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The Places to come and questions left behind

There’s time to still consider things I am told. At work, I hear this.

Are you sure this is what you want to do? I am so jealous but why Asia? What will you do after this fling?

I thought through all the things before I decided to do something completely different. Work is just not something I want to do any longer. I feel that my spirit is slowly suffocating with weekend calls, last minute emergencies, evening webex sessions. So I am pretty sure that I want to do this.

The next question is interesting about jealousy and Asia. People, I think want a change. Life is about change yet some are not willing to take a calculated risk or face the unknown. Its easier to just propel along the known tracks and never want to see that less traveled road. People are basically afraid. The other question about Asia is a good one too. The reason I chose Asia is because I love the aspects of it. I’ve spent years there in various and sundry places working, playing, traveling through. Now I want something that is not just another business trip in 10 days in three countries. Nor do I want a backpack trip where I have to control every last thing I decide to do financially and sit in a hostel with a bunch of folks in a dorm setting. I want a quality of life that I will never have here in the Bay Area or in most places on this continent. In other words, Asia is change and the unknown and I am ready. I want to sit for a spell by the lake in Hanoi and enjoy Pho. I want to wander Angkor Wat in the morning. I want to feel the sleepy slumber time of a neighborhood street in Osaka with a cheap bento box for lunch and dinner of beer and a instant bowl of noodles if I so want.

For the last question; there is no after. I have never had an after. I don’t plan a thing and say,

great! But what will I do after.

That is not a thing for me. The after soon becomes the now and then you are left with a whole galaxy or universe of afters to worry about. Its much better to me to control the now and let the afters come. Will I go to Thailand after Cambodia? Will I get to China or India? Perhaps. Maybe I will just stay somewhere else.

I do know there are train trips to do. One is from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Another is from Chiang Mai Thailand to Singapore. Train trips also around Japan on the fabled Shinkansen Bullet trains where I will speed along at 250 and marvel at the world rushing by and hearing the hush of conversations by the day workers on their commutes. Or perhaps subway rides in the big circle in Tokyo my days there. Watching the bustle of Tokyo and the school children and the workers and the tourists all rushing and there I am ambling along with a camera and a phone. I fit in yet I am separate.

So in answer to the well-meaning colleagues at work. There is no after. There is now. I love the questions about things. One asked as a finale why a life of travel. I gently reinforced to that person that this is not travel. This is wandering and being a hobo with no place to end up preset.

Reading Stuff

Reading is good. I’ve read a few articles about whether holding a physical book is the best or whether one should get electronic bits and bytes for reading. I personally do not read that many physical books since I like the ease of having a Kindle Paperwhite device.

These little devices make it easier to travel and holding one is with one hand is painless. I enjoy the act of reading on it quite a bit. But, as usual, I wonder if there is a better way to read. Perhaps a device that can fulfill a variety of functions at the same time. Like a smaller form factor tablet. My favorite tablet of all time was the Google Nexus 7 tablet. I enjoyed how well the little thing was put together. I’ve embraced, albeit hesitantly, a new ecosystem by Apple. Its “i” this and that for me. So, I started looking at an iPad. I don’t want a 9.7 inch or 10.5 inch. If I want to get one it has to be small and easy to read on. Then I looked at the Apple iPad Mini 4.

The advantage to a tablet for reading is the rest of the ecosystem. I can combine devices when I leave and have one that does more. I have never held or used the Mini 4 but I believe the form factor would be better for reading. The idea of a brighter screen and being able to consume other media is attractive. The battery life seems good.

But what is better for reading? Which one will make reading better for me? I don’t know. I could get a tablet and the Apple smart cover for a little over $450 and probably could go cheaper if I found a used 64gb one. Apple stopped making those. Too cheap I guess 🙂

So, now I must consider whether to stay with my trusty Kindle or get another tablet. A few salient points arrive.

  1. the tablet has a good battery life I assume but I don’t think its near what the Kindle can do. I judge the Kindle wins the battery life contest.
  2. the kindle can only do one thing. I cannot listen to music on the same device or watch some movie or other. I can do that on a tablet like the Mini 4. The tablet wins this one.
  3. Portability. I think the kindle is smaller and more focused in use but the tablet offers more use. This is a tie.

I think I need to test one out and see how it is reading using the Kindle reader on it. The final fact when talking about using an application is that there is an ecosystem and application style behind the tablet and not so much with the Kindle. The Kindle does one thing. The tablet could fulfill a variety of functions.

