Only the strong are going to survive this blog entry. Here goes.
As things happen so often in life, the kaffeeklatsch turned out differently than I anticipated. You just cannot plan anything. There were no widows there to look me over. Several couples came. There were two unattached ladies in attendance, but they were not there to look me over. Rather, they were extremely nice people who wanted to make my acqaintance. I enjoyed a pleasant chat (the term “kaffeeklatch” fit perfectly, John) of about an hour to an hour and a half. They fed me scrambled eggs mixed with ground sausage in a wrap with various topings—guacamole, salsa, sour cream, the usual suspects.
I did not sunburn anyone with my warm personality. I did not blind anyone with the gleam of my teeth. I just could not pull the trigger. I think perhaps my case of testosterone poisoning is finally subsiding. I did do a hair trick for old times sake though. I went in with it tied back. And after about a half hour, I pretended that something about it was bothering me and pulled the tie out. I lifted my chin and shook the hair out onto my shoulders. There were two or three audible female gasps, I swear. What I call “jouissance gasps.” But that was that.
Afterward, Jack and Lois gave me some huge onions, 1015 onions they called them, that they had gleaned out of an onion field nearby after the harvest.
All of that is much more important than it seems though. There is more here than meets the eye. These people, as I keep saying, are wonderful. The essence of the place itself is easy living. The showers are great, the electricity reliable. The monthly price is right. Oleander Acres is seductive.
Alternatively, the truck and camper are now insured with Mexican insurance. My passport is in order. I have my Mexican Temporary Import Permit for the vehicles as I said before. All I need to do on Tuesday is roll across the bridge first thing in the morning, stop for my tourist visa, and head south. 'Til the train runs out of track.
Or do I want to stay another month at Oleander Acres? Or another two months? And then go to Mexico? Or not go to Mexico at all?
There is more to those questions than meets the eye because, my friends and family, that choice has everything to do with what this trip is about. And I am at the point where I need to talk about what this trip is really about. The only people in attendance here are family and the few friends that I have not had to jettison out of a sheer effort at self-preservation. I have done my best to see that this blog is not searchable. I have only invited people here. Oh, there may be two or three that I don't know, but they seem like friendly sorts, and they have not made it this far into this blog entry anyway.
My point is, with whom am I going to talk about this if not with y'all? And I am the solipsist around here after all. However, this is not group therapy. Do not send me emails about this. I am telling you something. I am not asking you anything.
Up to this day of epiphany, this trip was about the exercise of my freedom. To review the bidding in those early entries, the idea was that I had not chosen to be alone. Being alone had been thrust upon me. Instead of getting stuck in grief over all that, I determined to find the upside, and the upside was freedom. I had no significant other; I was square with the I.R.S; my child support has been paid up for years. I did not own any real estate. On and on and on.
You see where I was? Totally free. And so, I determined to play the hand that had been dealt me for all it was worth.
Even the hair is part of all that. I turned twenty-one in 1968. Unlike young people, to me long hair is a potent symbol of freedom. A buzz cut is an extremely potent symbol of servitude or incarceration. Hence, my last haircut was in November 2007, the same month that the Decree was entered dissolving my marriage. But it does not exemplify any mourning or memorial or anything of that sort. It exemplifies freedom.
I also thought that the end of my law practice and this trip was all about that same freedom and the enjoying of it—actually, the wallowing in it. But no, it is about much more than that. I will tell you how I figured it out today.
I tried to make one of my walking video tours of Oleander Acres today, and the editing of it was giving me fits. So I walked away from that awhile and pulled the bicycle out of the back of the truck. Jack and Lois told me about a trail just up the road and I rode about a mile and a half on that trail through the cactus and scrub until I had a flat. It was the back tire. It is always the back tire. That is a rule. And I had left my spare tube back in the pickup. So I walked back carrying the bike. Instead of a long bike ride, it turned out to be a walk with some resistance.
While I was walking, something I myself had said in that video really started to bother me. I had mouthed off about old people in exactly the same way as I had mouthed off about those motorcycle hobbyists in Luckenbach in the video tour I did there, and that after old people had treated me so kindly during the morning for chrissakes.
I have done a lot of thinking about this, and here is what I have concluded. I am having some great difficulty dealing with getting old. I do not have that haunting fear of death that troubles some people so much, although I certainly have a profound respect for death—is how I would put it. But this business of growing old really has me troubled. I get impatient when people my own age fuck up because it reflects on me. I really have difficulty looking at folks significantly older than I, like for example my mama and daddy—particularly my mama and daddy because I knew them when they were the strongest, most vigorous male and female homo sapiens who walked the face of the earth.
The phrase “grow old gracefully” is an oxymoron. There is no way on God's earth to grow old gracefully. That is bullshit. Growing old is a demeaning, humiliating process, and Bette Davis was right in spades: it ain't for wimps.
This trip is all about how I am going to get old. It is about my finding my way to do it. I am determined now that I will not allow getting old simply to happen to me. I am going to get old in my own way or die trying. Getting old is something I am going to do, not a condition I am going to suffer.
The lines of that great Dylan Thomas poem have come back to me. I am not going to write it all out here. You can look it up. In the poem his daddy is on his death bed, and he says to his daddy, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” I believe I have that correctly without cheating. I love that, and it is an inspiration now.
I am not going to go gentle into that good night.
I am not going to continue to sit here with these wonderful people in Oleander Acres and let old age slowly crawl up my legs.
I am not even going to attempt to age gracefully.
I am not giving in an inch to fear of narcotraficantes or corrupt Mexican cops or any other sons of bitches. You can get to a place in life where staying alive at any cost is not really the point anymore anyway.
I am going deep into Mexico next Tuesday.
**”While we live, let us live.” (So that you don't have to check with your priest.)