By Fred Owens
A woman who lives on Whidbey Island told me I should follow my passion. Allowing myself that pleasure, I immediately thought of myself in the shade of an umbrella, next to Laurie, by a hotel swimming pool, sipping a gin and tonic and reading a book or magazine. No work. That is my passion. A hotel room isn't home, but there is nothing in it that reminds me of work. You look at the windows and you don't think they might need to be washed. Nothing needs to be fixed. No towels to be folded. Plants and flowers in the garden are tended and watered by somebody else. And some other somebody takes out the trash. But I don't give any of that a thought, except to watch the children splash and play in the pool. I might notice the ice melting in my glass of gin and tonic. I might have some vague yearning for a sandwich or a snack at some time. I could lean further back in the lounge chair and rest my eyes. With my eyes closed, I might more easily hear the sounds of children and the song of birds, and the hum of traffic in the distance, all sounds harmonized in the daily symphony of people doing things. Except me, I'm not doing anything. Not today. That is my passion.
Sweeping the Sidewalk. I have three very good gardening customers. They have beautiful gardens and they treat me well. But things are getting a bit routine. Like every week I go to Keith's house and sweep the debris off the sidewalk -- that part of the sidewalk underneath the jacaranda tree which is always shedding something. So I sweep it. Every week. I am reminded of Keith's instructions. "Do not sweep the debris in the street. That is the responsibility of the city crew." Except the city crew never comes and the debris piles up and it's a bit unsightly. But I don't touch it. I just sweep the sidewalk, according to his instructions, every week. Why doesn't the wind blow all the leaves away into someone else's yard? Then I would not have to sweep. I would get to weed instead, on my hands and knees. I did that for two hours last week. A heroic effort if you ask me. After two hours of weeding I filled the green recycle bin with green detritus which is my signal that I have done enough for that week.
This is getting kind of boring. I could use a challenge, a horticultural challenge, something to stir the energy, some project where I could make enough money to stay in that hotel mentioned above, the follow-my-passion swimming pool, which comes after I complete the horticultural-passion segment.
Sage Ends. Now for the writing-passion segment. I got 5,000 words into a story about "Sage, the woman who did what she wanted." The story takes place in 1969 and I found it fully absorbing, going back to a time when I was much younger. I had thought to make a novel of this story and go to 40,000 words and take several months to complete. But that longer effort is not possible at this time. I already have two novels and three memoirs written and unpublished. So why would I write a third novel about "Sage, the woman who did what she wanted." Because it is not my passion to write something that will not get published. There is some personal therapeutic value in this, but the labor is large and the reward is slight. So we have to bid Sage a fond farewell. The actually real person who inspired this story -- she is 76 years old and, we hope, living well, unrepentant, possibly in Santa Cruz near the beach.
Cancelling Student Debt. The only issue -- many of them are very important -- but the only issue to get me fired up is this one that we hear from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Student dept is a huge burden to younger folk. The terms of a debt can be re-negotiated. You can lower the interest rate, you can stretch out the payments, you stay in touch with the bank, but basically they will settle for ten cents on the dollar if that is all they can get. But I will remind the younger folks with this burden of debt that Warren is not going to do this for you. YOU will do it. You will organize your fellow debtors and come up with a plan. Warren and others will simply stand out of your way and cheer you on.
To Impeach or not to Impeach. I think this is up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If she says to impeach, if she sees that path, then I'm with her.
Last minute addition. Joe Biden is in the race. Go Joe! There are now 18 candidates at last count for the Democratic nomination. One candidate will emerge as the leader and 17 candidates will take second place. My purpose in this process is to ensure that the 17 losers unite in support of the winner, because if we fall apart into bitter factions we will lose to Trump in 2020. But if we stay together as a team we can win. Go Joe! Go Team! Beat Trump!
Happy Days to one and all,