I just came in from the deck. It’s clear outside – 9:30am. The internet says its 76 degrees here. I don’t think it’s that warm, but it’s a nice morning for sure. Birds were chirping in stereo and I watched a cardinal watching me, cocking his head every time I raised my coffee mug to take a sip. The deck looks great. There are new plants all over and a couple weeks ago we had it powerwashed and then weatherproofed. It looks nice, all of it. Rhonda is looking for a propane firepit as well. Life is easy here, I think. We do what we do and we don’t worry about much.
Yesterday I drove to Columbus to take some pictures of our house in Italian Village. On the way, I stopped at this little gas station that I always go to. It’s in Huntsville and there isn’t much else there, believe that. I bought a Coke Zero and while I was waiting for the kind female cashier to change my $5 bill, I was privy to her discussion with another woman, also an employee, sitting next to her.
“You know, I’ve got to figure out a way not to take my work home with me,” she said. “I leave here and I want to be off the clock…I want to relax. But then I’m constantly worrying about this place.”
My first thought was Amen…I hear you sister. Then I looked around. No customers in there but me – as usual. Worth noting is that while she was pontificating to her friend, the cashier was sitting down in a chair and smoking a cigarette. They were both sitting down, actually. A radio was playing. The window was open with a nice breeze coming through. I thought about what a shift might consist of in that little shop. Straighten the candy. Push some new beer cans into the cooler tracks. Use the speaker to tell a motorist that they need to raise the lever for the gas to turn on. Swipe some credit cards. Then I wondered what kind of work she was taking home with her. The truth is that it really doesn’t matter. Stress is relative and just because in my head or in my life it would take a hell of a lot more to reach a tipping point – it feels the same to people. She wasn’t less stressed than I get.
I went outside and sat on a bench where, occasionally, I would watch a truck drive by. Across the road and in the distance a tractor was slowly moving back and forth across a field making even lines. Corn season has begun.
So there’s the question I’m dealing with on this blissful Monday morning, sitting outside on the deck and making my work to do list while Rhonda sits inside on the couch doing the same thing (she doesn’t go in until 11 today). What is the right recipe for life? Maybe it’s a more specific question I’m pawing at – what’s the right recipe for our life? Certainly everyone has a few baseline commonalities like good health and enough coins in the bank to keep a roof overhead and milk in the fridge. But then what? Then, it seems, everything is uniquely interpreted and designed by the end-users. That’s us.
So let’s pretend all intentions and history had been cleanly erased and today was the first day of my life. What’s my recipe?