Life is Short

Posted on Tuesday 29 July 2008

I had only been to this funky, strictly local place twice, both times with my crazy friend who is no longer my friend like she used to be. Within seconds of meeting the bartender who’d worked there for 25-plus years, he told me, “Forgetting the blond hair, you have got to be Ginger from Gilligan’s Island. Right?”

Ha!

And so I had a nickname at a place I’d never been to. He added “Gal” to the end of this nickname, making it “Ginger-Gal.” Perfect.

But not two weeks to the day that this bartender everyone except me had known for years, he died. Of a heart attack. Quite suddenly. Quite shockingly. I was Ginger-Gal no more because he was no more. “Yeah, he gave nicknames to everyone he liked,” remarked a friend of my crazy friend who is so changed as my friend.

Life is so short that no one even knew the nickname he gave me except me. And now he is gone, his face a memory on a T-shirt for sale above the bar he tended for so long.

“Any money we make goes for flowers at the funeral,” said a co-worker. I would pay for multiple bouquets to hear him say my nickname again because it was so funny. And now it is so sad, because life is so short.

My crazy friend is angry at me for imagined transgressions that only 5th grade girls would truly understand. Because life is short, I wrote her a heartfelt email explaining why her misgivings about me are nothing more than stupid bullshit, but I said it better than that. I said it well enough in an email to make her cry. But she got it and she said she still wanted to be friends and meet again this week to really be friends again. I guess she also got it that life is very short.

RG Daughter was here for five days and we never fought. Not once. She saved my life during this move. She was my best girl. I will never forget these past five days. Because life is short, and so were these past five days. Too short.

Just when I was starting to feel confident at work, I feel like everything I do is wrong again. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I feel like the rug that is forever being pulled out from under me is yet again, gone. I really thought that this time….

Life is so short. Maybe sometimes those who pull it out from under you haven’t caught up with the warp speed in which it passes. It is painful when this happens, because life is short, and you don’t get too many chances to get it right when the rug is forever out of reach.

My new apartment is beautiful. The grounds, the setting, the views–they are all incredible. I walked my dog at half past midnight tonight and wasn’t afraid, because the layers of security here are that great. I now have a false sense of my life being a little less short, because of this.

For reasons I cannot explain, the flickering lights of the enormous flat-screen TVs on the mega-yachts I see from my balcony make me sad. Because I know a member of the crew is watching TV this time of year, never the owner this time of year. And I wonder where the owner of any one of these mega yachts is while one of their crew members is watching their enormous flat-screen TVs. Do they even care about this yacht in my front yard? Is life so short that a yacht bigger than any house I have ever owned is quickly forgotten by the owner in the off season so that a crew member can munch bagged popcorn and lounge against weather-proof designer pillows he will never own and watch the yacht owner’s flat screen TV? Is life that f—ing short and seemingly meaningless?

“I just moved here four days ago,” slurs the young drunk girl at my beach bar, where I am swilling a glass of wine after my double shift. “My dad owns a million-dollar condo, so that’s where I am living, you know?”

Sure, baby. Life is short. Very, very short. Drink your wine. Live in Daddy’s condo. Care less. Never know my nickname given to me by a bartender who died last week. Never know what it means to scrimp and scrap and save and hope to make all the ends meet.

Life is so very, very short. I gotta shake the melancholy that is threatening to settle in. Or I have to change my life, once again. It’s just so short. You know?

7 Comments for 'Life is Short'

  1.  
    Leda
    July 29, 2008 | 2:52 am
     

    I spent my evening rocking my four-month-old nephew who is moving six hundred miles away tomorrow. Yes, it crossed my mind that life is short as I looked down at the boy who won’t recognize me the next time I hold him.

  2.  
    July 29, 2008 | 3:51 am
     

    Yup, life is short and the ending is almost always unexpected. It’s why we have to enjoy the journey and not keep putting life off until we reach the destination.

  3.  
    July 29, 2008 | 4:43 am
     

    I was listening to a song by Mike and the Mechanics in the car this morning. It’s called ‘The Living Years’ and I cried and I cried. But everything makes e cry at the moment. So ten minutes before i read your blog I had just realised that life is short!!

  4.  
    July 29, 2008 | 8:00 am
     

    I know a sweet old fellow. When I was a teenager I used to babysit his grandkids once in a while when they came into town. I used to wear a necklace that had a pendant of Big Bird holding an N. He could never remember my name so it was no surprise that he asked me what the ‘N’ was for. I decided to be funny and say “Nachos”. And from that day forth I was Nachos to him. I have fond memories of him driving me back home after babysitting. He has a deep baritone voice and he would sing me songs. In recent years he has become legally blind. I see him every once in a while when I am in town visiting my folks. I always go up to him and his wife will say, “It’s Nachos” because he can’t see me anymore. And I give him a big hug. To him I will always be Nachos.

  5.  
    July 29, 2008 | 8:45 am
     

    I’m sorry about your friend. Even though you didn’t know him very long, yes, he was a friend. Hang in there, honey. You’re just surfing a couple of lows right now… Big hug.-J

  6.  
    July 29, 2008 | 9:51 am
     

    Yes…I know. You rock, RG. Keep on rocking…

  7.  
    Rhonda
    July 29, 2008 | 12:42 pm
     

    I spent yesterday evening beginning to plan a baby shower for a friend after spending the day helping her 18 year old chose his classes for his semester at college (morning sickness had kicked her butt and she wasn’t able to do it). Life has really pulled the rug out from beneath her too. She had finally found the nerve to leave the husband that never deserved her only to discover that she is pregnant and “needs” him all over again.

    I found myself thinking about you when she was breaking the news and weighing her options. I wish that she had even half the courage you have displayed in the past year. She is so afraid of change and so unwiling to believe in herself that she has trapped herself into being miserable and it breaks my heart because as you said……life is too short.

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