Saturday, April 15, 2006

Danger: Whining Ahead

I have to admit, I don’t often think about being fifty years old. I don’t let myself go there. And when I do, I honestly can not believe it. There’s something about being middle aged and childless. Without an ensuing generation to put one’s age in perspective, one just does not accept that one has attained the age that one has. Fifty? C’mon…a couple of years ago, I was cringing as I inched toward the big 3-0. This coming October, I will have been married for the big 3-0. My oldest niece just turned 36. There is a cognitive dissonance here that surpasses all understanding.

But this…this is one of those nights that I’m really feeling my age. And then some. My knee joints feel like they’ve been injected with spray-foam insulation. If I bend over to pick up one more thing heavier than, say, a piece of kleenex, my spine will split in half just below my waist. My fingers, toes and ankles are snapping, crackling, and popping as energetically as any breakfast cereal. Much as I can’t believe it and I hate to admit it, my little business is beginning to outstrip my physical capabilities. To put it bluntly, I’m too old for this crap!

Today, husband and I dragged ourselves out of bed at sparrow fart (well, the sparrow was blowing bubbles in the liquid air, anyway…) to be hot dog/espresso/hot chocolate vendor at the county’s official Easter Egg Hunt. Easter. Doesn’t that holiday call forth images of daffodils swaying in warm breezes, blue and yellow sky, snuggly bunnies and downy yellow chickies cavorting in the soft green grass…? In Columbia County Oregon, Easter apparently means winter temperatures, sideways rain and hail pelting the pastel balloons attached to the canopy I had to erect over my service window to protect my erstwhile patrons from drowning. Which would, as the wind whipped the fabric of the canopy, occasionally vomit torrents of trapped water onto the heads of them as might be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. It took all our customers’ strength to force their clawlike fingers to hand me their soaked bills. The look of gratitude in their eyes when we pressed paper cups full of hot liquid into their frozen hands was painful to behold.

I’m sitting here trying to come up with words for how awful today’s event was… It cannot be described. All I can say is, all at once, I came to the realization that I am about two millimeters from the end of my rope with this thing. After nine hours of grueling, cold, slimy, grinding labor, we ended up making about $100. NOT worth the effort. Not anywhere close.

So far this season, we have been frozen, drowned, last-minuted, cancelled, mechanically challenged, and negative cash-flowed. I have about developed an ulcer worrying about my $20,000 “new” vehicle succumbing to a threatened $3000 break-down, or my five-year-old gigantic red elephant of a trailer dying a premature death, as oversized animals are wont to do. And taking me with it. If things do not change significantly, Café de la Rue will not survive past October of 2006.

Riding home next to the husband (whose eyes were glued to the side-view mirror because he swore he saw smoke coming from the back of the truck and/or the wheels of the trailer) I had the most overwhelming feeling of failure. I felt like, “…and this is what I have to show for the last four years.” A darkness settled in my match the somber clouds spitting needle-like rain onto the windshield.

I want a place of my own. Indoors. In a building. That I can go to every day. Like a real person, with a real job. Please, can I have just this one little slice of...what seems to come so easily to everyone else?


Cynthia said...

I am sorry your day sucked so. Hang in there. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that building, that indoor space to come to reality.

Theresa Williams said...

I just turned 50 in January. My husband and I went for a walk next to the river yesterday. It was sunny and warm, a little too warm, actually. But I noticed that 5 mile walk was a little harder than it was last year.

Globetrotter said...

I am so sorry you had such a bad time of it this past weekend. It sounded dreadful to be sure. But think of how many people were so grateful to you for that hot coffee? You could have probably charged them double! Then again... $200 would probably not have changed your state of mind.

Turning 50 for me was horrible. 40 went by without a blink. In truth, at 49, I still felt like I was 35. Then 50 hit and I aged by decades over night. It was all mental actually... though now, 4 years later I realize that at 50 I felt like 20 compared to the way I feel now!

The only observation I can make about the childless part is that the truck with a possible $3000 repair job would have been the last thing on your mind if you had kids today. Instead, at 50ish you might be like me... still paying off college loans, putting at least a couple hundred bucks in each son's bank account each week just so they can pay their school loans or eat, never mind health insurance which they don't have... Or possibly you'd be taking out loans for a wedding as my other friends with girls are doing. One actually second mortgaged her home to give the daughter a $45K wedding! At least I am only worrying about the bar tab for my eldest son's upcoming wedding.

Life goes on, and I am just grateful I feel better this week. Sometimes the best thing about getting sick is realizing how important health is, and how insignificant everything else is.

I really hope your week is better, Lisa.


Gannet Girl said...

Well, if it makes you feel any better, which I guess it won't,a friend (age 58) and I (52) spent an hour on the phone this afternoon trying to figure out what to do about the rest of our lives.

emmapeelDallas said...

Aaaaarrrgggh, I so relate to this. Hang in have more company than you realize.


Robbie said...

I'd offer you a job but I've made myself promise to never work with friends again. It's funny how fast a friendship can sour.

My suggestion would be to park the Cafe La Rue at the end of the driveway. Plop down a couple of plastic tables and chairs from Target and become a stationary entity.

Oh. And, who the hell goes out in that kind of weather for an Easter Egg Hunt???? I would be thrilled to make a $100 on a day like that if I were you.

Crestline Kathy said...

I can relate and I'm just 43 now but being single, childless and no prospects for that to change in the near future always looms in the back of my mind. Who will be there for me when I'm old? Facing old age alone is scary. I do at least have the indoor job where I'm warm and dry and a nice home in the mountains (we got snow last night) to come to at the end of the day and a fat cat who loves me.

Interesting blog, I'll have to pop in once in a while.