February 13, 2017

It’s good to be home. Friday, on the plane, I sat next to a quiet old man wearing a Harley Davidson t-shirt and Carhartt jacket. Every seat in the plane was occupied besides the one between us. I sat in the isle. He sat by the window. He took of his Carhartt and laid it on the seat between us. This extra room for both of us made for a comfortable flight. He read something on an iPad & wore big bulky headphones. We didn’t talk for the whole flight but he gently tapped me on the shoulder when he had to get out to go to the airplane bathroom.

I couldn’t see what he was reading. What was it? I wanted to know but I couldn’t think of anything to say. I didn’t want to be an annoyance—maybe he wanted to have a quiet peaceful flight to himself.

We landed at 5:45P, the sun was setting, even though I wasn’t outside yet, it somehow looked colder. From the sky, Dayton, OH looks like a giant green tarp. I could also see the winding Miami River, the tawdry Dayton skyline, and solitary blinking radio towers.

No matter what, I always wince upon impact when the plane’s landing gear touches down, regardless of how smooth the landing is.

We skidded to a halt.

Now on the ground, it seemed okay and polite to say something. I was no longer risking ruining this guy’s flight by making him feel obligated to talk. I put my hand on the seat between us and said:

‘We got lucky.’

He looked at me and smiled. Underneath his white moustache was a row of accordion teeth, with gaps between every tooth.

‘We sure did, kid,’ he said.

 

© Daniel Douglas

February 8, 2017

Today was a long ass day. Woke up at 3AM to catch a 6AM flight from Dayton to Atlanta. Even at that early hour, the plane was completely full. Planes bring out the herdlike qualities in humanity. I think of the people on a plane as a group rather than as individuals, making it easier to be annoyed by them—but of course both are true.

I landed and waited for my colleague next to North Baggage Claim. We met up, got into a rental car, and drove an hour North. The only thing I can remember about how it looked outside was that it was foggy.

Then began the meetings: a series of long drawn out ego trips haggling over procedural details, shifting blame, jockeying for brownie points, all under a thinly layered guise of pleasantry.

I could barely keep my eyes open.

Finally I’m back in the hotel, ready for some much-needed shut eye.

 

© Daniel Douglas

February 7, 2017

I’m taking a half day today. For the home inspection. I want to be there to make sure everything goes well, that the inspector knows what they’re doing, etc. So that if there’s something to catch, it’s caught.

Also getting my oil changed, picking up dry cleaning.

I leave tomorrow morning on a 6AM flight for Atlanta on a business trip. I don’t like traveling for business. I always gain at least a pound of fat from all the eating out. There’s always obligatory meetings/situations with people you’d rather not be around at all hours of the day. That usually stay within the confined 9-5p box.

Going to watch some YouTube videos on home inspections so I at least seem like I know what I’m talking about/looking at.

 

© Daniel Douglas

February 6, 2017

My dog sees me off every morning. I walk down our stairs, get in my car, and I can see her peering out at me through the blinds on our bedroom window. Every day she watches me drive away like this.

Ever since we’ve had a dog I’ve been rethinking what I think consciousness is. I remember people telling me they thought their dog could understand them, not just in behavioral cues, but in actual language and I thought, that’s crazy. That can’t be.

And maybe it isn’t.

But communication is so much more than language. Maybe my dog doesn’t know what ‘transcendental’ means but she knows my tone of voice & body language when I say it. I’ve noticed her imploring look when I say something. She searches for my meaning, not based on the definition of the words I say—which a human might do, or might not—but entirely on how I say it. She of course knows what certain words mean based on repetition and association, “Good girl!” “Come here,” etc. But mostly she reacts to how loud I say what I’m saying and the tone. I do the same with her, in a way.

And when I come home for lunch, she’s right there at the window waiting for me.

 

© Daniel Douglas

February 3, 2017

It’s been about a week since I posted.

We’ve chosen a house! It’s exciting. We signed the contract. Closing is March 1. It’s exciting but we learned some important lessons. Things I wish I would have thought about before we started this whole process.

Realtors earn commission based on the value of the house. Think about this. Even the buyer’s realtor’s paycheck is based on how expensive the house is, and yet they are supposedly working with your best interest in mind. Some may. But remember that you are basically at their mercy in this regard. They are supposedly the ‘experts’ in home value.

Also, for new home buyers especially, remember that realtors like to recommend their friends to you: as lenders, title companies, inspectors, etc. This is fine but think about it. You can probably find a better deal than your realtor’s buddies. Maybe. Possibly. And if you do don’t expect them (your realtor) to go along swimmingly with your plans. They want to pass along favors to their network. Or be clear with them up front: We want to use our own people.

Using your own people will put them off balance a little bit, force them to think with their prefrontal cortex instead of auto-piloting winks to their friends, having their backs scratched, etc.

Sorry for being gone. I’m back.

 

© Daniel Douglas

January 25, 2017

It is amazing to me that we keep going, day after day. We get tired but we keep going. If we had the option to temporarily opt out—not like a vacation which I would argue is still part of life with hazards of its own—I wonder if we would. I feel like I would. To somehow lift myself out of the pressures of living. To exempt myself.

It’s a good thing I don’t have that option. I would probably do it but I don’t think I’d be better for it.

Last night we looked at a house that needed a lot of work but it was priced very reasonably in a pretty nice neighborhood. It was also on a sort of main road but the yard was big enough to at least mitigate the effect of cars driving by. Wife didn’t like it. I didn’t like it, but it seemed like, if we put the work into it, it would be a good long-term option, investment-wise.

I’m not a handy man. I can screw in lightbulbs! That’s about it. But if we end up going with this house I will have lots to learn.

 

© Daniel Douglas

January 24, 2017

The undulations of life. They come from somewhere. There are big obvious elements in a person’s life that may define them and in the end dictate where their life goes. But sometimes, it seems, regardless of the person, there is a movement on a type of plane. Something could be going very wrong and then all of the sudden it takes a turn for the better, or vice versa, for no observable reason—events take on a life of their own.

Or maybe nothing even happens—but still something changes.

 

© Daniel Douglas