I still don’t know why if I want to listen to music somewhere or read mail or do other things I could not just use my iPhone 7 plus. It seems big enough and I could probably just read on it too. There’s something about the screen size that throws me. Perhaps its a thing about it being a phone. I will have to consider.

Reading though is important and how I do it is. I have found so many books now for my Kindle I will not run out for months or even years.

Thanksgiving 2017 – moments in time sublime

It’s Thanksgiving. Long weekend with no work and a few things to be thankful for. I guess I think of the same things each year when the big holidays come around. This year though is different. There are things that are going to happen which change things up quite a bit. I always consider the things that I have and don’t have and I think each group have elements to be thankful for. Let’s see if I can get them and you can see how your things perhaps are better or more inclusive. Maybe I’m wrong for the things.

  1. I have my kids and I’m thankful for them. They both are interesting, fun, sometimes irritating. They both are supposedly adults now so its interesting to plot how my thanks have changed. I need them and they need me less. When they do need me its something different than when they were 5 or 10. The needs are fewer and farther between. And yes… I’m thankful for that. Because that leads to the second point somehow.
  2. I have less responsibilities and ownership. Life is more minimal and I sit here after drinking a bit too much beer last night and after breakfast out at Carls Junior thinking about that less of things. Many have families and mortgages and loans and debt and homes and cars and miles to go before they sleep. I have less of those things. My debt is mine to own now. It’s so little at this point that its another thing to be thankful for. With less comes the ability to have more. More independence and ability to pick up and go with fewer things to manage. I could never indulge my third thing unless there was less of these things.
  3. I’m thankful that I can soon not just travel but experience the world out there on my terms. I feel I’ve paid the different gods and have reached that point where things are not owed and time has been returned to me. A wonderful feeling that could be scary but its a thing I’m thankful for nonetheless.
  4. I’m thankful I figured out a few concepts around marriage and friendship and have so-called acquaintances or colleagues and I came out the other side of them all. I’ve realized the greatest thing is not finding someone else to share life with but finding things in life that are good and if there is another person to share its okay but not required. Figuring this out meant I could bid adieu to work colleagues and even work itself. That leads to a final thanks.
  5. I found a work thing which has been beneficial to me and for me and for them. I’ve been able to deliver truly large integration projects that have mixed up cloud and premised data centers with large vendors and I’m trusted to simply deliver and manage. But a work thing has an end state. No one should just continue to work until all is done and there are no more mysteries to cross off the list. I’m thankful for the promotions and awards and bonuses which have allowed a few of the other things. The real thing though is the opposite of work. That is play folks. Play is waiting. Like a child puzzling over that half unwrapped Christmas gift I can only see the few end states of leaving next March and not returning. The rest requires additional play and time and meeting the other “thanks” categories.

Let me ask you all what are you thankful for? Do you see a path forward or is the path still a plan in process. I’ve puzzled it over since my divorce and felt at first the sting of loss and almost bereavement. Now I see that things have happened a certain way and perhaps as my friend and mentor RWR would say of doing archeology “find the idea”. I have found it Rog. It was there all along but sometimes the closest things to your eyes and mind are most cunningly hidden.

Such as the things this wonderful day I am thankful for. I know they don’t encompass Thanksgiving dinners and pies and family moments. For those I leave to you all. They are worthy things if you find worth in them.

Travel Plans and Itineraries

Planning for a long trip (not a vacation) means a few things. By long, I don’t mean rushing through 9 countries in 3 months and declaring done. Instead, one must adopt the slow pace to the countries and move in, take up residence, travel in the new home. I’ve set a few places now in my itinerary and made a few decisions about how I manage things here. Gonna cover the decisions first and then the itinerary.

Decisions to be made or have been made

Finances. I believe that this a tough one. So many choices of how to do things. Do I get a prepaid travel card, credit card, use my existing Bank of America. I actually stopped in yesterday to talk with the BofA representative and while I agree with most of what he said, I believe a credit card is not necessary for someone like me that is completely opposed to their evil. Instead, I opened a Capital One 360 checking account all online and linked my BofA account to it. There are advantages to the Capital One account like transaction fees, online services that already have the banks linked to each other, a lot of good reviews by expats on the service, and finally not having all the “beans” in one bucket. I can decide how to move money around between accounts and use the Capital One account for daily things when I need a debit card. The real thing is cash I think and a way to carry cash securely. You have heard of money belts, secret compartments, fake wallets. I believe a simple $15 to $20 dollar neck wallet is the way to go here. It would be pretty hard to take something hanging around my neck. The real thing with finances though is to manage them when traveling. I have to practice a new way of thinking about money when I get there.

