ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 304: A Day in the Life . . .
Today wiped me out. I’m too tired to even take a bath — and bathing every night is one of my few rules in this new life of mine.
What tired me today?
Going to the dermatologist, for starters. The office staff and the doctor made it all simple and easy, but going to any medical office, with its sign-in sheet and waiting room and magazines and questionnaires, brings back all the times I accompanied Ernie to his medical appointments.
This time I’m the one being inspected. Will I pass muster? I do.
Then dropping off my boots to be re-heeled.
Then revising two chapters, but this work is as necessary to me as breathing. Writing every day is not even a rule. It just happens.
Then taking a phone call from Joshua, just coming out of an auction house where he bid on a 1950 wood-rail pinball machine.
“Its top glass is cracked, one of its legs is split, and its shooter is defective. I didn’t think anyone else would want it, but from twelve-hundred on I was in a bidding war.”
“I had thirty-two hundred in my pocket. The machine’s worth — restored — about five thou. There’s a six percent tax, a ten percent buyer’s fee. Going in, I told myself I’d stop at fifteen hundred, but I went a little over my limit. The guy bidding against me just wouldn’t stop. He had the fever. He’s insane. I showed restraint. It would’ve been reckless of me to go any higher.”
“Be proud of yourself for showing restraint. You were on a chase. It’s a treasure hunt. It can be exciting, but is a 1950 pinball machine going to make you happy?”
“I like to restore things, but maybe it would’ve led to a rat’s nest if I couldn’t find parts. Who knows what it’s missing? I didn’t have the key to its insides. That’s like buying a car without looking under its hood.”
Then going to a Twelve-Step meeting.
Then hanging on for a Fourth Step workbook session with six of us at a round table.
Tonight our talk goes deep. We tell each other what we normally don’t even tell ourselves. Sometimes we repeat ourselves from one meeting to the next, but as the Buddhists say, and as Ernie always said: “Repeat everything three times.” No one catches everything the first time. Or the second.
My five friends are kind to each other. They’re kind to me. They hold my cold hand in their warm ones. They hug me. They say: “I love you, sweetie.”
They’re teaching me to love myself.