Friday, November 25, 2011

Just Another Warning Light

I really needed to laugh. I really, really needed a laugh. "It's just another warning light, what's one more?" My sister had asked why the brake light stayed on as we drove to the grocery in my steadfast Ford Windstar. As we headed south on 95, I explained the recent history with this noble vessel, our family's only transportation. I could see the recall notices all trailing behind, fluttering to rest in the breakdown lane. So the brake light, joining the check engine and a rattling sounding like a loose cookie sheet fixed by one corner to the underside of the van sent us both into gales of laughter.

She understands. Not only the charms of the 2000 Windstar, but the charms of past due notices, unflattering mathematical projections for next month, waking in the night with the oil tank empty, the sense the Black Friday could only be a very pale shade of gray for shoppers of our liquidity, or perhaps more appropriately Further Into the Red Friday, fridges and cupboards that have a bit of an echo from time to time, sinking down in our collars whenever the words "financial" and "future" appear in the same sentence.

It's been a challenging few months. Challenging like Shackleton's guys finding South Georgia, only without all that British skill and stoicism. After a lot of agonizing, we've moved to North Haven island for the winter. I'm dreadfully homesick. I'm also pretty well wretching every time I try to figure out how we earn enough to get through the winter without losing our home on Matinicus, and, for me, without losing my beloved boat.

I never had even the slightest difficulty sleeping until recently. Now I have not the slightest difficulty waking up at 2:30 AM, my brain inventorying the vastness of our predicaments before the rest of me is fully conscious.

I must be an almost pathological optimist. I've done a lot of what I do best- music, law, fishing, and been a colossal financial flop all the way round. I still like what I do and the eccentric collection of work experience. I actually still like being myself, living my own way. You have to ignore a lot of warning lights on your dashboard to have that kind of outlook.

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