My grey surprises me. I cut my hair down to the minimum and it changes a few things, but not a lot. I'll be getting a new pair of glasses soon. This is the 55th and it seems like it has been 55 for a while. I feel very much the same way I have since having my breakthrough need for martial education, and yet the purposefulness of the enterprise has been more of a mental revolution than one encompassing my body. At least I can say the vanity part has been satisfied and then abandoned. The death of a brother can do that, but long before that was the admission of my knee. My knee, my right knee, sometimes it fails me.
I like the company of middle aged men, and I wish that I were more well-endowed with power commensurate with what I feel is my level of wisdom. Yet I consider, perhaps too seriously, the weight of fate in producing that lucky combination of wisdom and fortune. Perhaps I might have gotten more in trying more rather than in expanded contemplation. I am pretty much done contemplating, well, I should say that I'm finished needing directional inspiration. My life is just full of doing things that I can do, which are generally beyond what I intuit most folks think I am capable of doing. It's true I have nothing to prove. I'm happy just doing. These days I don't think writing is doing so much, so I'm doing.
Until I can do no more.
I've never really wanted to run a marathon or bungie jump or skydive. I've never missed some sunset at Cozumel. There are amusements that leave me flat in the offing. I wonder sometimes these days if I am being too dismissive of that which takes place in my absence. I don't want to prepare for my irrelevance, I merely want to not work myself into the grave too early. So in doing, there is a narrowing subset of choice.
I must confess that what concerns me more than anything is whether or not I achieve the Porsche. More than the Rolex, although not so much as the now unattainable mansion in Pasadena, the Porsche represents that place I think I should be. And so I'm doing. I've driven the 911 and it seems heavy and luxurious. That is not what I want. I want something I can flaunt but more to drive fast enough to frighten my aunt. I want something that is a joy to drive, light and fast. Something substantially poised for speed whose manual gears I can thrash. And so it is a Cayman and a matter of cash. Next year, it's clear I can get there from here, I can already see myself raising the beer. If I can steer to the track. maybe charcoal or black with black rims and a big fat wing on the back.
In the meantime, I have cut to the chase of the problem of the knee. I wanted to keep my weight down by cycling in order to skip the circuit training. I cannot get the image out of my head of how foolish exercise looks. Of all the things to teach your body to do what is more ridiculous than Crossfit? Probably riding a bicycle in Los Angeles traffic. And so I have decided to sideline the exercise and vanity and go straight to getting my ass kicked for real. Taekwondo at 55 is a beer bellied novice amongst synchronized children, older than parents in the clapping section, moving his crusty athlete's feet. At least my hammer blow was worth two breaking boards at the grandmaster's suggestion. I've been told I have a powerful kick, but can I raise it above my opponent's midsection? I expect I won't have to when the unthinkable comes, their knee before mine. For now the yellow trophy and the yellow belt suffice. And Hapkido defenses are the beauty of circles I hope to master in time.
In the work I am stretching around to marketing and I don't suck as much. There are blockchains and message busses and new confidence for building new apps, if not new customers. I remain in a torquey overdrive of low revs. I'm ready to downshift but there's not much traffic to race on this crazy road. I'm sure we're going in the right direction, but this low grade grade in the desert seems never to arrive at Vegas. Sometimes I stare out at the dry lakes and see mirages. Focus. These are the lines. This is the map.
I have the success of my children I have escorted thus far, and they're beginning to recognize. What a privilege to bask in the glow of an appreciative eye although sometimes the words get brownnosy. The love of a plump woman whose smile still enervates, the laugh of a mother and spry sparring with father; old man v old man. The tales of cousins and the travels of nieces and the fierce independence of nephews. This is the time I dreamed about when 2001 was as far as anyone could see. We are a family force and numbers matter. We contain much, and much more than love and such. Who needs the legacy of books?
The world gives me no pain. I ignore bulldozing rhetoric which flattens its complex topography, massively expensive steamrollers engineered only to crush the toes of the enemy. This is not humanity with a capital H but a moment of fear and regression. The froth at the top of the waves is not the sea. I am deep and my boat is already underwater. I've learned to hold my breath and hold my tongue and hold my place. I will end up holding peace and perhaps drowning at once, but the sea is my friend, and I don't mind if it rises. I am not Dory, I am not forgetful and I am not lost.
There is no plan. There are only men and their ambitions against the winds of chance and the women who motivate. There is love and duty, always attempting at truth and beauty. There are those who fail and stagger back to standing. We, facing recklessly the indifference of mediocrity, push our little pushes and trim our little rose bushes. Dear God, make me hard to kill. Let me tend to this garden of life. Fifteen more, thirty more, ninety-five years. Let me buy everyone whisky. So cheers.
My daughter calls the call I've called. "Fifteen more minutes" and then it's time for the next thing in store. Alert the house. It's on.