Late on Thanksgiving Day, I got a text message from my one surviving sibling, brother James, who lives in the Texas Hill Country. (Logical place for him to be, right?) Said he: "U might as well move down here there really isnt anything left up there". At the time, I made no response.

I understood his point, of course. Following the death of Paul in October, I no longer have any blood relatives living around town: his widow lives here still, and our stepmother (she's, um, 58) has been around here for decades, but that's it. (Paul's daughter attends Oklahoma State; she's married now.) Meanwhile, I have lots of family down that way, my mother's folks.

And James — he's never been a Jim or a Jimmy, perhaps because he's named after Uncle Pete — did manage to push one of my buttons. From Vent #318, back in 2002:

[K]nowing I'm going to die isn't what scares me; what scares me is knowing I'm going to die alone. Some day, more likely some night, that "finite number of breaths" will be reached, everything will come to an end, and no one will know until two or three days later because some mundane task wasn't performed on time, some phone call wasn't returned, or, most absurdly, because this goddamn Web site wasn't updated.

This is admittedly not a particularly healthy outlook, but it's one I'm not in a position to deny.

However, I'm not considering moving. I've worked reasonably hard, at least to the extent that any work I do can be deemed hard, at building something resembling a life for myself around here, and I am not keen on giving it up just because of some lingering fear of an encounter with Reaper and Associates. (Besides, at the moment, the Reaper is batting 0 for 3.) I'd certainly make money off the house, which is worth about half again what I owe on it; then again, I'd have to start over at the bottom of whatever hierarchy would allow my entrance, and while I often quote Fitzgerald's balderdash about there being no second acts in American life, I'm up to about Act IV, Scene 2 in mine already.

Yes, I suppose it would be nice to have some friendly relatives not so far down the road, just in case Something Horrible should befall me. (Eventually of course it will, but let's not go there for the moment.) Still, while James can make a pretty good case for central Texas, there exists an equally-good case for northwest Missouri: both my children live out that way, and my ex, also resident in the area, is still speaking to me. (I'm much easier to tolerate at a distance.) Maybe I should have sent him a map of Interstate 35, which connects both places; my home in Oklahoma City, by some strange cosmic coincidence, is right about halfway between them.

The Vent

  8 December 2010

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