Friday, January 1, 2010

First of Ten

Welcome to the dawn of the decade. Presumably there are those among our number who only recently retired for the evening - wanting to ensure that the entry path for the new decade was sufficiently lubricated. Nothing wrong with it as long as you did not take your hard-partying ass from wherever you were doing the aforementioned hard partying and plop it behind the steering wheel of any motorized conveyance. Every decade has 3652 days in it. You may take some solace in the fact - presuming you shall indeed piss away the first one of it while recovering from the last night of its predecessor that Day 2 is a Saturday. You have a little additional bounce back time.

The decade came in like a lamb at our house. I have been this week something I have not been in more than eighteen years: a man without a wife and children. I realized at or about some point Wednesday evening that I have grown far too accustomed to the beautiful noise to settle back into the routine of a bachelor's life without more than a bit of discomfort. A temporary condition I can endure. A permanent change? I am less confident of my fortitude.

With the Missus and the gang all two time zones away, my favorite "other" bachelor and I went out to grab an early dinner together. Joe, Margaret's dad, is doing a hell of a fine job of adjusting to his life of "I did not ask for this". He has in the past eighteen months buried his mother-in-law (who lived with his family and him for the final 1/3 of her life) and - only five months ago - his true companion of a half-century. Margaret and I are together close to two decades. I had always suspected that during the entirety of our relationship, Joe and I had known one another fairly well. I could not have been more wrong. In the five months since Suzy B died I have spent more time with him than I probably did over any particular five-year period while she was alive. He has gone on vacation with Margaret and me. As fond of him as I have always been, my appreciation of him and my love of him have grown exponentially these past few months.

Last night with just one another for company we bade "Adieu" to a year and to a decade that has thrown some hay makers into each of our solar plexuses. He told me that he had said a prayer yesterday afternoon while sitting in his living room that 2010 be much quieter for and exact much less of a price from his family than 2009 had. Me? I am not an advocate of prayer. I like to think God and I have an understanding: he does his best not to meddle in my existence and I return the favor. But it was impossible to find fault in Joe's logic and in what prompted him to make it.

I took Joe to my favorite place to eat and each of us made our final meal of the Aughts a healthy one (Chilean sea bass for him and Atlantic salmon for me) and our final adult beverages quite tasty ones. We ate at what struck me as an unbelievably leisurely pace for Joe but still cleared out in plenty of time to make room for the evening's serious revellers.

A quiet, understated end to a year within a decade that spent a lot of time and energy knocking us down. At night's end, at year's end, at decade's end we stood up.

And this morning, at day's beginning, at year's beginning, at decade's beginning we are still standing. Not a bad way to start a decade, eh?

-AK

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