Late Nights and Lunch Breaks
By John R. Greenwood
It was after eleven on that bitter night in February. The traffic out front had thinned to a few teenagers coming home from their evening shift at the Supermegamovieplex. You could hear the boys coming from a block away as they downshifted super tuned Honda Civics low enough to drown out the bass-thumping speakers. They would nail the throttle in mid turn and two-wheel around the once quiet corner where my little ranch of white aluminum stood guard over the neighborhood. Earlier in the evening I had been watching the girls in their Dodge Neons skid up to the intersection. You could see the hair pulled back vice-grip-tight with cell phones glued to the left ear-shoulder. They would be vainly looking in the rear-view mirror while briefly glancing down the road in one of two directions. This phenomenon keeps insurance premiums; premium, and parent’s dreams; nightmares.
On this same evening and after reading myself dizzy over the past several weeks I realized that if I ever wanted to achieve my dream of becoming a writer of any significance, I would need to actually sit down and write something more involved than simple poems, captions to photographs, and semi-clever Facebook posts. Being inspired had become a hobby. I can find inspiration in a television commercial, tree stump, or bag of fruit, but I always refuse to pay the additional fee needed for the ambition to do something more with it. I am by nature a spontaneous procrastinator. I will get to the edge of; delving in. But I never get deeper than sorting out piles of ideas. Maybe I am afraid of failure? Maybe I am afraid of success? I believe I am simply a bit lazy. If it involves prolonged commitment, I will weaken at the knees and vertigo will set in. My latest inspirational tool was a book titled, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job,” edited by author Sonny Brewer. It is an anthology of stories written by authors about the day jobs they have held. Realizing at the end of the book that I although I have maintained a prolonged career at the same company, I have enjoyed a wide variety of sub-jobs that have circled around the one that has paid the bills the longest. I have delivered newspapers on horseback and inserted Sunday supplements in them. I framed houses and painted them inside and out. I have performed driveway truck repairs in sub-zero weather on many a dark winter evening. I have delivered quarts of milk to porches at the end of streets and at the end of an era. I have washed windows, milk tankers, dishes and cars. I have felt the bite of an open circuit, pissed off dog, and miscalculated hammer swing. I have shingled, shoveled, and shucked. I raised boys, hell and flags. I love my family, country and life. I can drive you home, or to work, or nuts.
What I have not done is realize my dream. I guess it’s time to wake up and start dreaming.
This book is a collection of truthful tales as I recall them. I will use my well seasoned sense of direction to set a table of experiences and observations that have filtered down through a life of many layers. My wish is to quench your thirst and make you thirsty. If you have smiled at the sight of a young father chasing a fresh stepping toddler through a crowed mall, I have a story for you. If you shrug your shoulders in an “Oh-well-I-was-young-once-too-surrender” to a new idea some teenager came up with to terrorize his stressed out parents, I have a story for that too. If you have resigned yourself to a life of, “I love this world no matter how high the deficit climbs,” I am sure you will enjoy the bumpy country-soaked ride on which you are about to embark. This is not meant to be literature at it’s finest. It is meant to be a heartfelt attempt to wring out a half century of life’s experiences like a wet dish towel. This venture’s fuel? The desire to go out swinging with all my might. The title derived as a roadmap to the, “The End.” at the end. It may also take a few predawn hours or an after dinner keyboard romp to complete. But my goal of jumping off the edge of, “delve” has now begun. Thank you for buying a ticket.