Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Big Mrs. Sunshine

This past Saturday, paying the lowest matinee prices, F. and I saw the Coen brothers’ movie Hail, Caesar! I’d wanted to see it partly due to its lush, saturated look in the trailer, and partly due to something funny Tilda Swinton says which turned out not to be in the actual movie, but it was generally enjoyable, anyway. Afterward we hung out at F.’s new apartment in the heart of the Tenderloin, followed by dinner at inexpensive Heung Yuen.

I let F. have the table he’s been using for his artwork here, and have ordered a new one to replace it, whose cost he and I will split.

After having so much togetherness in the weeks before he moved into his new place, we’re in a new phase where we can perhaps achieve a better balance between quantity and quality. At first I thought never ever having him over here again would be good, but have reconsidered. In the past week, he was here just one night, and that wasn’t enough.

Here I have to applaud his equanimous response when I said I was thinking of never having company again, and decry, once again, my own imprudence in even saying such a thing right after it happened to cross my mind. He really has mastered the art of not reacting right away, so he is a good teacher for me in more than one way: he pushes my buttons, giving me lots of excellent practice with that, and he also demonstrates what it looks like to decline to have your buttons pushed. This is only one of many good practices he has, including that when something bad happens, he immediately thinks, “I’m halfway through this, heading for the end.”

Per our prior arrangement, he left late Sunday morning to gather snacks and otherwise make ready to listen to the Super Bowl. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and after the door closed behind him, I felt terribly lonely. Usually while I’m doing my weekend tasks in the kitchen, F. is in the living room working on a collage and knocking on the kitchen door frame every hour or so in search of an “affectionate embrace.” After he was gone Sunday, I lay in bed for about 15 minutes feeling extremely sorry for myself—alone on such a splendid day!—and then I gave Tom a call and found out he was on his way to the Oakland Museum of California, where the first Sunday of each month is free day, and that he was amenable to having company.

Or is that the California Museum of Oakland? It seems that either name could work. Anyway, it’s within sight of the Lake Merritt BART station,
it’s a museum about California that is located in Oakland, and we spent a nice educational afternoon there in the history wing. Did you know that Spain once considered itself to be the owner of a large swath of the United States? Me, neither!

Yesterday, our wonderful administrative assistant at work threw me a goodbye party. “We will miss you, lovely Bugwalk” was written on the conference room whiteboard, and we had refreshments and live music—one of my colleagues has been taking guitar lessons for several months. A co-worker who works from home all but about six days a year came in for the occasion, which was touching. I was surprised but pleased when she rushed up and threw her arms around me. (When another co-worker first heard about my getting notice, she put her arm around me and left it there for about ten minutes.) Our administrative assistant also made me a giant card with everyone’s good wishes written on it. I felt very loved and appreciated.

I was doing some research on the education needed for chaplaincy and am starting to think I sprang into action too fast. I will find out more as things evolve, but came upon an M.Div. offered by Naropa that would cost $70,000 for tuition. I (sort of) don’t mind living off my savings for two years, but spending my savings plus a hefty chunk of money on tuition is highly unappealing. I was recalling the question I was asking myself before I got my current job: How can I get an entry-level technical job without spending any money on education? Perhaps the question now is: How can I get a job that I can do whole-heartedly and that will cover my expenses without spending any money on education?

I am also considering that nothing can stop me from acting like a chaplain in whatever job I have. I can be kind and friendly and cheerful anywhere, which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last three years and why I got such a nice going-away party. Someone at the party said, “We’ll miss your sunshine.” Come to think of it, maybe a big company is more in need of a self-appointed chaplain than a hospital is, since the latter is already full of do-gooders.
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