Take a day off from everything and everyone.
Tell your partner or wife or kids or dog or cat or fish or anybody or maybe nobody that you are heading out to work. Once you leave your house, call your job and tell them you’re taking the day off. Go on the train with no destination in mind. Look at the people around you rushing off to work, pushing through crowds, diving in and out of trains and buses and cabs, cursing under their breaths, raging their way through the morning, and be grateful that at least for today you are not one of them.
Get off the train at a station you like, one that has your favorite coffee shop or favorite mall or favorite park. If you are lucky enough to see a street performer in the train station, stop and listen. If it’s some jazz being played by a hip young Japanese kid from Tokyo, who came from Japan just so he could play some Dexter Gordon in Times Square, take the time to hear his story once his set is done and only if he is willing to tell you and then when he is done sharing, stay a while longer and listen a while longer. Trust me, human contact is hell of needed, especially when you need to talk to someone who doesn’t know. It’s good to talk to people who just don’t know.
Once you are finished connecting with this hip street performer, who really does not have to be a jazz performer from Tokyo, hell they can be a mime from Jersey if you want, though communicating with a mime might be a bit more difficult that talking with a hip jazz performer, but hey, to each their own, well anyway, once you are done hanging with them, walk round for a while and just breathe. Don’t think about doctor appointments, prescriptions, medical tests, diets, phone calls, future funeral arrangements, insurance issues, mounting bills, crying fathers, advice from Social Workers, concerns from relatives, pity from friends, research into holistic cures, and or any of it. Just breathe and walk and then breathe some more.
Once you are tired of walking, find a coffee shop and sit down and drink some coffee or tea, whatever really, and look around you. What do you see? What are people doing? Imagine why they are doing what they are doing? And then imagine what you would see if you saw you? What would you be doing? How would you be doing it? And why? I am not saying to make this into some Zen Meditation thing, this is not an exercise in hippy-love. I am just suggesting that before you go shopping for yourself, not for others at all, but only for you, or before you go see that movie you have been dying to see for a while, or before you take that walk in the park to look at the ducks on the lake or the oak trees by the playground, or before you even stop at a bar for a drink or two, just ask yourself, “What the hell am I doing?” You don’t even have to answer the question, but trust me, you sure as hell have to ask it.
And if your cell phone rings, don’t answer, unless it’s your kid’s school, because you always have to answer when your kid’s school calls, but other than that, everyone else can survive without you for a day. Now if you really want to answer for your significant other, if you have one, then answer, but I think it would be best, if you did this day on your own, and make the day about you and for you. Just saying is all.
When you have have had enough coffee or tea or whatever and asked enough questions, then head to your next destination
Now let’t say you chose a movie, and everything is really kind of fun now. Cutting work, fun, yes! Walking around without having to take care of anything for anyone else, fun, yes! Buying popcorn and soda, without anyone telling you how unhealthy it all is, fun, yes! Seeing a movie that you want to see without worrying about whether anybody else will appreciate it or like it or love it like you, fun, yes! Remember, having fun is the key, today.
But if in the middle of the movie you are seeing, with your hand buried in the popcorn bag and feet up on the chair before you, in the middle of the Death Star being blown up again, which, not for nothing is still pissing you off, that after all this time to work on the sequel, they end up bringing back the Death Star, just seems like lazy plot development to you, but hell, whatever, you still love it all enough to see it, well, if in the middle of all of this, if you just get hit with something about your father’s cancer, father’s cancer for me and whatever it is for you, that makes you want to cry, then go ahead and cry. Yep, right there in the middle of the theater as this wanna-be Darth Vader gets beat down by an untrained Jedi-girl, you go on ahead and cry. Because crying is about taking care of yourself on a day like today too. It might even be the most important part.
If you are sitting there watching robots display secret plans via their built-in projector , yet another example of lazy plot development, but whatever, and you remember the last time you were with your dad in his favorite coffee shop and you need to cry, cry.
What else can you do? You were sitting there with him and he took off his headphones, the ones so big they look more like earmuffs that headphones, and he tells you that he used to have a best friend when he went to Seward High School he had been thinking about a lot lately, and he was wondering, if on your phone, you could look him up for him and then help him to connect to him. And you were so excited at the idea of being able to do something for him and that he actually asked you for something, which is a thing he never does, that it never occurred to you, that you didn’t take the time to think that it could be possible, and so like the idiot you are, you take your phone out in front of him, and put in his friend’s name. The whole time your father is looking at you like you have mastered the secrets of creation and that you are right now crafting a galaxy with your brilliant hands. And you are soaking it all in, the admiration, the love, the respect, the fuc#$%^g awe. So that when he leans forward, to look down at your phone, he sees it the same time you do, the name of his friend popping up right there on the google search, saying that the wake was held a month ago and that he died of …………
And let’s be clear, though this day is about you, that is not to say it is about pretending that life isn’t sucking bigtime now. I mean, like what the fu#$%^! How can you forget the madness of it all. So if you re sitting in that theater on this TAKE-CARE-Of-YOU-DAY and you need to cry, then cry. I know I said this before, but I think you may need to hear it said more than once.
When the movie is done, do more stuff for you, whatever that looks like, and only when you have done as much as you can in a day, only then, and not before, get back on the train and head home. Please repeat as needed, because not for nothing, whether you give yourself days like this or not, the madness will still be there, whether we like it or not.
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