Do Nothing Slowly

Dearest Rachel –

When my dad retired about ten years ago, he quoted the legendary pitcher Satchel Paige as to how he was going to spend his time:

I’m going to do nothing, and do it slowly.

That has summed up a number of my days since quitting my job, too – especially in those days of “X days to flatten the curve,” wherein X was this ever-growing number until most of us just said “stuff it,” and got back to doing whatever we could get away with.

It hasn’t, on the other hand, described too many days since you left. And that’s generally deliberate, as the silence and inactivity is just the sort of thing to drive home (painfully) the fact that you aren’t here anymore. It’s exactly the sort of thing I want to avoid – I need to avoid.

And yesterday was supposed to be just about as busy a day as any could be; I had been texting another person I had found online. And when the one had extended the offer to me to meet her on Sunday, I thought it might be appropriate to extend a similar such offer to the other (again, bear in mind that I’m trying to avoid names at the moment. Perhaps, since I’ve already used pronouns in my previous letter, I should refer to this girl by her initial, L).

< which actually doesn’t work out terribly well, as – ironically – both the lady I saw on Sunday and the one I had planned to see on Monday shared that same initial. Additionally, the initial ‘L’ doesn’t rule out representing her with an anime character, albeit one that is both a guy and not particularly appealing. Still, you work with what you have>

In any event, meeting up with L would take up most of any given day, since she supposedly lives in Racine, a good hour’s drive north of here and probably then some. So a trip to see her would take several hours just in transit. But Labor Day being Labor Day, I calculated that would be perfect timing for such a meet up – especially given that she is still quite gainfully employed (and has a fairly young son to deal with – although that latter might post some scheduling conflicts for her in and of itself). So I asked if she was available, and she seemed enthusiastic; however, when she asked what the plan was, I admitted I knew nothing about Racine, and could not offer suggestions as to where to meet, let alone where to go from there. And as far as meeting halfway, I’m just about as ignorant about places to go and things to do. As I said to her, the only thing I can think of any significance between Chicago and Racine is Six Flags. Which might well make for a memorable first date, but also seems more geared for her son than the two of us.

That was last Thursday, and I haven’t heard anything from her since. I would send a text each day thereafter, asking about further recommendations for where and when to meet, or even whether she was available Monday or not. Silence.

And without a plan – or even so much as a response – things fall apart. Which, now that I think about it, suited Daniel just fine. I’ve started to notice that, when I’m texting – or emailing – someone, he will ask me, “who are you talking to? Is it [her]? Or L?” Should it be somebody from church, he palpably relaxes. I’m starting to wonder if it bothers him that I’m doing this. He has been averse to the concept of online dating even when he was inclined to date himself; it may be that he has his guard up toward anybody that I might meet out here on the Internet, and I sort of understand that. Even this far, it has definitely been Forest Gump’s proverbial box of chocolates out here, with the occasional evident catfish now and again already. I mean, that page about safety what is the necessary – if scary – bit of warning.

My concern is that it may simply be the fact that I am trying to date that bothers him. After all, I’m going out and doing things on my own, and leaving the house – and the dog – to him to deal with on his own. On the other hand, if I’m essentially imprisoning him, that’s as much his fault as mine, as he has made certain choices that preclude him from anything in public society at this point. We’ve had this conversation several times over, and we have come to an impasse, which makes further discussion on the topic uncomfortable at best, and alienating at worst. So at this point, we have tacitly decided not to bring it up any longer.

The problem is, I can’t really connect to him when he discusses anything else, either. He spent the better part of this morning expounding upon the lore of Castlevania and all its myriad sequels. I try to remain interested for his sake, but I can’t keep up with all the names – Alucard this and Belmont that, and all the others in between – did you deal with this, back in the day?

At some point in the morning, after bringing Chompers in from his alfresco breakfast, both of them fall asleep. considering how my notes tend to be fitful – thanks in part to the dog and his relative inability to sleep at night – I probably should’ve caught myself a nap at the same time; but I just can’t bring myself to do that so relatively early in the morning, not after just having woken up. To be honest, it was probably my most productive time of the day, as I downloaded the Uber app and scheduled my pick up for Thursday morning. My flight to Colorado is at a fairly reasonable hour, somewhat early in the morning, but tolerable. But when you factor in having to be at the airport at least two hours early, well, it gets obscenely early. At least there are ways to schedule things like this, to hold my feet to the fire. Now, I have to be ready by 4:40 am.

I also found myself doing a little more cooking than I usually do these days. By the time mid-afternoon rolled around, I was hungry, and assumed Daniel – who hadn’t even bothered with breakfast – was, too. So I offered to make his leftover pierogies, at which point I discovered that he prefer them boiled to my ears in the air fryer. Well, that will happen sometimes. It’s a little more messy that way, but then, the chorizo omelette I had planned on making for myself was no less so. So I cleaned off the stove and worked on both at once as best I could. I think I managed all right.

But honestly, Honey, that was about everything that I did – we did – today. No plans, no date, no leaving the house, even. Very much a nothing sort of day. The three of us would probably have spent a day like this, in this quiet, companionable silence, doing nothing slowly. But as the three of us, it wouldn’t have been nearly as empty as it is now. I wish you were here, so that I didn’t have to do this, and the fact that I didn’t wouldn’t bother me. But there’s no changing things; we must play the cards we have been dealt. Would that you were looking over my shoulder, advising me as to which card to play now and again.

As always, honey, wish me luck.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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