Friday, May 29, 2009

Silver and Slack

This is the season for our all silver weatherless weather that blankets the southland in woolen gray. It isn't warm or cold. Eight in the morning looks just like five in the afternoon. Windless. Nothing casts a shadow in the diffuse light. Sound muted; dials turned down to six, and everything is slow.

I didn't get a call for work today. But I'm on Monday for a little over a week. Much to be grateful for.

And I missed old John's birthday party because I didn't know he was going to have one. Neither did he. I haven't hung out at the corner for quite a while. I've been working, and after work I mostly don't want to go hang out- I just want to rest, and poke out a post here on the wfb.

So I missed the whole thing; all the locals there at Starbuck's, along with the Starbuck's crew, the gang from Fresh n' Easy, and Trader Joe's bunch got together and threw old John a surprise party at Starbuck's.

I found out about the party this morning, but it was yesterday, that I learned that John had been down with the flu. I walked up to his place this morning. Some folks up in the Heights let him live in their pool house. He takes care of the dog. He was up, sitting outside talking to a woman who sees him at the corner. She was stopping by to check on him. Old John has a wealth of friends. It's is truly one of the finer things I have seen in people- they way that so many folks look out for him. Even M, the guy I - oh, forget it. But even a guy like M shows a decent side when it comes to old John.

Anyway- The woman left a short time after I got there. John showed me the pictures, and we talked for a while. But he wanted to go back in and lie down, so I walked on back down the hill. He's going to be OK.


Today is a carbon copy of yesterday. If you photographed the place in black and white, no one would notice. I went up to John's place, and he gave me a couple of pictures from the party. He still isn't well, and he doesn't want to hang out at the corner anymore because it's too windy down there, and sitting in the draft is what he figures gave him the flu. M had just given him a ride down to the store so he could pick up a few things. Again, he wanted to go in and lie down, so we visited for just a short while. I drove down the hill, took care of the small business of the day, and now I am in possesion of that sweet distilled essence of time: slack. Of course there's a ton of shit that needs done. Find me a time when that isn't the case.

Slack. God knows I have had my share of it. I think it's safe to say that I have had not just abundant slack, but excessive slack. But slack is like salt. Too much of it spoils the meal, and if it's spread too thin it might as well not be there at all. There must be balance and proportion in order to make slack, slack. Maybe just one day out of seven is enough. Only as long as you keep slack in its proper proportion can you realize how truly precious real slack time is.

Up until the last two and a half years, slack had been the default state of my existence for a decade. But try as you will to place a high value on something, if you have that thing in limitless quantities the value diminishes. Even slack. As of late I've been working very steadily, and my slack time has been reproportioned, and redistributed according to the rules of the forty hour work week. The diminished quantity of available slack has raised the both the quality, and the value of the slack time remaining.

But like all things it comes at a price. With diminished slack time, I have chosen to spend several hours a week writing here on the wfb, rather than hanging out with the gang at the corner. Had I been hanging out instead of sitting home writing I'd have been in on the plan to throw John his 87th birthday party. As it was I missed it completely, and the regret smarts. Priorities, huh?


With that I resume the non duties of the day.


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