Monday, February 22, 2016

Incremental Collaborator

Valentine’s Day was F.’s and my one-year anniversary. Traditionally, our anniversaries (this or that number of months) have not been harmonious and this one wasn’t entirely, either, but since we didn’t actually break up in the course of the day, it was a success. The day before, we went to Tommy’s Joynt for lunch, a place I’ve seen hundreds of times but never visited. I had a sandwich that consisted of a huge sourdough roll and a microscopic amount of kielbasa, nothing else. I think they must cater largely to tourists—one-time visitors—because I’ll never go in there again. The kielbasa was delicious, but nearly nonexistent. The potato salad was good.

Then we went to the Goodwill at Van Ness and Mission to get an item or two, and then to the park we visited a year ago. On Sunday, our actual anniversary, we walked to Whole Foods for ingredients and then F. made us potatoes and eggs for breakfast. In the evening, we had burritos from Taqueria San Jose.

Two years ago, I had a chair refinished; I posted a picture of it here. F. often sits on it, and so I have periodically reminded him to treat it with care. I was displeased to see a tiny gouge appear on the seat, and some minor scratches on one leg, but that’s not a tremendous amount of damage. Plus, one leg has come loose, but I figured that when the whole chair started to seem wobbly, I’d just have it fixed. 

Valentine’s Day evening I was going to sit down on this chair to put Hammett’s gel in his ear and was aghast to see a large area of deep gouges on the seat, as if someone had worked it over with an ice pick. It turns out that F. has taken to keeping his keys in his back pocket (where you would think they would also put deep gouges in his butt). That was unfortunate timing, casting a chill over the final waking hours of our anniversary, though I didn’t get angry. I partly mention it as another example of the type of large and/or unexpected expense a non-certified chaplain would be hard-pressed to cover.

This, therefore, is my plan. I’m going to read Ron Chernow’s giant book about George Washington and then his giant book about Alexander Hamilton, along with all my other unread books. In addition, I may or may not do some of the items on my to-do list. If the weather is nice, I may ride my bike to the beach pretty often. In a few months, I’ll go visit my parents. After that, I hope to do the summer unit (ten weeks) of CPE at TWMC. I have also been invited to interview for the summer unit of CPE at the Very Fantastic Medical Center (VFMC), so I hope one or the other will work out. After that, I’ll go on a retreat at Spirit Rock. And after that, I’ll start devoting myself to getting another job at the wonderful company that I love that is very full of nice people where I have worked for 17 years. I will have about a year to accomplish that before losing my seniority (i.e., annual vacation days).

If I can get another job there, which I was readily able to do after being laid off in 2012, I will conduct myself like a chaplain and also try not to be so lazy. If I can’t get another job there, then I’ll do something else.

When I was laid off in 2012, a friend told me to enjoy my time off. In some ways, I did, because that is when I started spending time with Carlos. But I was also preoccupied with my employment situation, and it cast a pall over time I could have enjoyed much, much more. This time around, I have felt much calmer, and I do intend to enjoy every second of these precious days when I don’t have to work. I feel completely certain that everything will fall perfectly into place. I feel quite at peace and I am also interested to see what serendipitous events may occur and how things will unfold. As I heard the movie director Richard Linklater say on NPR, “The unknown will be our incremental collaborator over time.”
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