Friday, September 19, 2014

A Broken Week

            Once again I find myself at the end of a long week, sitting on my porch and contemplating my life. What gives? I don’t know, I really don’t. It’s been a crazy week here. I’ve dealt with broken phones, broken animatronics, broken trains, and broken people. Yup, that seems to be my week in a nutshell. Broken.
            I’m like a magnet for broken things. It’s not like I sought this position out, it just happened. Like the sun rising or setting, or the law of gravity. All very hard to explain but all have to be accepted in the course of our lives. So if you’ll bear with me while I sort out the broken week in my head and on the page this diatribe of my life will all be exposed.
            In the not too distant past I received a phone call from a friend telling me his wife had passed away after a long bout of cancer. To be honest, they were both my friends. I’ve known them both for over ten years and I saw them at least twice a month for several hours each meeting. They were volunteers for me at the museum. Both very passionate about trains and engaging with the general public, especially the children who expressed interest in trains.
            I was sadden but not surprised by this news, but somehow, I was shocked even with the knowledge she’d been sick for quite some time. I just figured I’d always have time to see her, talk to her and she would overcome her illness. Stupid me I suppose. Life is a terminal illness and even though our expiration date isn’t tattooed on our skin for anyone to see, it’s there nonetheless.
            Like a good friend, I attended the viewing. I barely made it through the painful event. I don’t like them, never have. The person in the casket rarely looks the way they did in life and even though I have a cornucopia of happy memories, the permanency of the situation only brings to mind the things I wish I could have said to them. Or things I wanted to teach them, experience with them and things that I could have learned from them. Those regrets disappear in the last fading breath when no one is looking or listening. She was a good person who lived a good life and fought the good fight only to lose. Leaving behind an army of family and friends who pretty much feel the same way.
            The army who screams for closure and answers. Only to be answered with silence. Sometimes in that silence we hear the voice of reason. Most times, we don’t. I’ve only heard that voice once. Was it my conscious? God? The Ghost of the dead? I can’t answer honestly. I just know that I received peace when the voice showed up and whispered to me the answers to all my questions. Hell, maybe it was my ID speaking reason for one brief moment… Nah, I’m not that deep or in touch with myself.
            So, yeah, her death fucked me up pretty good for more than the fair share of the week. Then life started to take over as if to say…”Snap out of it you stupid Polak! You have a life and responsibilities.” And just to prove that point, in one day, I had a train break down and an animatronic figure its sixty year old internal linkage has suffered enough metal fatigue to warrant it to stop working.
            The train, easily fixed… just need to order parts. The sixty year old linkage, easy fabrication job. That’s when I realized the linkage that wore out was older than my now dead friend and her surviving husband. Nothing lasts forever, I just wish I could have fixed her as easily as I fixed the animatronic figure. But, I’m not a doctor, humans aren’t made of metal, cloth, cardboard and Styrofoam. Nope, we’re flesh, blood and bone with complex systems that require billions of cells to keep changing and moving. Cells with menial yet important tasks that keep us upright… then again, sometimes those cells decide to pull a Sarah Palin and go rogue. They turn on the body and decide they want to replicate and grown in crazy ass ways that make doctors across the world scratch their heads in collective unity and rich at the same time.
            Sometimes, especially at times like this, I question the intelligence of our creator. And if some ass out there says “Oh, he did that so others could appreciate their lives more.” I say to them “That’s more cruel than the torture suffered by anyone during anytime during the course of human history.” I’m serious… think about it for a minute… let’s say you have two dogs… you  abuse the shit out of one in front of the other just so that the one who is not abused is more thankful he’s not abused? What sort of mentality is that? Also, why the hell aren’t you behind bars… You shitheel.
            But I digress.
            My phone… Yeah, my five year old phone. The third phone of my life… it somehow got knocked off my bedstand in the middle of the night and the screen cracked. I thought about upgrading but then I’d have to change my unlimited data plan that I’m grandfathered in. So I spent the coin on the insurance premium and got a free upgrade without having to change plans. This also got me thinking about my dead friend and her husband. After all, he is still young, older than me but still young enough to eventually date again. Not now or even this year. But eventually he may meet a woman and want to spend time with her. After all, we are social creatures and desire the company of friends and the intimacy of others. So, if he can get an emotional replacement when he is ready, why shouldn’t he. After all, as Mr. Jefferson said “Life is for the living.”
            So yeah, it’s been a broken week with all paths leading back to the same destination. Death and Life. Two things that go hand in hand and no matter what we do, we die and leave behind in people a void that will eventually have to be repaired or filled. Right now, I don’t want either. I just want to get to a point where all I remember are the good times running trains, explaining cigars, motorcycles and how horror stories are one of the purest forms of storytelling about good versus evil man has ever created. All the while listening to valid differing opinions with an open mind from a woman who I respected and loved and her loving husband who is now without his life partner.

            Have a great week.

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