Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Let's Not Be Hasty

There’s a Sedano’s, a CVS, and a coin laundry walking distance from the Treehouse.  I haven’t lived here long, so I’m still developing a routine.  My grocery shopping was sporadic and bacheloresque.  Eggs, juice, and frozen pizza at Target when I bought a shower curtain.  Apples, eggs, and bread when I helped a friend throw a barbecue.  A Swiss cheese platter at Fritz & Franz kept me in grilled cheese and omelette de fromage for two weeks.  I ate a lot of eggs for breakfast and a lot of salads at The Rubber Duck for lunch.

I finally shopped, lugging a cartful of groceries six blocks in one of those big blue bags from Ikea.  I switched arms often, but I think they still stretched a good two inches each.   This is the last thing I need.   It’s not height giving me my impressive reach, it’s my simian arms.  I once beat the captain of our high school basketball team in a tip off, and I have no vertical leap.  None.  Another few months of lugging groceries, and I’ll look like I’m walking with ski poles.

Thankfully, my bike is fixed now.  I can shop every few days.   I’m down to one plastic bag too many.  My next trip, I hope to fill my backpack precisely and not need to worry about beating my groceries to death with my knees on the ride home.

While procrastinating getting my bike fixed (or rather, procrastinating asking someone with the means of transporting my bike to the shop for help), I stopped getting rides into Books & Books from co-workers. I decided to walk instead.

Coral Gables calls itself The City Beautiful, and it is.  There’s so much foliage around my house, the air feels thick with oxygen.  The sun shining down from Miami’s blue skies, banyan trees shading my path, I feel very European, going for long, rambling walks among the greenery.  It's easy to smile surrounded by all this beauty.

My internal dial has adjusted itself to a slower pace.  Cars move at improbable speeds.  TV ads and sitcom dialog sound ridiculous.  I can’t bring anything into my home, dirty any dish, wear any shirt, without thinking of the consequences.

My hope is that I’ll continue to live life more deliberately.  I want to consider my words, and my relationships.   One of my problems has always been saying the first fool thing which comes to my mind.   I’d love to take a breath before speaking.  I’ve been giving my time to people I normally wouldn’t, opening myself to new experiences.  I’ve rediscovered one of the talents I had as a younger man, which is listening without thinking of what to say next (the trick is not to be so afraid of silence).

The questions we need to answer about why we’re here, what we’re supposed to do, and what does it all mean, along with searching for the joy and the lessons in any given moment; lately, I seem to have more time for all of that.  Which is ridiculous, since my days are fuller than they’ve ever been.  Must be just perspective.

People marvel that I don’t own a car in a city with terrible public transportation.  If I did, I’d crank the music up and joyously sing along, but my exercise and meditation time would be lost.  My grasp of the present would fade.  I’d go back to drifting through life, instead of living it.  Not gonna happen.

According to Paul Auster, I’m already there in my chosen mode of transportation.  He compared trying to make a living through writing to watching people zoom past in their SUVs and saying, “Yes, I see those cars and that's great… but I’m going to stick with my bike.”

Me, too, Paul.


  1. Hullo AJC,

    Jings, Life the universe and everything. Exercise, cycling and recycyling, all from the perspective of a man walking tall with head held high under a canopy of green leaves and blue skies, thankful for both a full life schedule and yet still with the time to do all that reflecting and sorrowful for those that cant.

    OK buster, enough - you're not fooling anyone! What have you done with whiney AJC? Tell us right now or I'm calling the cops........

    Do that and I'll resist telling you the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42.

    Nice post, been a while.


  2. I probably could have tagged this as whining for the ape arms comment.

    Sorry for the gap - it was a great Thanksgiving, though!