Saturday, August 30, 2014

The importance of feeling relevant… is it really that important? I’ll know soon enough

This is me, late summer 1996, a year or so after I moved into my current apartment on Monroe Avenue.  I’m surprised how differently I look from this photo now, and I’m also surprised I’ve lived here this long. 

I’m comfortable with my space & I like the street I’m on and that’s pretty much it.

It’s only worth mentioning because this past summer, as I’ve seen my investment portfolio rise (and sink, and then rise again), I’ve confided to a couple friends that those early-retirement plans are still a go, the closer I get to that date (or it gets to me).  At the same time though, I confess to worrying a little what will become of me after said event, as I have no real plans in mind.  

In the book “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think” by Wess Moss, he says that unhappy retirees tend to read a lot of books.  Really, Wes??  Gosh that’s one of my favorite pastimes!

I guess it really struck home a few days ago, when I read on Facebook about someone I once knew in high school (single like me, a year or so younger) going to Guatemala with his church-group to install a new water purification system.  I admire Joe & what he does… he makes a difference.   I sat there at my desk reading this and felt pretty irrelevant.

But God works in mysterious ways (so I’ve heard) and after work, as I got off my bus and headed home I saw three people sitting and talking on the low stone barrier in front of my apartment building.  There’s Bill, Jim & Theresa—the oldest residents here, in more ways than one.  (Theresa is 82 and has lived here since 1983.)  Bill says “He’s home!” and Theresa says “See Jim, I TOLD you Doug doesn’t get home until after 5!”   I said “Have you guys been waiting for me?”  and Theresa hands me a slip of paper and says “This was in the lobby this morning.” 

It says “On Monday Sept 8, the basement & lower level area will be cleaned out.  This includes the emptying of unreserved storage lockers, which will have their locks removed.  You MUST call this number to reserve your new storage locker ID, which can be found below in yellow.”

Theresa says “Doug I have 35 years of stuff down there!  And that black woman beside me, Jolene?  She’s always wanted MY locker because it has HER apartment number on it, and now she’s going to claim it and I’ll have to move everything out!”  Bill says “Back around ‘94 or so, I traded mine with some youngster because I wanted a bottom locker and had a top.  I certainly don’t want to change back now.”  

I said “Did anyone call building management?”  No.  “Does anyone know what they mean by new storage IDs?”  No.  Theresa said that was why they were waiting for me to come home.  I suggested we all head to the basement.

It was pretty apparent, those yellow IDs stenciled on the floor.  I said “Guys, ignore the apartment numbers painted on the lockers—see how this works?  5T & 6B, fifth locker top, sixth locker bottom.  Theresa, Jim, where are the ones you use?”  “Here’s mine Doug, it has 22T and 23B painted in front!”  “Mine’s 19B but my apartment is 203 and this door still says 205!” 

I said “Don’t worry about it, just keep your stuff where it is.  I’ll call management and reserve your new IDs for you.”  “Oh Doug, thank you!”  “See, I told you Doug would fix things!”   Really guys?  Really??

Well, it’s not purifying water in Guatemala, but it’s a start I suppose!

Hope everyone has a nice Labor Day Weekend


  1. It's a start?! Are you kidding? In their eyes, you DID purify their water and put out a fire. You're a hero, so wear that cape proudly! Or is it in a storage locker in the basement?



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