Life Might Not be a Bowl of Cherries

I just got news my idyll is coming to an end. I’ve been mostly lounging around the past week or so, as if I were on some sort of spa weekend instead of merely housesitting, but today the house owners texted me and said they were coming home.

I’ll still have a place to stay for a few days. When I mentioned leaving, she said, “Oh, no. You have to stay until Saturday.” She’s having her book club meeting here on Saturday, and I have been invited, though I still don’t know whether I’m to be the guest of honor, sort of a writer-in-residence, or if I’m to be a sacrificial goat. (A poor attempt at humor. I’m sure the invitation is more that . . . well, that I am an author, and it is a book club.)

cherriesI had planned to leave town for a few days next week, maybe practice camping for a night or two to make sure it’s something I want to do before I spend the rest of my savings on gear, but without a car, it’s hard to go anywhere. I could walk, of course, but we are having a spell of wickedly hot weather, and besides, it would take me two or three days just to walk out of town. I’m sure people would frown on my camping in their yards for the interim nights, or horror of horrors, finding me behind a city bush doing my business.

There are many differences between walking and hiking, most of which are uncomfortable, such as uneven footing and heavy packs when hiking, but the one difference I do appreciate is that when one is hiking, every bush has the possibility of being a restroom if one needs to go. (Hmm. Maybe I’m being indelicate? If so, scratch the last sentence.)

I wonder how I will feel when my car is finally finished. Nervous, perhaps. I haven’t driven in almost three months, and when I did, I was driving a throwaway car. After all, the thing is 43-years-old and it looked its age, with multiple dents and rust spots, so it didn’t really matter what happened to it. But after spending half of a fortune to get the body fixed up, it will be a responsibility. And I like having no responsibilities.

Apparently, the car is worth something, especially since it has the original engine, and even more especially since I have the repair bills for the past 35 years. (I don’t know what happened to the first ten years of bills or why I have the rest. I guess after ten years, I figured I needed paperwork to prove the low mileage. It has less than 160,000 miles on it.) The bug will be worth more after the body work is finished since he’s doing a true restoration, not just patching the dents and such with whatever goop it is that cheap body shops use. I have to remember my sole reason for getting the car fixed is so that when/if I finally take that cross-country trip, I won’t look like a bag lady in a rattletrap. And it will be even more of a conversation piece when it looks good than when it looked . . . not good. And for someone like me who is reluctant to talk to strangers, it’s good to give them an excuse to approach.

Here I am again, talking about what I am going to do. I feel silly at times still talking about my possible plans as if I’m all mouth and no action, but the truth is, I am doing things. Getting my car restored. Learning to live an unsettled life. Researching trails and backpacking equipment. Continuing to take dance classes, even though in a couple of classes I am way out of my depth. (In one sequence of steps in ballet class today, we were supposed to relevé on the left foot, bring the right foot to passé, and then do a backward turn — a turn to the right. The others turned as instructed. I just stood there, feeling foolish and inept. How the heck does one spin around on one foot when there is no momentum? I so do not belong in that class! And yet, there I stay, at least for now.)

Well, I still have one more night to myself, so I’ll log off. I hope you have as good an evening as I intend to have. Did I mention I have cherries to munch on? Life might not be a bowl of cherries, but still, a bowl of cherries is a nice thing to have.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.