No work today. Time to be.
This morning I got up early to get some stuff done and afterwards I went on a walk with my friend M. It's a beautiful, clear day with a view of the bay that was sharp and intense in color. When we reached her house she pointed out the daisy tree that smelled like cookies and the bunches of butterflies that were swarming it.
M recommended a place to have my fan belt replaced so I drove down from her house and found him available to fix it. I watched him get his tools, the belt and I looked around the shop and thought about how he must really enjoy being his own boss, doing something he likes, and how he probably feels pretty fulfilled by his work. This, I thought to myself, is a good job to have. You can go home and not think about it. He asked me if I was a student (thanks Mom for the great skin genes) and I told him I was a teacher. He asked me if I liked it and I said yes and no. I like the teaching but it's not a job I can leave at work when I go home at night.
"Like this," he said.
"You don't leave this here?" I asked.
"No. Sometimes when I'm thinking about a repair problem, I can't sleep trying to figure it out."
He then told me about how he was just getting ready to sell the business and move up to Alaska where he could work on the weekends doing a fishing tour and then have his weekdays free to do his own hunting and fishing. Earlier in the week I had heard a report on NPR about people in their 40s switching up their jobs to do things that have more personal meaning to them.
After that I drove to a small café in our town with a big box of ArtBooks I needed to finish grading. As I was sitting outside, a woman sat her own big box full of papers down on a table next to me. I smiled at her, assuming she was a teacher too. She came back and as I was grading she asked me if I was an English teacher. I said yes, but that what I was grading was art-related. I asked her what she taught and she said she wasn't a teacher that she was there organizing her genealogy papers. In between bites of lunch and sips of coffee, we conversed about genealogy, good art education in the Bay Area, places to live, life. It was surprising to me to find such a kindred spirit in a place I don't really feel that aligned to. As she left I made a point of saying how much I enjoyed talking with her.
Fleeting, simple moments that make everything seem okay.