Only a Kid Once

October 1, 2015

Time has passed like the London Fog….

. 5 weeks ago….. I left City Hall…..I had my hernia operation – and taken care of by my Wonderful nurses Flo I and Flo II

…actually the fog rolled in July 15th when I bought a new car and a new house….

but it has had its stressful colitis inducing challenges…like the gay guy with a wealthy father who offered a lot more than I asked for my house in LA …

.it was bought one moment and then 3 weeks later Daddy didn’t like the fact the HOA reserves were not what he thought they should be…so dashed my hopes…

where upon the back up offer from the Egyptian guy was accepted but he put down the VERY minimum…which made me sort of doubt it would go through…..

as I was sitting on my veranda last night in Palm Springs my realtor called and said he was 99% sure the deal was going through and I had to be totally out and moved on Monday….

I told him I wanted him to be 100% sure..as I could not move my furniture in case it fell through again….as an empty house does not sell

I was once again stunned into L’il Orphan Annie silence……..as I had not planned on going back to LA until the following week for James’s birthday….

All I could do was stare at the Canadian Geese on my pond and think…”WOW!!!”…..so many things to do….

I couldn’t sleep….kept trying to watch a streaming (I am trying to get rid of TV’s) show on PBS ….and then turned to reading the new book on the Wright Brothers…finally succumbed to a sleeping pill as my colitis had really kicked up….

well as I was motoring back from Palm Springs….my realtor texted me…and thank God for modern cars where your radio or Sirius is interrupted by a phone call or a text that they then read to you……

he merely said “The Sale went through…you HAVE to be out by Monday!!”

well I was relieved but then wasn’t sure I was going to get a mover to move me by Monday….and shoot I have a LOT of books….and art work……my whole life for really the last 46 years……I mean who has anything except a pocketful of memories when one leaves college…..

I was reading several articles in the New York Times today….

about the fact what we have done with Afghanistan is like what we did with Vietnam….poured billions in to no avail…..

James Dao’s article “As a City Falls, Wondering What US Sacrifice Was For”….is Excellent and what I had assumed….

he was at Kunduz in 2010…when things looked grim…but improved with the Americans….but when he returned recently….he was upset about the change…

as he says “”I met an American farming expert whose story said much about the region’s simmering fears of its once and perhaps future overlords. The expert, Eric Immerman, a child of Iowa, had gone to Kunduz to teach modern growing techniques…..he told me he was stunned by the backwardness of Afghan farmers: so much knowledge seemed to have been lost during decades of war….”

The NYT today seems to be totally loaded with the articles about the American involvement and failure in Afghanistan….

which makes me think of that Marine roommate I had for a few months with the woman he fell in love with but did not know..

who served 3 duties in Afghanistan…to just be Totally Destroyed as an individual….to suffer the horrors of PTSD….

I will never forget that One early morning…

as I was getting up at 3:30 AM to go to work

glanced out the window to see him parking his car on the street…

reaching in the back seat to bring out his rifle which he slung over his shoulder in its case….and march in the murky shadows back home to bed…..

(he said it took him many many months to be able to sleep without a revolver under his pillow….as all the Marines are trained)

the memory still gives me goose bumps…..and my heart goes out to him and the fact he will never BE….

the kid he once was….

I went up to Lala’s tonight for probably my last meal there Ever…none of my usual waiters were there…but an old familiar busboy greeted me with his fist bump…

I had assumed he was Mexican but not sure now..as he asked me for the first time what my name was..I told him and asked his….”Omar”

when I first met him …I Knew for sure I Did Not want to meet him in a dark alley

….he has tats and a long black pony tail….a piercing in his lip……big beefy and not a man for GQ

I asked him how his week was going…he said “Robert”…fine…you know…I just have to work and pay the bills…while some just go to the beach all day…but that is Life

I always ask about his son….who was playing the trumpet once …then the drums..then studying Chinese…then martial arts….

I asked after his son…he said Oh he is fine…me and my girlfriend (he is divorced from his son’s mother)…want to move and put him in another school…but he doesn’t want to..as he has so many friends there…..I said Omar you must do what you must do…how old is your son now?…he said he will be 12 in December…I said well think hard and deep about it…as a guy 12 …it is such an Important time in Life……a time when we all develop into what we eventually become…..(Omar never attended school)

I went back to reading my NYT…and my disappointment in the US government in trying to impose Democracy on countries that are not ready for it and do not want it…

I was finishing my meal…and Omar….surprised me by coming back …(as he is a busboy)….

he merely said “Robert …Thank you for talking to me…I don’t think we will move…one is only a kid once”

I was so touched…….watching the Pope last week had so Moved me….that I made a promise……

as I got up to leave I gave Omar a 50 dollar bill

4 Responses to “Only a Kid Once”

  1. Jack said

    Often times we unfortunately judge people by their appearance. What you said to Omar meant a lot to him…probably no one else took the time…that was very kind of you. I am sure Omar will remember you for a long time….a friend who took the time to listen and help.

  2. adelaidedonnelley said

    Hi Rob this is Teo (and Noni) – Better pick up everything quick! Lucky waiter! (and Noni adds) YAY! So happy you sold your apt. And I was so touched by Omar’s story. We love you xx D

  3. Richard said

    Great story and so very true. Welcome to the desert soon. Anything we can do besides getting the brass band out to welcome you. R&R

  4. Omar said

    I don’t remember any fifty, but seriously, you have such a kind and understanding heart no wonder you touch others. Love reading your experiences and look forward for more.

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