Solving The Homeless Problem; An Inspiration from David; Lives of Quiet Desperation; Culture Shock and Other Tales of Woe

Well I am homeless, relinquished my Vancouver apartment and have not found another abode immediately for logical reasons. My present physical limitations prevent the active life style planned for the future. At the moment the need is to be in a place of ease and comfort in days prior to, and subsequent to, my surgery. Therefore, reservations were made to ensure that there will be a roof over my head all the way to July 13, 2019. Those plans will include my Marin Inn, then Vancouver, then my SF Inn and then back to the Marin Inn for a series of medical appointments, then the knee surgery. I am comfortable in my Marin Inn and the really great guy (who happens to be the manager) is happy to have me here and he said so.

He: We are here for you!

Me: Yes, except if there is an earthquake!

He: Then the rubble will await you.

Me; That sounds like fun.

I spoke of my homeless condition and my solution when at Book Passage picking up my David Brooks book. A woman, eavesdropping by the cashier counter said:

She: Well that is too expensive living in a hotel.

Me: Did you ever add up what you pay in rent or mortgage, insurance, electricity, wifi, water bills, cleaning ladies and furniture? I think hotel living is a bargain.

She: Who wants to live like that, in a hotel?

Me; Which part? Not having to cook or clean or make your bed or ever clean a toilet? And to be surrounded by helpful, caring people? Have your breakfast made every morning?

She: Oh

Me: I feel like a Queen. Queen Elizabeth I the Virgin Queen.. But, as was pointed out by a wonderful SF bartender, I have a better hairline.

There are different ways to live one’s life – the traditional model may not work any more. But women particularly, it seems, cling to the old model. Marry the first guy that comes around, have kids, buy a house, grow old with a man you may not have anything in common with (anymore, if you ever did). But then you can feel superior to others because you have a home – that might be falling down around you and a man to lean on (who leans on you actually). I constantly meet young women who have a different attitude and it is encouraging. They are educating themselves, seeing the flaws In the men around them and not expecting the man to rescue them from life. They are defying their mothers in a way by choosing a different path. They are more questioning, more daring in their approach to life. I am close to several aspiring young women (in varying capacities) and their experiences hearten me and give me hope.

I was at breakfast this morning, picked up a Marin Independent Journal and looked that the Obituary page, and laughed out loud and there were two woman at an adjoining table. .

Me: I am sorry to laugh but it occurred to me that I might know some people on these pages. When I was living in London and in Vancouver I would not have known anyone.

Adjoining Table: That is interesting, never thought of that.

But looking at the obituaries bore out what I was saying about women and their lives. Lives often, I would suspect, of quiet desperation. One woman met her husband when she was 14 and husband was 15, first dated a year later, married when 22, knit and crocheted and was known for bragging about her grandchildren. Another woman married her one and only sweetheart and was happiest in the kitchen. But there was a ninety year old – extremely well educated whose husband predeceased her by 45 years. She went back to school and had a successful second career. Many died “surrounded by their loving families”. I always thought you were born alone and you die alone. One woman died in her sleep – that sounds good but what if she was having a nightmare? All of the above mentioned women had children and grandchildren., a few even had great grandchildren.

My life has taken a much different course. My wonderful London friend David sent an inspiring message, which is appended to this blog. I placed it on Instagram with the following message;

Me: My friend David sent this to me. I found it deeply meaningful and is reflective of what David Brooks is saying in his new book The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life.

It received two immediate responses.

Grandson: Amen! G.Ma

Me: Grandson. I am so happy that you said that to me. I find it so gratifying!

And another from an aspiring and inspiring author.

She: Hell. Damn. Yes. Girl. Yes.

Me: Thanks Girlfriend! Your response is going on my blog of today/tomorrow.

A stranger commented.

She: Can’t wait to see more!

Me: I am working on it. Hahahaha

Grandson is not my real grandson and David is a friend (not my husband0 but we are making our influence felt. Although posted recently there are 17 likes already.

A conversation with a young hostess at Pacific Catch Restaurant, one of those women working while educating themselves. Our conversation brought me to the following insight. )I am suffering from culture shock since my return to Marin (where I lived from 1971-2014. Here is the definition of culture shock: a feeling of confusion, doubt, or nervousness caused by being in a place (such as a foreign country) that is very different from what you are used to

It is not exactly applicable – my cultural shock is akin to that of Peace Corps workers who went to third world countries and returned to their former lives and were shaken. My young friend and I surmised that Marin had not changed during my five year absence. But what had changed was me because of my new experiences. I met and mingled with men and women of different ages, races, religions and value systems, particularly in London but also in Vancouver. I made me first black friends – not that I was prejudiced but here in Marin most blacks are segregated in Marin City or parts of San Rafael where it is not exactly safe for me to be. Then in Vancouver the other side of the spectrum – befriending a young Malaysian multibillionaire. Now that was an educational experience! Also in Vancouver a highly successful young rich entrepreneur who has, in a short humber of years, changed the fabric of society, in a good way. Artist friends, my Chinese hair stylist Vicky in Vancouver who is an inspiration to me. Tracey from New Zealand who is one of the world’s best friends. I ventured out of the cocoon which is Marin. Marin Matrons, as I call them, travel about two by twos or occasionally, like yesterday for the Kentucky Derby, in packs. But they are all the same – the same age, the same plastic surgeon, the same hairdos, somewhat matching clothes. They speak raptly to one another, ignoring the world around them. When I was in Pacific Catch the other day I went to congratulate the chef on my perfectly cooked salmon and chatted freely with the staff. I could eavesdrop on the two woman at a nearby table. They were, honest to Gawd, talking about how hard it is to pull the chain on European toilets. Well, I guess they had gotten to Europe at one time or another.

Was I ever a Marin County Matron? Well, yes I guess I was. But I was always a mover and shaker but definitely one of the ladies that lunched although usually organizing old friends and acquaintances of both genders. I was active in this community, giving back by volunteering and serving on advisory committees and boards and editing a newsletter. But not an interesting life and often used by the people surrounding me (this I now see). I do not see any of those people anymore and shan’t. When I return to live permanently in this area I will start anew – yet again.