Phone Service. We know that most financial institutions want a phone number to text you at. There are choices here. I could buy a VOIP account and install the client on my iPad Pro. I could use Skype and buy a real number. I could just use Google Voice with what I have. The issue may be that it does not work in some places. That’s without a decent VPN solution. Once you factor in something like ExpressVPN, more choices and alternatives emerge. I can use a local number and get SMS messages, set calls to forward where I want, and make calls on Hangouts for a small cost. The best part of this is there is no new hardware to buy or phones to get for this.

Postal Services. This is a big one guys. What to do with my snail mail service? I cannot just leave it going to a place I am not at nor just buy something like a mailbox where I never know if I get something I need to act on or need emergency forwarding to a hotel in Thailand. Enter virtual mailbox services. For about $100 a year I can receive all mail there with a real address, get the mail imaged or destroyed, and never worry whether my daughter can act on a thing fast enough when she has her own things in her own life. So I will buy a virtual mail service and have all my mail forwarded to that address. With that real address I get flexibility and I get a year’s coverage. For the cost, this is a secure and flexible alternative to the usual issues.

IRS for fun and profit. I have not figured this out yet. But I have a year to deal with it after this next filing. There are solutions out there that expats use. I just need to lock in to one that works. Perhaps e-filing is an option.

Destinations

I started studying destinations about 6 months ago when the plan started taking shape. I wanted to spend longer times in countries that are cheaper and shorter times in places that cost. Here’s the so-called itinerary for your consideration.

Japan. This is an expensive place but there is a part of me linked there somehow so I will spend two weeks traveling in Japan. I’ll get back to Tokyo for 5 days, get to HIroshima for 5 days, and then end in Osaka for 4 days. This will cost a bit but I only do 2 weeks there because of cost. Japan is also a gateway place for me to go on.

Vietnam. I will spend six months split between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. I plan on seeing what each place has to offer and the surrounding areas like HaLong Bay and wherever else the spirit takes me. I already have a six month Visa for Vietnam.

Cambodia. I will spend three months in Phnom Penh and see ancient temples, archeological and historical wonders. After three months I will move elsewhere in Cambodia. Perhaps I spend a year there by extending my e-class visa a few times.

At this point I have the plans for lodging and travel made for the most part. There is a mystery in things still like the train service down to Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi. The bus service from Ho Chi Minh city to Cambodia. All is fun though to me and the leisurely pace sticks with my goal to not rush through a set of countries on a whirlwind tour. I also think anyone on retirement can live in these places and I’ve added more to my list that will come. These include Thailand, Malaysia, and India for longer stays and Singapore for a shorter stay.

Someone at work asked when I would get back. There is no telling. I don’t want to come back here. This place is lost to me.

So, there you have it dear readers. A few basic things and an itinerary. There are things to get done before that I have saved off in Ulysses which now is my go to place to record and track things. Things need to get done at a pace of time but I have through January at work and then through February to take care of the edge cases of things.

On 1 March though I fly. First up Japan and I am so excited at the prospect of getting back and seeing Tokyo first.

Moving to a Challenge — the new beat of life

I decided awhile ago to move from working to non working. It was about a year ago give or take. I knew then my time was limited doing IT and specifically IT Project Management. There’s something about it that’s demeaning and irritating, frustrating and anger producing. I realized that people should not do things that produce those results in them. I had a debt due that I had been paying for years because of my mess ups earlier. I left a marriage with debt and collection agencies hounding me. I got both credit card providers to agree to a repayment plan through a non profit debt management company. That left me having to work more years to get to a place where I would have money saved and at the end point of revolving debt. Now I’m down to a single one which gets paid in January. I will be basically debt free then with an amount of savings and retirement that will let me do a few things. I also was lucky to keep my frequent flier miles which meant I could leave and not pay much for the flights. To get to Asia one has to fly. No hitch-hiking and no driving. That can be expensive. Then one has to fly between places if other modes of transit are not available.

I decided then to retire on my own terms and I knew I had to wait until the debt God had his way with me. Divorce creates a lot of pain and hatred and little or no reconciliation when you are egotistical and narcissistic like me. I journeyed through all the steps those 5 steps which are supposed to end at acceptance. Problem was; that never happened. Still has not happened. No happy acceptance of divorce. Instead a “living with or in spite of it”. I have learned to live with it.

But the end of the story is happy dear readers.

