I’ve noticed when traveling the highways of North America, staying overnight in Walmart parking lots and in campgrounds, hanging around in Nashville on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, waiting for the MS Chi-Cheemaun to Tobermory, stopped at a rest stop in rural North Dakota… that there are all kinds of people out there, living all kinds of lives.
Depending on where you are and where you are going, you’re bound to run into almost anyone.
My wife was on the telephone to the office in Toronto and I stopped at the roadside rest area. I said to the guy, “nice rig”, thinking I would just continue walking by but he stopped me and told me all about his current life, where he bought his RV (Florida where his brother lives to save on California sales tax), his trip so far (like mine - the U.P. to the I-94), how much he paid for the rig, and all the features and some of the things that he couldn’t get to work, what he did for work… I finally broke away.
I wouldn’t want to spend too much time with that guy.
I was in a Denny’s Restaurant (IHOP’s ugly cousin) one time in Indiana and I looked around at all the other people in the restaurant and commented to my travelling companion (Vic LeRue) on how unhealthy everyone looked. It was about one o’clock and it looked like everyone had just woken up and crawled out from under a truck or from behind some roadside bushes.
We were on our way to Chicago, me and LeRue, to a rare coin convention. Those guys at the coin show were almost exclusively middle-aged and older. I couldn’t talk to any of them. Too nerdy. But I was just along for the ride, it’s what we did, me and LeRue.
Vic LeRue would to take me to lunch once or twice a month and then eat off my plate. He was a food critic to a local entertainment guide. He’d asked me how my meal was.
He’d say, “use interesting adjectives”.
“It’s tasty”, I’d say.
“More descriptive”, he’d say.
“It’s succulent”, I’d say.
Then he would eat off my plate.
I get a call out of the blue. I’m at my desk, running down stray paperwork, shooting past problems in the back. I wasn’t expecting a call. I’m never expecting a call, and then I don’t usually answer. But this time it rang and before I knew it, I’d answered.
The phone call is from a friend that moved away a decade ago. They (as a couple) were bugging me before they left. (I didn’t like their dogs. They were out of control and the little one bit me. And I told them so). So when they moved down the road there was a built-in excuse to mentally remove them from my life too. They move away. We don’t keep in touch. Problem solved.
So the phone call brought us up to date. It was a little sad. The kids are here and there doing this and that. I’m doing this. You’re still doing that? And how’s Bobby?
Not so good. He died a few months later.
My so-called financial advisor has a habit of saying ‘there’ at the end of every third or fourth sentence. It’s a little weird and disconcerting and once I noticed it I cannot unnotice it. It’s not “hi there” or “sign there” it’s “I think the financial markets are going to settle down, there” and “it’s nice to see you again, there”. It’s a superfluous garnish to a boring word meal in a bland restaurant on a cold day in March. “Leave the theres there. We don’t need them here”, I want to say.
This is my third time into his office in as many weeks. Same as last year. There is always some kind of unproductive foul up. He’s a novice. I am surrounded by novices. I’m like a lone crusty crouton tossed into a farm fresh salad.
Last updated March 14, 2019