D.D.O. was invented by Devin and me a few years ago when I had just started van life in Santa Rosa, CA. Life evolved over the intervening years but the idea of a day off with nothing but a choice of recreation to take up the time stayed on.
This day was another D.D. O. filled with those adventures and tidly bits of doing that make it easy to write about what it is taking to count down the final year of 8 decades. These kinds of days are actually very important for what has come to be known as mental health. It is a serious topic here in the downtown of Vancouver’s east side where there are homeless and often completely derelict addicted people well in need of some kind of mental health. So, I oblige them as I am rolling around myself taking care of my own – well, you know: tidly bits.
As I go, I give a smiling face, I give hello, howz yr day going? And I give a bunch of, “Please, excuse me!” as I need more than just walking space in the chair. Guess what: it makes a very big difference! People remember the feeling of kindness and simple regard. I know they do because even the scruffiest of them wave and smile when they see me again. I can go with that!
There was the hydro bill to pay. You know these utility people are their own kind of tyranny and there are consequences to ignoring or being unable to pay their piper.
I roll to the local branch of my bank and sit at the front steps. I ask the concierge to please ask a teller to assist me. This is the local Chinatown and so there are many ethnic Chinese here employed. This very sweet, young gentle male person comes to greet me; we quickly communicate my task and off he goes returning in less than 5 minutes with my receipt for payment and a balance of my account, a smile and a very nice, thank you!
Then down the block to one of the offices of our British Columbia Coastal Health where I am informed after a decent wait that this particular clinic serves walk-in clients who are in drug crisis. This is certainly a critical service here but not on my list today. The kind woman offers me a prepared list with phone numbers for clinics and perhaps the doctor that I am looking for. Off I go.
Then, just to keep me tuned into the digital age and some of the perks that go along with this, my phone alerts me to a message from a friend. She is to be at a certain outreach office in about a half hour and do I wish to meet for coffee. She is a coffee habituae while I am not, and she has a very quiet voice that takes effort to hear and, well, she herself is always a good enough excuse to meet and visit for an hour or so. Off I go!
Finally, after a bit of supper with my friend and a deep and sad commiseration with her concerning another woman’s untimely demise by suicide concluding with prayers for her, we part. she to catch the bus home and me to roll down the same block to my own place here in the neighborhood.
It might be said to be a little life but how can there be any judgments? Each of us live the lives we live, and each is important not only for our own evolution but to the evolution of the whole of it. I notice that few of us have this kind of perspective and that may be why there is so much despair and a sense of futility especially in my own very English, very Canadian society. Seinfeld dubbed it the ‘same old same old” and it certainly is a lot about that.
But somehow, I am thinking different: I do not know what I have to learn to grow up all over again today. Pass it on, ok!
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