Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Fate Game

Monday morning, I was in high gear from 6:00 am until 9:15 am. I worked in a frenzy to clean and tidy the house before leaving to walk Her Highness with my friends. It was just fabulous to come home to a pristine house, a nice warm fire burning and no agenda for the day—and sunshine blazing into the house thanks to the trees I had felled this past Autumn.

I’m reading my last Bruno novel slowly. I hate the thought of not having more of his adventures to take me through the rest of Winter. But I will move on to Donna Leon, full of hope for more fun in the world of Commissario Guido Brunetti—Brunetti, so close to Bruno.

I loved my day. I’m at peace with the clinic … and with everything. I’m consciously happy every time I go outside. I always use my back door, to my left from this desk where I work, and I exited this morning, onto my back deck. It’s about 2.5 meters wide; at the end, I stepped off it and onto the large paving stones of my courtyard where I can take in my backyard. The view is all green with my garden’s plants plus the surrounding shrubs and forest. 

I stepped off the courtyard tiles onto the gravel that lines my driveway, and I walked to the car to fetch something, and then I reversed myself. The whole time, as I was walking, a movie played in my mind of exiting my condo in Vancouver where I lived before coming here. Impersonal hallway, efficient elevator, cell-like disembarkation room, fire door, walking through a horrid underground parking garage to my car. What a change for the better the experience is here.

I successfully executed one of my duties with STAMMA yesterday. I’m now co-administrator of the STAMMA support group for adult-onset stutterers.  I’ve to undertake the second function on Thursday; the second one is much more technically challenging. However, if I do it, it’ll be easy to repeat. Having no confidence is a hindrance.

And I made another ad for another magazine for Nancy. I am doing all the graphics for the Foundation for $300/year to rent Photoshop. They’ve paid for all their past graphic services; cumulatively, it’s quite a sum. And now its just $300/year. Snap!

I’ve always dreaded December. I can find many reasons to justify my prejudice if I think back through my life. I screen printed Christmas cards one year that, on the cover, said “December, Disappointment and Depression all begin with D.” On the inside, it said: “Coincidence?” When FND set in, my Decembers got worse because my angst about the month brought on a symptom swarm.

But I feel good this year. As usual, I credit the clinic work. It’s given me purpose and fulfilment. But it’s not a smooth ride. Nancy has an encyclopedic mind when it comes to hiring policies and practices of doctors and the operational policies of medical clinics. She’s stupefying. But she’s knowledgeable about neither technical issues nor advertising.

I feel forced to write extensive emails to try to educate her, but my advice is just advice. I tell her what I think should be done, but I have neither control over her nor her respect for my experience and training, and I can’t force the issue. I’m not confrontational. 

I talk to Steve every week. He’s a beloved brother for me. We are really close friends. He trusts me, and it all is wonderful. Today, I began talking about the people I met through him over the two years I spent half my weekends in Seattle. I have very fond memories of those times and people. 

Well …. He told me an astounding tale yesterday, about one of those people that astounded me. D. was a very successful entrepreneur. He made a line of confections, and his marketing was very clever. He advertised his recipes as being those of his great grandmother from Russia. He and his brother, B. created a dynamo business. D. in the kitchen, B. in the head office. They built up their business for many decades very successfully. They sold their company for $18 million.

D., basically retired and consulted with other food producers. B. managed their joint estate. He advocated to D. that they invest in a small chain of a well-known franchise. And so, they did. And they bought some commercial buildings to rent out. D. amazed me when I was visiting Seattle so much. I’d never met a business titan before.

Well, at 74, D. is back to working a 40-hour week trying to keep the franchise chain from failing. And worse, B. hired a contractor to fit up the buildings they’d bought for office rentals and one day the police came to arrest D. and B. The police found bags of drugs and a lot of child pornography in the walls and arrested the contractor. The contractor, in a plea bargain, said he was stashing the materials for B. and D. That got resolved, but still, it was a horrendous experience to go through for them.

It hurt to hear this because D. is not the business mind. He’d retired and now all the money is gone except for the buildings, and Dana is working a full-time job.

When I think about life, I think about a pub game that I’d see in pubs and foyers at summer playgrounds. There was a game that had a plunger on the lower right-hand side of the wooden case, and when you pulled the plunger back, a silver ball would roll over the hole left by the withdrawn plunger. When you released the plunger, the ball would fly up the banked plane of the game, into a round bend at the top, and then the ball would fall down through various obstacles, making sounds and blinking lights as it hit them, and earning you points and, maybe, a free rematch.

I’ve considered that game as a metaphor of life. They both begin with an ejaculation, and the projectile creations action that leads to an outcome over which you have no control. I’ve long called that game, the fate game. Discovering that metaphor helped me to stop feeling that all the misadventure of my life wasn’t my due.

Dana’s story made me see the fate game.

It’s cold out there! We’re predicted to have snow today and all week looks cold with lots of sunny days ahead. Big fires are the order of these days. Sheba, surprisingly, is not at all fond of the cold. Yesterday afternoon, she simply refused to walk in the afternoon.

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