It took me some minutes staring down into the bowels of a half-empty cup of cold coffee to actually come to terms with my life, specifically what it's come to in recent years, days even. You see, I do, from time to time, spare a thought on a great many things of some meaning: Do people around the globe have enough healthy and available food to eat? Will the miles of coral reefs off Australia's coast be there for my great, great grandkids to see first hand long after my ashes have settled in some shaded mausoleum? My people, that is to say, the ones I call friends...are they happy and living their best life?
Setting aside hope and prayers for the first two quandaries, I dare say, it's that last bit that kept me lingering longer as I watched that one grain of coffee ground that had escaped the filter, slowly make its way in the opposite direction as I tried poking it off to the sidewall of the cup [in vane]. My people; they are scattered all over God's creation now and so, as we all do, I stay in touch and engage by whatever means we share: a call, text, social media DM and the like.
It was from a recent exchange that I came to a startling realization: my...our lives have taken a turn we couldn't have fathomed some ten-plus years ago. Take for example the shout out to one of my chums via Instagram. Nothing about it seemed unusual at the time; she made a post—hers often being humorous or informative—and I did a quick response and "Like." It's what we do, yes? Keep the connection alive, as fleeting as the moment's instance may be.
Well, that floating coffee ground centered me; it unblurred my vision. It brought me to the realization that I'd been actively maintaining a long-distance relationship with a dog...via her own social media account, no less. "M, this is what your life has come to," I found myself saying out loud into the ether.
Meet Winnie, known to some by @winnie_tha_doo. She is delightful, witty, and at times, quite the cheek. Like my other friends, I can't help being fully engaged by her but, yes, there was that one fresh alarm in my head: she's a dog.
I now digress.
Having achieved quite a bit in my life and with much to be grateful for, I now find myself in a place of constant evolution. And I changed without realizing I had done so. I had kept my nose downwind, only taking note of the norms, what they looked and smelled like. Today, I can't afford to live in the woods, a place where the trees never evolve, where they simply hold station.
I evolved. Instead of waiting for those moments when Winnie and I can visit in person and play catch or tug-of-war with her imitation pizza slice (it's a thing), I'm literally staying in touch via The Gram. And it took the cold light of day for the answer to eventually washed over me like locker room champagne after a Super Bowl victory (sorry Dolphins...not this year, yet again): like any other friend near or far, we do what we do, not because it necessarily makes sense but because, in the end, it's all that matters. It's about our people...regardless of the number of legs or for some, their questionable inclination for sniffing others while saying hello.
Winnie, love ya, babes!
For the sake of the confusion the image above may be causing you, do let me explain: Those of you who know me well or at least, of my peculiarities, you're well aware of my penchant for monk strap shoes...or, for the uncivilized among us, shoes with buckles (dear God). I'll now step out on a shaky branch by saying you may be unaware that there is some solace to be had in the fact that, despite my issue(s), I do own a few pairs of shoes with laces. Hard to perceive; I know. Take your time.
Now then, I bring this up only to put a fine point on something I recently discovered about myself while standing in front of my closet: I have deep-rooted issues with suede. And I'm certain of it being a thing. I have every confidence there are underground, twelve-step program meetings being held to explore the dilemma such as it is.
What I discovered was that I'd been, for the longest while, taking all of my suede shoes for granted, done in a way that now leaves me remorseful. You see, up until recent, they had been blended in with the lot, taking up their place like just another gravel that made up a handful of sand. Standing in the doorway to my small fortune—a phrasing my long-suffering wife would argue as being far off the mark—I realized that I had been wearing less and less of these various pairs of suede shoes.
For those less in the know, I still live in Florida and because of the regular rains forcing me to become very cozy pals with my weather app, I've been made to carefully judge just when I was likely to get away with wearing these little gems without fear of Mother Nature, on her own whims, squatting above and forever blemishing them. The most glaring part of my discovery was that there had been some missed opportunities, ones I can never regain. Regret.
Yes, I am quite regretful in how I've gone about things. It is for this reason that I shall now honor all of my suede dress shoes and sneakers in a manner befitting their stature. They shall be, from hence forth, worn in proper rotation with all the other upstanding citizens that adorn my feet.
So, please join me in the rebirth of my suedes. Should you cross my path on the street or in one of my many haunts, you may feel a sudden obligation to look down and offer a rigid salute or something far more simple like a respectful forty-five degree bow from the waist with your arms pinned to your sides; do so knowing full well that you're aiding in their resurgence...lifting their spirits and renewing their confidence, the one they had when I first raised the lid on their box. Thank you for the kindness.