Now I am an old guy. I spent the required years in IT and I am able to get on with a thing I am going to outline below. If I can do this, I really believe anyone can. So why do people sit at McDonalds bemoaning the lack of excitement and challenge? I don’t know. But I see them each day gathering with their senior coffee and some kind of granola bar. What the hell is that about I always wonder.

So I set out to make a change. I decided I would not go gently into that good night. I would rave and yell and shriek and be just the same way with adenture I have always been. Age is no boundary. It’s not being a millennial or nothing. We old guys just move slower but I believe many of us have adventuring and hobo spirits and they are crushed. Crushed by the Bay Area and the expenses and no way out. Manhandled by life events.

So I said “fuck that”. Fuck it all. It’s not worth it.

Go To Asia

That is what is needed. I must go to Asia. So I booked airline tickets with those miles and am flying to Narita Japan on 1 March. I’ll spend some weeks in Japan in Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Osaka.

Then I fly to Hanoi Vietnam for 6 months. I have that all booked with rooms that cost a fraction of what I spend here. I will live good and see things and not sit in some senior center wondering what happened. I will find streets to photograph and people to study and other beers to drink.

After Vietnam its Cambodia. Another gem and a cheap place. I’ll spend perhaps a year there and then its Thailand or perhaps Laos or Malaysia.

You see the “Go to Asia” thing creates choice. Instead of sitting at the corner coffee shop and wondering where it all went; I am going to find some of it all.

I believe anyone can do this but I think getting old interferes with the risk taking and challenging life ways. We get sedentary and not willing to take chances. We move slower and we think life needs to be slower. It’s not true folks. We are made of star stuff and our spirits can be indomitable warriors but we get sequestered into a place where the movement is down the block and not across the ocean.

Take it back you all. No one says you have to give it away when you turn a certain age. Find your place. Do what Chris McCandless did. Go into your wild place. It may be a city or a state or place of mind.

Don’t just sit. Move. Life is not meant to give up so don’t.
Be the brave of heart and soul and never say you won’t
Venture forth and taste that trail that hastens to meet your eyes
Time is not real and minutes or seconds do not haunt by or fly
Travel the far paths and find the poetry that inspires
Don’t tire

Be that brave one and find the place that you see. That far shore
It’s the place you know. It’s beyond that final door
Time to risk and challenge whatever comes to be
Time to see

By Me.

End of Work Means Start of Play

The end of work time is approaching sooner rather than later. The planning accelerates now. I’ve let my employer know that I will be giving notice end of the year. By March of next year, I’ll be done here in the Bay Area and will be on the Amtrak seeing the country. This big ole confused country that I currently live in. I have a plan for leaving here and now with the dates established, I can move to a second level of planning which is nailing down travel dates. I will be done with work by end of January but you all know how the last month is with short-timers attitude. I won’t be given new projects because I won’t be around to do them. They will hunt around for a new Program Manager and hopefully find a person. Or not. I’m not sure that most people value Program Managers and some will be glad I’m gone. I guess I am not easy to get along with but when are Program Managers supposed to be? We are supposed to create friction and measure what the company and technology and business needs are against the ultimate outcome of a project success.

Now I know I will be on the Amtrak early part of March next year going to see my mentor first. I can buy the ticket if I want and that kind of legitimizes the whole thing. It’s fun to look at a map of where Amtrak goes.

I know now I can go wherever I want and stay as long at each place. Once work is done in a matter of a few months, I won’t have to return after a vacation is over or come back to a project waiting for me or vendors not starting on things because I was not there.

So off I will go to Los Angeles first from Oakland and then up to see my friend and mentor RWR. I’ll stay as long as I want and then ride Amtrak from Los Angeles to Austin to see my friend Nancy. Then on to Chicago for some street photography in a new place. I’ll stay there for some bit of time and go on to New York and Boston.

Then its back to Seattle on the train to see the country in reverse on a different route. And then…

The long haul flight kicks off and a new adventure awaits in those other places I love. I’ve waited for so long for this time. It’s bittersweet in a few ways. I went through divorce and some bit of reconciliation but I never accepted the outcome of the thing. I will never accept it and will just live with how things ended up. The divorce judge said I was not getting enough in my 50%. He was wrong. I got the best 50% by getting the least. My possessions are really minimal and leaving here in a single backpack is not challenging. Now I know I get the best part of things and I just had to wait until things became the way I wanted. Such is life and living. Like my mom used to say “you have to make each moment count”.

