Dad make me wonder if the universe is just being playful, of which I approve, and about which I think, all shall be well and am starting to believe.

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1 Comment

  1. Everything almost always works out. Right? I just told my sister that tonight and I do believe it’s true. And what doesn’t work out . . . well, what can you do? Fret ahead of time but that’s such a bummer and doesn’t change the outcome. (And you’re lucky because you have friends to cheer you up and a wife who is steady and awesome. But you already knew that.)

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