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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Starts well, ends in despair.

Variety is the spice of life, true, but it is hard to bottle. Impossible to sell, and the demand today is almost non existent. Travel almost anywhere and there is a McDonalds, and business is booming. A Big Mac will taste the same in Miami FL and Seattle WA, and everywhere in between. It isn't healthy, normally it isn't very fast and it reeks of conformity.

One of my coworkers eats the same thing for lunch every day. It makes him happy. He knows where he is going, he knows what he is going to order, no long drawn out decisions. When I go out to eat it is torture. I agonize over the menu, fish tacos or a tuna melt panini? And then the minute the wait person walks away I regret my choice. "Oh, if only I would have gone with the buffalo, blue cheese chicken grill then I could be happy." But, it wouldn't work. My sons won't even go out to eat with me anymore. Maybe they can't stand my suffering.

My wife will still go out to eat with me. She has perfected the art of refining silence. We have been married a long time and she knows when to stop listening and when to start. I can worry, and sweat, and internally debate the virtues of various side dishes and she will nod, smile and thank the gods of happiness she found someone who is so keenly aware of the potential varieties of life. Or something like that.

I know, though, outside my little bubble of indecision the world marches on. Exactly the way it
always has. Young men, children, really, are sent to die in foreign countries for reasons that defy explanation. But, it has always been that way.  So, it will always have to be that way. Dull, dreary, consistency, nothing changes. Nobody asks why.

In the building where I work there is a door we hardly ever use. It is in a shallow recess, maybe three feet deep. It is a perfect place to sleep, if you don't take into account that it is outdoors, in the middle of downtown. But, it will keep most of the wind and rain off the cardboard boxes that will soften the stern, uncaring concrete. Last week there was a man with a wheel chair that made his way up the shallow ramp and called the little man made cave home. Today there was a child, so innocent looking, so young, he should have been talking about the classes he was taking in high school. But he was sleeping outside, no where to go. It is that way every year until winter's deadly cold drives them someplace they can light fires and huddle together for warmth. Mind numbing routine, unchanging patterns of bleakness so dark most people ignore them. But, they are there, obvious, all you need to do is look. And nobody asks why?

"We can't help everyone, Tim" People tell me."We can't help anyone," is always my reply. And then I ask "why not?" and nobody can answer.