The Train Whistles and Memories Stir

Early morning trains come and go just hundreds of feet from my room here. I sit in the mornings and listen to the lonely tunes the wheels and rails bump and grind. It’s one of those sounds each morning over coffee I consider. I can sometimes tell the difference of the amtrak and the freight trains. Both cross the road by the house live in countless times each day. If the days are good at work, I listen rather absentmindedly. If the days were worse or I leave with a sense of despair the trains are an escape for me. I can imagine the amtrak Capitol Corridor train that often crosses mornings and evenings. I know where the train goes and it would take me part way to the places I really want to go. I could board the train tomorrow and make it to a place like Sacramento and then go on. Perhaps on to Reno or Denver. I could also go to Seattle or Portland or Los Angeles. Different drum beats of destinations that will lead me on.

I think the train whistle is a lonely sound that splits the days and nights for me. It signals to the driver and pedestrian but it also signals to that lonely human element. The element that wants more and different and its keen and pitch cross over and each morning I know I am not long for the Bay Area. There is not enough here to keep me and the trains take me away.

One day I’ll join that train or another. I’ll whisk away to another place and that time is not so distant. It’s November and I realize I only have about 60 days to work and then I will be that wanderer that sits on the train crossing from Shanghai to Beijing or to Los Angeles or to points in between. Because I’m a train wanderer and instead of sitting in lonely distance as the trains and the whistles go; I will join them and perhaps then I will wonder and wander more and the trains will take me.

I know I won’t sit in this room and wonder or try to tell whether its a freight or amtrak voyager. Perhaps I’ll sit at the second level with a cup of coffee and the Fuji camera handy and this room, this bay, this state will just be another memory that the train took me away from.

Writing, Blogging, and Apps to Consider

It’s been an interesting few days of trying other writing tools and comparing against Ulysses on the iPad. I’ve tried Byword, IAWriter, and MWeb. They all have their bright spots but I cannot see how any can compete against Ulysses for my use cases. I want something that both lets me get to writing but also has some organization and management that is easy to get to. The apps fall into a few possible domains of use. The first is that they get out of the way to let you write. This is what IAWriter does and perhaps MWeb. The second is that they offer some organizational and functional management and perhaps that is Byword.

What none of them do is treat the whole writing experience like Ulysses. Each of them has a downfall or limitation. The document management for MWeb is rather simple and moving documents around the iCloud library is hard. You have to know when and where to slide or rename or whatever. I would call it clumsy. The applications that offer a full on writing experience like IAWriter make it difficult to publish to WordPress or finding the correct sequence because they are about writing I believe.

What I need is a tool that does the variety of things well. I like a pleasant user interface but that has a set of powerful tools right under the covers. I want it shared (for now) and be able to let me see my posts on my phone. All can do this. I finally do not need something to interface with github or other things like Jekyll.

After all this testing and experimentation, its funny to come back to Ulysses and admit that its the best. I think it offers the best combination of management and then writing or writing and then management a person needs. I am unsure of how the subscription model works for a single device that still wants to use iCloud to store and protect the files. I’ve bought the 200gb of storage there primarily to last me some bit of time and make the space available for all the applications which want to use storage. I did ask my friend Mikka Luster via email to weigh in because he is more adept at the whole document management and writing thing.

So it comes down to a set of things which work on Ulysses and a set of things which require some lifting on the other applications. Some just don’t seem to make use of the features of IOS 11 that much and others have a clumsy management or library implementation. I want the best of all worlds for when I write. When I get to a single device I want a composite set of features that lets me be productive whether on a bus in Japan or a train in China. The one thing must be consistent as well and offer the best of a set of tools to write, publish, and save off to a friendly cloud.

If you are looking for an app to write with but you real considerations are productivity and not just setting down to write stream of consciousness, you probably want Ulysses. I would go with IAWriter otherwise but I don’t like how it deals with images. MWeb while nice for creativity; falls short when I want to move things around.

This has been fun and I’ve spent a bit of money and the nice thing is if I wanted to go to another solution, I have them. I can download one easily.

Project Manager Dragons I have met

It dawned on me today as I worked on getting a project back to a position where we could deliver on it; that this is it. I found myself gazing at the calendar on my Windows 10 work laptop as our WebEx call went on and our vendor vacillated between wanting to deliver and being a bit afraid of risk. I listen to these things and think still that there are two types of project manager out there.

Type 1. This project manager excels at no risk and no issue projects. The timelines are easily achievable and the work is sub-divided into decent segments and the milestones are all well defined and reachable. This is the non chaos project manager type. This person will deliver on your project as long as there is no change. The technical team is perhaps bored with this. There is nothing to excel at and nothing challenged or gained. It’s all status quo.

