Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.”
– D. H. Lawrence
That is an excellent suggestion, but that “Be still” thing plague’s many of us and especially me 😊. Oftentimes, I find myself rambling on about things that are not important, or, the person I’m talking to is not very interested. I have to pay close attention to my involvement in conversations and “throttle back” the inclination to express my thoughts on subjects on which I am an expert. Admittedly, I use “expert” loosely. My deceased ex-wife used to tell me, “I’d like to buy you for what you’re worth and sell you for what you think you’re worth”. That always made me grin, but I knew she was serious. I am a firm believer that when we are passionate over something, we should pursue it with vigor. It is important that we are selective with our passionate choices, else, you spread yourself too thin and it becomes harder to be successful. I try to pick one project and then only focus on it, to the exclusion of everything not pertinent. That works very well for me. As I’ve grown older, I have found my “passion” to get things accomplished has waned somewhat. I didn’t expect that to happen, it just did. I do see that passion in young people, and I must say I enjoy watching them pursue it. I think the day passion leaves my life is key for me to get ready for the endgame. I try to keep the “old guy” out of my life but he is a persistent fellow. Someone once said, “It is better to be a live donkey than a dead lion”. I think that’s probably true.
Recently, I decided I wanted to replace my Nexus Notepad. It’s ten years old, and I needed something faster and had a keyboard. I cranked-up an app on my phone called, “Offer Up” and began to see what was for sale in my local area by individuals (not stores). Well, I found what I wanted, and it was brand new! Trouble was, he was asking more than I was willing to pay. I made him an offer that was half of his asking price. Immediate reply: “No”. So, I made a final offer, increasing it by a third. Answer back: “No”. Well, hecky darn, guess I needed to make another “Final Offer”? I was determined that I wasn’t going to pay this fellow his “asking price”. Somehow, that felt unconstitutional! True, his asking price was considerably lower than what it cost on Amazon, but I’m a man of principle and that means that I will absolutely not pay his price. Buy this time my wife got involved, and she was making suggestions. So, now we are colluding on what to offer that persuades him to accept. Ultimately, we issued another “Final Offer” and he made a counter-offer that was very near what I wanted to pay. I accepted. Now, I didn’t get him to come down a lot but it was enough to make me happy. The whole thing turned out to be a fun experience. The one thing I learned is that I’m a much better negotiator anonymously than face-to-face. I don’t think it’s because I dislike confrontation, it’s because it makes it much less personal. Hilaire Belloc said, “All men have in them an instinct for conflict: at least, all healthy men.” My sentiments precisely!
Update: The deal didn’t happen. The fellow got “cold feet” about the transaction so we canceled it. I did find the exact item on eBay for $50 more and it’s on the way to our house now!
My wife and I are members of the Ruby Tuesday (restaurant club. It’s free, all you have to do is sign up, giving them your email address so they can send you a daily email for the rest of your life. Occasionally, you’ll get a BOGO (buy one, get one free) offer, with time restrictions (i.e. tomorrow only) and then you get a free hamburger, or salad bar, the month of your birthday. Well, that fine establishment made an unforgivable mistake: they failed to notify my wife about her free hamburger (her birthday is in January & so is mine). She got on the phone and called the local Ruby Tuesday and informed them of the situation. The manager calmly tells her to come on in and thy will give her the birthday burger, no questions asked. Needless to say, that night we are on our way to retrieve the free food. As we entered the restaurant, my wife asked to speak to the manager on duty and reminded him of what transpired earlier. We were escorted to a table, our burgers show up in about 30 minutes, and we chewed on those things as tho we hadn’t eaten in a week. Free food has that effect on you. Somehow, it seems to be more delicious than what you pay for it. After completing our meal, we were given a delicious Strawberry Sundae to complete our gluttony. We left the restaurant on that bitterly cold night with our stomachs full of good food and a look on our face that told the world that free stuff can make you happy. An old Czech Proverb says, “When we are at our merriest, it is best to leave and drive home”. That’s exactly what we did!
The word “loneliness” was created to express the pain of being alone, and the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone”….Paul Tillich.
I think that quote aptly describes the two states of being alone. Unfortunately, we experience “loneliness” most often. I remember as a young boy our coal camp was shutting down and how lonely I felt as my playmates packed-up and moved away. My next bout with that condition happened after losing my son last year. The only thing that can overcome such loneliness is a positive attitude about what the future holds, believing that your situation will improve. It was harder as a young kid for me to see it from that perspective, but as an adult I have always tried to keep a positive outlook.
Solitude is something you seek when life becomes hectic and you need a break. I cannot remember the last time I actively sought it. It seems to surround me when I’m sitting in my favorite chair in front of my workshop listening to classic country music and smoking my favorite cigar.
George Jones is wailing about, “He stopped loving her today”, or Waylon Jennings is pining over “Luckenbach Texas”. During that time my worries drift off down the creek and land in someone else’s yard, waiting for the right time to float back in my direction. I’m sitting there thinking about my friend, Dale, soaking up the Florida sun, or my friend David walking around in Texas wondering if the “Cowboys” will ever win another Super Bowl. But, for that one hour, my burdens are lifted and I don’t have a care in the world. Now that’s my definition of solitude. I’m sure there’s a better definition out there somewhere, but this one suits me fine.