Sunday, July 19, 2009

The "Fifty Isn't Old" Folks Home

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit with some old friends. I'd been trying for months to coordinate a time, but with me and the married couple all being musicians, it makes it difficult to align a proper "grown-up" visit, meaning not at a party at 11:00 at night. (In fact, I found a mention in a blog entry from April 28th, indicating that I had already been trying.) The only reason it worked this time was because I had a man on the inside: a friend is moving into one of the couple's spare bedrooms and tipped me off that it was just a work Saturday at home.

It was a nice alignment of situations, too. The weather yesterday was gorgeous; the humidity was low, the temperature was in the middle seventies, and there was an invigorating breeze. It was the kind of day that I always associate with "spring", which is a mythical season that never quite occurs in the midwest.

With the weather being fine, I didn't mind the bit of a drive to my friends' house. Once there, it was like all the best ways of "visiting family": I was offered plates of food at least twice, despite my protestations I had just eaten. And as I got ready to leave more than seven hours later, I was loaded down with a large box of miscellaneous coffee mugs, a listing of their business cards, contact numbers, and email addresses, and a copy of the new album by Wilco, with instructions to "tell me what you think".

I orbited between the three people comfortably, helping or conversing with whoever wasn't busy. When two went off to the hardware store, I spoke to the third. When they returned, I went to the upcoming bedroom to help a different person strip wallpaper and clean electrical sockets. And somewhere along the way, I ate a green olive stuffed with blue cheese, something I'd never tried before.

The husband has cancer, so I was able to talk to him about how the treatments went (currently looking good) as well as his being sequestered in his bedroom during chemotherapy to limit contact with other people during his "radioactive" period. I agreed that his first impulse to dribble luminescent paint on himself and complain to his wife that he's leaking would not have been well received.

The wife just switched companies after 15 years, so there's a large sense of transition in the household. New forms, new rules, new benefits, and a new drive to work all make everything feel flustered. She had plenty to say about that.

And everyone wanted to know about my latest news. Did I get that job? How could I have NOT gotten that job? Are those people insane? Do you ever talk to that ex-girlfriend we all know? Be sure to come visit whenever!

And my favorite: "We're proud to know you!"

Now that makes you feel good.

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