Type 2. This project manager (of which I count myself as one) wants challenge and perhaps wants risk and wants a project which will stretch the team. This leads to a test of delivery and confidence in the team. Risk and change are equally endorsed and perhaps even wanted and loved. It may add stress to meetings and the vendor may get uncomfortable at times but the delivery and execution is there because the technical team feels excited and thrilled because the work has challenge. It’s more fun to deliver and meetings are exciting events where innovative solutions are met for problems.

My larger cloud project has a few reasons why type 2 works better. We don’t know everything about how the project evolves and gets delivered. We cannot eliminate risk in this setting. We simply don’t know. So what do we do? Add weeks to the schedule and play it safe? No I say. I tell our vendor, a major cloud provider to be brave and confident. I tell them you can do it. They believe it I think.

Perhaps their project manager is afraid of the unknown and she kinda crosses over to Type 1 here and there. That’s okay. It’s my job as a program manager to gently force what my company leadership wants while ensuring we retain the pride of delivery and execution.

I don’t believe the pride of delivery and execution comes from the status quo folks. I think it takes challenge and risk and the unknown. We will deliver this on time and we know it. But we will meet the project dragon head on and that monster will breathe fire and smoke. Better to be a type 2 project than a type 1. Because as a type 2 team we expect it and are geared up for the challenge. If we were a type 1 team; we’d be shocked and go around hand wringing and crying and mumbling it was not in the scope.

Yes. Better to be a riotous and fun occurrence for my going away party. Let there be change and risk and challenge and we will meet it head on and it will be ours. Even if there is a project dragon out there waiting.

The Value or Not — Friendship Equated

Saturdays around here are quiet days. I read a bit on Facebook for whatever reason. It’s not like I find a lot of value there but most or all of the people I’m friended up with are real friends. This got me thinking today about the value of friendship as one gets older. I’ve gone through multiple generations of friends. Some were close and then drifted apart. Others have passed on and left that void which does not simply fill up after the time goes by. Yet others I have felt that were friends never deserved the title. Perhaps I am demanding or demented but I have a theory of friendship and perhaps I’m wrong. Would not be the first time.

It goes like this:

Friendship is a bartering thing. Each person arrives with something to get and give and the get and give is value. Not just material value but thought, feeling, other value. If a person has to give and never gets that is not friendship folks. That’s something else. If the other person only takes and never gives that also is not friendship. Again, it’s something else.

This produces a dialog for me when I question those that recently have only taken and never arrived at the friendship table with something to offer that equals what they want. Take person R for example. He wants only information from me. He wants a name of a person that can do X. I ask for a thing from R but he cannot do it. Where is the equality in that?

Person E has a similar view where he will not email, call, contact me unless he wants something. He is not in it for the exchange where each of us gets something of value. He only wants and does not offer up a thing of value.

So in my stunted and questionable world view, these are not friends. They are not colleagues or any other almost friend like acquaintance either. They occupy some other less vaunted space and I merely decide to stop the communication.

I also think as I get older friendship becomes even more difficult. Someone at work asked whether I still wanted a relationship because that is of value. A relationship is also an exchange and a bartering. Both people arrive with a thing of value. Without that, its not a relationship. My mom used to say “its give and take. If one goes away, the other takes over”. Such it is. And as I get older and more feeble and more opinionated it dawns on me that I have raised the bar higher or others have. Some will only call when they need a thing. The hell with them. Others will ask for a thing. The hell with them. If you are with me, be with me. Arrive with a thing of value and if you value mine, we have something. If you are just there to take, I may put up with you but what you are putting up there is not friendship. It may be manipulation.

So for people R and E I can simply say that in my world view which is crazy and old and full of contradiction (whose is not) you are not there. You don’t get the full monte and not give the full monte.

Have you thought out what friendship is to you? Do you just offer yourself up like some sacrificial lamb and take the worst that people give and call them friends in need? Getting old means I can be brutally honest with people R and E and others. Here’s the answer:

Don’t assume. When you do you make an ass of you and me.

I still value friendship when its a thing we both arrive at. Unfortunately, those are few and far between and I’ve moved on expecting them. Consider it yourself. What is the importance of friendship in your life? How do you estimate a friend? Do you have friends in the workplace? Do you imagine after sustaining a divorce or separation that another relationship is out there for you?

Sometimes I feel that certain things, because I’m getting older, I can speak about as my experiment of one.