“You know, Psyk, we’ve known each other a long time now, and…”
Well, slap me in the face with a week-old halibut and call me ‘Richard’: here comes one of THOSE phrases; the first half of a sentence that NEVER ends good when the second part of the sentence comes bounding out of the ‘Old Friend’s” cock holster… “We’ve known each other a long time now” is a phrase second only to “Honey- we need to talk…” in the Great Wheel of Life Changing, Unexpectedly Devastating News… or, it could be that the ‘Old Friend’ is revving up an earnest, poignant, and highly manipulative story designed to bring you to such an emotional crescendo that you would positively JUMP at the HONOR of helping them move house, in which case you break out a baseball bat and use it to erase the name of the “Old Friend” from your Christmas Cards list.
Let’s go down the Rabbit hole on this particular encounter:
The Old Friend who claims that “we’ve known each other a long time now” is wrong; we knew each other a long time ago. It’s been about four decades since we last spoke to each other. After that, life intervened. Marriage, Birth, Death, Sickness, Health, Great Successes and Plagues of Locust…
At the time we knew each other, we were young, beautiful, stupid and invincible. Now, we are a lot closer to the Brick Wall at The End of The Great Road of Life, and some of us have lead feet and poorly maintained brakes.
The fact is that, of late, I have been feeling that life has become a huge FORCE propelling me forward against my will, like a wave that will travel hundreds of thousands of miles, so it can eventually break against the unyielding terra with enough volatile fury to annihilate millions of people.
I’m in no position to help anyone. I can’t even help myself. The list of things I cannot control grows like a tropical skin disease: the political future of the nation, whether the cats will be eating any of the food we bought for them or will they be irritating little balls of fur who have gotten together and decided that it was “Screw With The Humans’ Minds Day”, my son-in-law’s car problems, my daughter trying to change schools to finish her degree, the ever-evolving state of my body hair…
In fact, just what IS happening with this bag of skin I’ve been trapped in???
As to the things in my life I actually CAN control?
I have a list. It’s a GREAT list, if I do say so myself. I took the time to write the list down, in longhand, with a pen that was given to my Grandfather after he put in 25 years at his place of employment. Yep, the List of Things I CAN Control is a great list…I wrote it on a torn piece of a very small envelope…
And so the question is asked and, fortunately, it is not a life-changing request, but it will STILL require me to put on pants: I am apparently last on his list of people to call if he needs to be picked up at the airport. That’s right. Picked up at the airport.
Keep in mind: this list included HIS WIFE, as well as both of his daughters and his son, I imagine he was down to asking the garbage man, the old spinster down the street, and the guy who occasionally decides to ‘direct traffic’ in front of his house.
Still, I said yes, I would help. I almost always do. Like being caught up by a force you cannot control, I am almost physically incapable of turning down someone who legitimately needs my help, and if I am able to help, I react immediately to do so.
Besides, even though we haven’t seen each other since Reagan was elected President of the United States, we are both caught up in the tide, caught up in a force we cannot control, propelling us forward without even asking our opinion or permission.
We are, however, heading in the same direction.
Might as well help each other paddle.