A Building and Stray Cats
I am 61. It was a short trip on a rocket sled. I was too occupied to notice much. Why me, why must I wake up with my faced pressed against eternity? I am uneasy about being closer to being something else in another place than I am to here. Is there anything of value that I can tell the living? Of course not, I have no experience. I try to go nowhere. I run from adventure. I struggle to not to meet new people. Still every day has its little drama. Over thousands of days, I remember no perfect day.
We found a broken down, deserted, neglected old building. There was lots of grass to mow on the property, more like hay actually. At least the roof was sound we thought. On a Friday afternoon, late June 2004 we bought it. Monday morning, sixty-five hours later, after a hard rain, I was informed that our roof caved in. Our insurance company was not pleased. They consoled us by immediately canceling our policy.
Early February of 2006 we moved in. We have a nice new roof. We rewired everything. We gutted and rebuilt the office. My wife designed it. We replaced plumbing. We replaced plywood with windows. We constructed a wheelchair ramp. We repainted everything. My daughter made a garden. My son and his friend, Anil, made another garden. Nick made a garden and planted 8 trees. David and his son made a garden too.
We are working on a fishpond. We have no money. We do it all ourselves.
Forget about all that. This is about my first adventure. Slowly enough cash was gathered up to grind up a large and awful asphalt parking lot by means of a huge and strange looking machine possibly from outer space. Our dangerous mission is to grow grass on rocks, asphalt chips and occasionally dirt.
Breaking all my rules of self-seclusion I went to Lowe's on a Sunday to buy grass seed, good soil and sod. I happily paid for fourteen squares of sod. I got back and began to grow grass. Actually it is more difficult to not grow grass than grow it, but do not give that any consideration. I spread my black dirt over desolation and put down sixteen sod squares. Business transactions depend on a wary trust and soon I realize that I criminally acquired two extra squares of sod worth $2.28. I wonder how to return stolen sod. Should I, under the cover of darkness, leave sod on Lowe's doorstep? Does Lowe's ever actually close I wonder? If they closed could they afford good insurance? What will happen if I fail to return my ill-gotten sod? Did the former leaders of Tyco, WorldCom, Health-South and Enron get their start shopping for sod? My solution was to return to Lowe's disguised in shorts and a tattered t-shirt, remove five more, unhealthy looking squares of sod from the grim sod pallet and tell the unsuspecting clerk that I had seven squares.
The "singularity" will be a world without trade-offs. The "singularity" comes when our little angers do not pile up into some destructive war. It comes when each big injustice is no longer the result of a bunch of little unkind thoughts, a very local unfed stray cat, or blind eye to some other manageable thing.
I have a friend. I do not know why exactly. I never call. Small talk makes me woozy. Hanging out is out. I want to be doing something constructive with my remaining minutes. He made me go to lunch. Steve knows someone who became a minister when young. The minister got older; he began to worry about the parties that he missed. He abandoned his family, took controlled substances, left his job. We dwell on this. How could this happen? Does everything depend on doing things in order? We did not know, despite our parent's limited amusement; that our commitment to being young idiots long ago (in moderation for survival's sake) was brilliant. Did the minister never listen to his own speeches? Did the minister become a minister because he thought it would be good for him and stop when he thought parties would be better for him? Are there any core values beyond selfishness? Why was he not at least wisely selfish? Were all those books we were forced to read a waste of time? Can we only learn by doing? Do only fools have any chance to acquire wisdom?
Back to stray cats. In the movies feeding stray cats seems pretty cool. In real life the cats do not like you much and the neighbors even less. One cat, though wild, seems friendly. Pattern recognition can help both cats and men. Friendly could become free medical care and central heating. Seeing a pattern, ignoring the crowd, taking an educated guess can pay off big. The errant minister chafes us. He challenges our certainties. He is educated. He has decades of experience. He did not follow the crowd. He saw a pattern - parties are fun. I could be a professional cat catcher for the city of Fort Worth. You never know.