Thursday, November 22, 2018

Odd Man In

Robert came by with cheeseburgers and with that we opened the Outback bags and I tore into my share of meat and salad. People ask where locals eat in Key West and they think I’m being a smartass when I say “Outback.” That I am a smart backside doesn’t alter that fact that it’s true. The food is reliably and affordably good, the atmosphere is woody and bracingly busy, service is fast and efficient yet not intrusive.  It doesn’t mean I eat there every day but Outback is a great fallback position when seeking simple desirable food and you don’t cook. I love to wash dishes, truly, because I like order and efficiency, but cooking is not what you want me to be doing. I am impatient and tend to keep burners on “incinerate” until they accomplish the task. That or I cook on low and get bored and look for something to wash and put away. In fact I drive my wife mad seeking out things to clean when she’s doing intricate cooking that I am banned from the kitchen.  Rusty gets to hang with her but I have to retreat to the deck with a gin and tonic and ignore the smells.

Thanksgiving is the holiday we all love. Canadians love it so much they celebrate in October to avoid being frozen in situ by their igloo-building weather. My European family is fascinated by the national outpouring of emotional thanks. Typical juvenile North American public display of affection they sniff. But you know what? I detect an undercurrent of envy when they talk about an entire country taking the time to put down tools and give thanks. And they should be jealous. We can’t celebrate May First because that would be communist so we do Labor Day, and we can’t do time changes with the rest of the world and  thus cleverly give ourselves two weeks a year of extra daylight (of which I approve). But we do Thanksgiving. And we are the best at it. I love Thanksgiving. 

I have no interest in listing all those things for which I am grateful. I mean to say there are things and people that are obvious and therefore tedious to list.  If you ask me at table to say for what I am grateful I would much rather surprise you. If I replied that I am grateful to have been born into the top ten percent of the planet’s wealthiest would I offend you? That being the case you couldn’t say you knew me very well.  My wife and Rusty and surviving my accident are obvious enough aren’t they?  I am grateful for my accident.  Gasp.  Come on now, you know why. The ruin of my lower body has brought you all out of the woodwork. You had nothing to lose so you came out from behind the emotional barricades I had built around Key West Diary and told me you were worried about me.  Guess what? No chasms opened and swallowed me and I didn’t wake up with horns on my head. Instead I got tons of heartfelt messages of support from hundreds of people here and on Facebook. Wasn’t that a surprise? So if I say I’m grateful for you lot this Thursday you know what I mean and I don’t have to explain why I’m not listing all the usual suspects. I may have had a reawakening but I decline  to sink into boredom and normalcy. I reserve the right to be myself. 

I hope you have reasons to be grateful and if you are in one of those holes where it’s hard to think of anything good, you know you have my sympathy. I don’t suffer from depression and my health aside from this little problem, can only be described as robust.  The way old people used to nag on about good health being the only thing that matters has become paramount indeed in my 61st year! I expect I will have to work a few more years to sort out our share   of the bills and allow us to retire without worries. And I’m okay with that. My wife will retire in 2021 so I will get splendid care as I go to work and come home to a spotless house! If money has you feeling ungrateful this year I can tell you I have celebrated all my birthdays with the thought at the back of my mind that at least I didn’t go bankrupt that year. I have never had a facility with money, easy come easy go is my financial lifestyle. But I hope you like me have a treasure trove of memories. It’s what money and work are for. And doing some good when you can. 

Yes I’m lucky and I’m grateful for my good luck. I hope you can be thankful this year and if your Thanksgiving looks crappy you can easily use me. At least I’m not Conchscooter you can say to yourself as you spoon tinned cranberries into your gruel. 

Yeah. These few weeks have had their moments for sure. Happy Thanksgiving!