Monday, January 01, 2018

It seemed fitting

My neighbor Walt made sure there was always a calendar on the bulletin board in our laundry room.

He lived in this building for many decades before he died at age 90 in May 2017. Until 2016, he was a good neighbor. Then he got ... well ... inappropriate. Maybe it was the meds he was taking for the variety of conditions that plagued him. I started avoiding him because he creeped me out so badly.

But that's not the measure of the man, is it? Should all of his many years on earth be judged based on one? So I made a small gesture in his memory. I hung one of the free calendars I received this year, right there on the bulletin board in our laundry room.

Rest in peace, Walt.

How is Napoleon?

Tomorrow I go back into The Loop for the first time in two weeks. For the last week or so, it's been frigid here. It's not predicted to get up to bearable until this weekend ... and then it will snow.

I can't stop thinking about the homeless, both human and furry. Specifically, I've got Napoleon on my mind. This cat's humans -- Caleb and Randi -- can't possibly have raised the $450+ it would take to stay indoors for 10 nights at their preferred shelter, which both offers shower facilities and welcomes pets.

So where has Napoleon been? Is he OK? As my own Reynaldo and I battle over his prescription, chicken-flavored cat food (more than $2/can!) I worry about Napoleon. He had on again/off again bouts of diarrhea before I left for my holiday vacation. That could be serious, that could be nothing. I recommended repeatedly that they should take him to see a vet, but I know that the vet who is familiar with both Napoleon and their situation requires a $45 cash payment before he'll see the cat.

I wonder if Napoleon would be better off at the Anti-Cruelty Society. They don't get that many young cats this time of year, and if his health is sound he may be adopted quickly. But what would that do to Caleb and Randi? They love that cat so much. I am haunted by the memory of her, sitting on the sidewalk in the rain with Napoleon in her lap, crying in the chilly night because she was sure he was ill. Caleb has told me that rescuing Napoleon has given their lives meaning. So while I'm sure Napoleon would do well by being put up for adoption, I'm not sure his humans would recover.

Last time I went to church -- Christmas Eve -- I started to cry, thinking about Napoleon and Caleb and Randi. My darling friend, Henry, usually so compassionate, just kind of glazed over when I told him what was wrong. One of my coworkers has made it plain that she doesn't approve of my relationship with them. Either it embarrasses her that I drop to my knees to talk to them on the corner outside our office, or she thinks they are con artists (or maybe both). My oldest friend doesn't want to hear about them, either. I suppose she has so many of her own problems that this is just too much.

And, I guess, there's the fact that I haven't actually helped them in any lasting way. Over the last
six months I've probably spent just over $100 on them. Not enough to make a real impact on their situation. I have learned that they appreciate being spoken to as people, not "homeless people." Caleb loves talking books, Randi loves talking about Napoleon and hearing about my cats. So I suppose my friendship matters. And I did help Caleb get his teenage shoplifting conviction expunged (though it took too long to help him get that job he was counting on).

I don't know what the point of this post is, really. My heart is full and rather heavy and I thought it would help to get it down. If you're still reading, thank you for listening.

2018 is NOW

Thanks to Kwizgiver, I have chosen a theme word for the upcoming year:

at the present time or moment
I find myself struggling with concentration on the here and now, instead of what had been's or what if's. I realize this is a subset of my 2017 issue/OneWord: FOCUS. I suspect that my 2017 word was too broad and too aspirational. Perhaps that's why I can't point to any single accomplishment last year that I can attribute to FOCUS.
I hope that by narrowing and sharpening my focus (there it is again) on the NOW, I'll be happier and more productive.