Junk overran my car this week. Piles of opened mail, abandoned sweaters and scarves, a broken walking stick, and empty water bottles shift to the floor if I have to make a sudden stop. My schedule denies me the time I need to address this issue but it haunts me, piling on guilt like the extra ten pounds around my waist for which I cannot blame the pandemic. I’ve just eaten too much and the fat has inched itself back into my life like the rubble in the RAV4. Neither has yet reached critical mass but I’ve got to take control, and soon.
The last two days have challenged me as I have not felt for months, maybe years. Alone in the back office of the firm where I work, I’ve waded through files with someone else’s bar number scattered through pages which I have indexed. As a lawyer, an attorney, but without a California license, I serve as combination glorified legal assistant and voice of experience at least on the fringes of an area of law that I never practiced back home. Occasionally my skills flash and I do something that I know, without a shred of uncertainty, rises to the level of my capabilities. Most days, I just do what I can to not disgrace myself. But with the “real” lawyer out of town, I’m slogging through tasks as quickly as I can to keep the boat afloat.
Looming ahead this coming weekend, an event two years dormant challenges my organizational skills. On Saturday, swarms (we hope) of tiny house aficionados descend upon the community where I live. My house must be clean by dawn; and all of the bits and bobs of presentation that I’ve scheduled must coalesce into an informative, engaging experience. Signs must be completed and posted; models parked; banners raised. I’m already tired.
It’s a life, I suppose. For all of the commotion; despite the many emails and the frequent texts; I spend most of my time alone. The fan whirrs in the upper loft and another in the bathroom. Occasionally I hear the windchimes through the open window in the sitting room. Otherwise only the constant noise in my ears provides any sort of company. I admit to being rather lonely, considering how busy I actually am. Most of the time, I shuffle about in a cloud of gloom. I question whether I bargained well, trading my law practice, my 1400 square foot airplane bungalow, my art space, and a city of cohorts for a tiny life 90 miles inland from the Pacific.
But every little once in a while, I get the money shot. I stop on the levee road at exactly the right moment. I lower the window with sufficient care. I raise my camera; and even though the hawk which I want to photograph senses my presence and lifts himself from the wire, I get him. Then I see a car approaching in the rear view mirror, and I slip my foot from the brake. I continue home, suddenly smiling, suddenly sure.
It’s the seventh day of the ninety-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.