It feels good to just sit in Towl Park on a balmy, April-y day in February. My life is out of sync and I am stupidly troubled. I wish that I were a Holly Golightly sort of woman, someone who likes to live by the seat of her pants.
Instead, I am anxious. My routine has been upended and instead of going with the flow, rolling with the tide, gliding like a duck, I am stiff and crabby and anxious. This is all because I hate insurance. Hate change. I like a nice steady order to my days. I don't mind a random event now and then: a relative who comes to town for a few days, a snowstorm, a birthday or anniversary party. But, in general, I like to know that my days have a pattern to follow.
My wife is starting a new job on March first, so she decided to take the last two weeks of February off. This is a good thing, actually. She is moving on up and out in salary and her new job is within walking distance of our home. But, these last two weeks have set my schedule on edge. I can no longer successfully meditate for an hour every morning. She is in the house and this just doesn't work. I need to have peace, total quiet. So, I settle in my chair and suddenly she is rifling through a drawer next to me. I open one eye. She gives me a guilty look.
"I was trying to be quiet but I need to find our social security cards for our new health insurance!" she whispers, loudly.
This sets my teeth on edge, partly because I SAID THAT I NEEDED QUIET, but now I keep thinking about health insurance. I currently have my own insurance as a retiree from my job. With her new job, it will prove cheaper for me to just go on her health insurance plan. It's basically the same as mine, but much more affordable. The thing is....she can't get her id to fill out her health insurance forms until March third, although we will be covered as of March first.
I NEED that card in my wallet. I am a cancer survivor with diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. I am on several medications and see a lot of doctors. My medications will now have to be filled at another pharmacy than the one that I have used for over a decade. But, I have no card. They like to see a card.
I know that this is not a terrible problem to have. Gee willikers! I have two kinds of health insurance! Woe is me! But, I WANT that card, damnit! I want to hand it to the pharmacist and not worry. I'm being silly, aren't I? I found out recently that because of an open enrollment snafu, my sister's husband and daughter had to go on a stop-gap health insurance policy. THAT is a terrifying problem, so shut my mouth, right?
So, I am sitting here at Towl Park trying to relax and be one with the pond. One with the park. One with the ducks. Except that I notice a lot of flower buds popping up in the wooded area around the park. They are blooming right and left and the temperatures are supposed to start dropping dramatically tomorrow with snow following. Now, I am worried about the buds.
STOP. STOP. STOP.
I look up and see the tan truck pull into the parking lot. I look down at my CENTENNIAL book, the one that I have been keeping for this truck's owner. Perhaps, I will find my peace in showing kindness to someone who would probably LOVE to have my problems.
Here goes. Once more, with feeling.
I drive up to the tan truck. The windows are partially open. A bald man with a long beard is laying across the seat, sleeping. He has a Dean Koontz book splayed across his chest.
I gently tap on the window. He opens his eyes, blearily. They are a beautiful sky blue.
"Hello," I say gently. He warily says hello back. "I'm Therese's wife," I say. He looks confused. I think that maybe he doesn't know many gay people and this has thrown him. I carry on.
"I hear that you like to read," I tell him.
"Yes, I do," he answers, slowly.
"I have a book for you," I say. I hold up CENTENNIAL. "Don't let the silly cover fool you. It is a magnificent book."
"Ok," he says, still slowly. He reaches for a book on the floor of his truck. It is A PAINTED HOUSE by John Grisham.
"A trade, then," he says. I take the book. It is the only Grisham book that I have not read.
"I put a twenty in the book for you," I tell him, pointing at CENTENNIAL. "Life is tough sometimes."
He doesn't answer for a long moment. I raise my hand to wave goodbye and turn to go back to my car.
He calls out to me. "Tell Therese that I said hi," he says.
"I will," I tell him.
I look back at him and he has CENTENNIAL open and is smelling the pages just like I do when I find an old book. Another book lover. Takes one to know one. I pull out of the lot, a lump in my throat. I am no longer thinking about insurance or disrupted schedules.