I feel rather Republican right now. There is SO much wrong and terrible, almost every system is in chaos- nature, governments, society, the economy, oy, shit is blowing up everywhere and me?…I’m happy.
Not happy about the bad things. No, no, no. I haven’t slid that far into the dark side. But in my little corner of the universe life is okay. Mick’s retirement is changing up a lot of things and we can’t make it on my wages and his pension alone, but said pension is more than anticipated and while the bite to keep my health insurance is still a big chomp it’s not the artery-severing impossibility we thought at first. So if Mick gets a gig at near the same wage he was making (and this is better than likely) we will actually be better off than we were before he retired. And my dear mannie doesn’t have to be at that job he’d come to loathe anymore. Sebastian’s health insurance is a goner, but he can get a decent plan through his union which will be more than adequate for a healthy 20 year old. All in all, the money/work prospects are hopeful and bright.
Everything west of the Rockies is on fire and the coastal south is drowning and by the time you read this every roof in Florida might be blown off, but here in downstate NY? It. Is. GORGEOUS. After a not-too-bad summer with enough rain and no extended hot spells we’ve hit the weather sweet spot, the time of year that makes the Hudson Valley like nowhere else on Earth. Glorious. Clear, cool, sunny, a delicious gentle breeze that smells like apples. There are pops of color but mostly the trees are still green and drowsing their way into autumn. Crisp and frost-brittle are coming but for right now everything is soft. Puffy clouds in an azure sky. The cricket song is a lullaby. When not in my work clothes I’m barefoot in leggings and a worn out cotton shirt, so supremely comfortable in my skin I feel almost weightless.
And what of work? The news there is good all around too. My manager is leaving! Moving down south to be with family, especially her MIL who is getting up in years and is ailing. Boss lady’s husband is already there and has a job and a place. She’ll be following him down in 2-3 weeks. She’s nowhere near the worst boss I’ve had, but overall she ain’t been great. However, knowing that she’s leaving has made putting up with her bullshit soooo easy. Especially since the new manager is already known and loved. He’s been our unofficial second-in-command since ever. Disciplined, even tempered, kind, empathetic. Pretty much a dream boss. The kind you WANT to knock yourself out for because he sees your hard work and appreciates it. That’s all I need. I’ll always do my job the best way I know how. If there’s something I can do more efficiently or needs to change per corporate bullshittery, just tell me. Don’t act like I’m a scamming bum deliberately out to make you look bad or that I’m some kind of lazy delinquent who’s wanting to coast. Both of which my current manager does ALL THE TIME and it makes me crazy. I do my job. I do it well. I do it well whether I’m watched or not. At most on a less busy day I might chat a bit more with customers and coworkers, but who doesn’t on a slow day? In any case I am always aware of the clock, the bottom line, and what needs doing. Always. So are my coworkers. At least on the day crew. We’re moms. Middle-aged moms with mostly grown kids and a lifetime of doing what needs doing. We totally get it. Budgets, time crunches, coupons, ageing parents, quasi-adult children who still live at home, ex-husbands, always working husbands, retired husbands who are like wayward toddlers with driver’s licenses. We fucking get it. And do for our customers accordingly.
I guess it’s okay to start talking about it. My trip begins in 9 days!!!! Oh my lord! I’ve got new luggage and new underpants. I’ve winnowed down my toiletries and have quart-size zip-lock bags to put everything in. I’ve alerted my bank card company and I check on my plane reservation 4 or 5 times a day. My snazzy new travel raincoat arrived. I’ve been approved for the time off from work. I’ve begun buying goodies for my overseas friends and look forward to the giggles over the dopey American Halloween candy and clothing saying, “Where the Hell is Montgomery, NY?” I realized most of my hit list involves food and catching British people being British. Highbrow culture has to wait for next time. All I want for this trip is to ‘be’. Be in England. Be with my friends. Be in the moment. You’d think since words are my thing that I’d be all about Shakespeare and Austen and Wilkie Collins and chasing down their places, right? Nope. I simply want to listen. To the accents. To the cadence of the spoken word. For an American I have a better than average grip on the various regional British accents so to hear them in person and do some audio sleuthing tickles me to no end.
I am also a cinephile so am all about the visual. Traffic signs and public allotments and bright red postal boxes. I want to see downtowns of Tudor buildings with modern day shops on the ground floor. I want to see terrace houses and council flats and stately parks and rowdy window boxes full of flowers. I’d like to visit a palace or two. Even if it’s just a view from the outside through a fence. As much as my photograph makes me cringe (so fat, so old!) I’d like to have my pic taken in front of a Marks and Spencer and an Asda and a Topshop and a Waitrose. But not Boots, because they suck. I want to visit Brighton Pier and hopefully see the starlings murmur.
How cool is that?
I can appreciate those who travel and want to Do ALL The Things! I have a few well traveled friends who’ve Done ALL The Things and the stories from their travels both sustain me and make me wan with envy. Yet for my week +1 in England I don’t want to bustle along, I want to meander. Rome? Paris? Prague? In those cities I might join the tours and See Things. If I were traveling with Mick and sharing his wonderment I’d be more proactive.
But this trip is for me.
On MY trip I want to walk and talk and notice things and eat foreign food and see a Banksy in person and take Sammie for a stroll on the promenade. I’d like to meet Anna’s kin and share a meal with them, all or in groups as necessary. I’d like to bop up north and visit Simon and Tracey and meet their kids. And visit the actual village of Ripon and get my ‘Downton Abbey’ geekiness on. I know Highclere Castle is nowhere near Ripon, but on this trip the building isn’t as special as the town. Besides, I don’t have any friends in Berkshire but I do in York.
I live in NEW York might as well visit Original York, yeah?
I’m happy and I’m trying like mad not to feel guilty about it.
I’m not even a Boomer!
Much love, ~LA