I woke up this morning to the sudden blast of the radio and the realization that I had forgotten to put my laundry from last night in the dryer. I’ve done this every single time I’ve done a wash down here. I’m horrible at remembering these things and I pay for them in water and electricity when I’ve got to do the load all over again. And as I sit here and write this, the “re-done” clothes are still sitting there in the washing machine. I’ve got the most dreadful feeling that I’m going to forget about them once again, only to have to re-wash the clothes one more time. You laugh, but it’s happened. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
As I was laying in bed, I also thought about yesterday’s post. I thought about my bouts of negativity and the ways I choose to express them. I wonder if people have gotten sick of me through the years, when I talk about the less pleasant things in life – and then I thought about Anthony. You see, when I hop into bed at night, I bring my phone with me. I do this because I’m in the middle of reading “Lord of the Rings” and my phone is what I choose to read it on. When I wake up in the morning, it’s all too easy to just reach over and grab my phone off the night stand. It only takes a few seconds to read the emails that have come in overnight and early in the morning. Anthony likes to leave comments and I like to wake up with them waiting for me.
I became concerned about writing things that are abrasive a few years ago. I talked to Laura about it and I hinted that I really wanted to start writing things that were more chipper and happy. She looked at me with disgust and said, “Why would you want to do that? If people don’t want to read it, they don’t have to.” I thought about what she said, but kept my decision of what I would do a secret. I decided to go the happy route.
The thing is, being pleasant is boring. There are few things in my life more satisfying that giving my old friend from up north a call to complain about the state of the world. About how the school systems are running rampant and about the degradation of society as a whole. We agree that if someone can’t or won’t recognize this, there’s something wrong with them. I enjoy these phone calls and they give me a sort of affirmation that my personality isn’t some type of an outlier, but more the type that’s often thought of but rarely spoken of. And actually, I have many friends who think like this. We’ve had number of conversations that end in something like, “I don’t know man. People are screwed.”
I’ll be honest with you when I say that I love this way of life. But I’ll also be honest with you when I say that I now know how regular old men become grumpy old men. And I have a newfound respect for them. I only wish that I knew a few grumpy old men so I could ask them about their stories and ask them about what made them grumpy.
There’s a kid in my Jiu-Jitsu class who just moved in with his girlfriend. They’re both eighteen years old and have a very bright outlook on life. He’s already told me about all the living space he’s got and how they had a party and how everyone loves their new apartment. I almost felt bad when I lost all control of my jaw, and in a very surreal manner, heard the following words escape from my lips: “Bigger isn’t always better my friend. Please be careful about what you want in life. Look at things closely and realize that each and every idea you desire is going to cost you labor. There’s a direct relationship between your wants and how much work is required to pay for them.”
I felt bad. I felt as if I had rained on this kid’s parade, but felt vindicated when he responded with something like, “Don’t worry man. Publix takes good care of me. All I have to do is ask for more hours.” Ah, nothing like living on the edge.
I think about younger generations a lot. These types of thoughts actually consume much of my brain activity during my waking hours. I’m not sure why I’ve chosen to travel down this route, but I guess it is what it is. And this morning, as I replay last night’s conversation with my buddy from Jiu-Jitsu, I feel like I should still corner him and force him to listen to a few stories. I want to tell him about all the things my friends and I talk about and about how he’s truly standing at the precipice of his life. It’s a blank slate and the choices he makes today will affect him forever. I wanted to let him behind the curtain of how men find themselves in their thirties, trying to fall asleep, only to lay there, staring at their bedroom ceiling for hours, wondering about what they’ve become and how they’ve ended up there. Only if someone had stood up and said no. No to all the things that make you smile and no to all the things that will bind you later on in life. If people want their tomorrows to be free and vibrant, they’re going to have to forgo a bit from their todays. That’s how it works. It’s the old story of the squirrel and the grasshopper. I sometimes think I’m an evangelist for the squirrels. But let me tell you, I haven’t made many friends telling people to stop doing what they’re doing.
The Squirrel and the Grasshopper
The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building and improving his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed, the shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
It’s like when my father used to tell me to turn off the lights when I wasn’t in the room.
“Why? All my friends leave their lights on.”
“You’ll see when you have to start paying the electric bill.”
“Dad, I’m going to be rich, so I won’t have the same problems you have.”
What an idiot. I was such a stupid idiot and it’s only today that I wish I was forced to sit through a meeting between my parents and me. I wish they had shown me everything and put all the bills on the table. I wish they had given me a monthly total of what needed to be paid for and how much “Daddy” made. If I wanted to leave the lights on, Daddy only had to cut down one more tree. If I wanted to leave the door open during the winter, Daddy only had to stand at the log splitter for one more hour. It’s no wonder he always used to threaten me with showing up to my own house when I was older, only to walk in and flip on all the lights. He was the one doing all the work and I was the one trying to spend all the money. Life is weird and kids need to be taught about it with a firmer hand.
But honestly folks, this isn’t what I wanted to write about today and I’m almost sorry for going off on a tangent. Almost sorry.
There seems to be a growing trend out there that has to do with tiny houses. They’re cropping up all over the place and, in some locales, they’re changing the landscape of what we’ve known about living for years and years. While the late nineties and early to mid two thousands brought an onslaught of what we’ve termed, “McMansions,” the late two thousands are bringing us something quite different. Tiny houses.
NEED TO KNOW | Living large: A look inside the tiny house movement | PBS
I have to tell you, I simply love the idea of tiny houses. Researching, building and living in something like this truly sticks it to everything I’ve come to not believe in. Home Depot won’t make their money selling eighty different variations of lighting fixtures and toilet seats, Lowe’s won’t make their money selling hundreds of colors and types of carpet and Wal-Mart won’t make their money selling oodles of plastic appliances people never thought they needed until the past ten years were sprung upon us. Tiny houses release their occupants of all the misery and tension of being overworked and house-poor. Space and efficiency become a concern and every single decision matters. I like that. Thought and consideration. It’s almost as if the gears of the mind are required to turn once more.
There’s a guy up in Vermont, named Derek Diedricksen, who runs a website called, RelaxShacks.com. He’s pretty much committed his life to the movement and I’d say that’s admirable. I’ve watched a few videos of his (Youtube Channel) and I envy the way he’s able to converse with those who are so interested in what he does. Just the types of people he speaks with on a daily basis bring a smile to my face. They’ve said they’ve had it with the way things are and have decided to do something about it.
In one of the videos, Derek interviewed a guy who had lived in a larger house, but decided it wasn’t for him. He moved onto a friend’s land while he saves for and builds his tiny house. He’s also saving for the piece of land he hopes to put it on, but mentions that he’d love to stay on his friend’s land – if his friend will go for it. Wow. What a concept. Using something that’s already owned, but not currently being used. I’ve had that idea for such a long time but just a few days ago came to realize that it may never happen. It was a bad talk. One that Laura didn’t want to hear because she’s tougher than I am and one where I vowed to make our idea happen, even if it was the last thing I ever did. Making these ideas a reality is difficult at times, but I think with perseverance and hard work on my part, something will come from nothing. That’s also how it works.
Those are my thoughts for this lovely Wednesday morning. I’m still very sore from lat night’s Jiu-Jitsu training, so I figured I’d sit here and write. Please give me your reactions in the comment area down below. Come one, come all – please write.