A friend and I went to a deal at a local art gallery last night. One of the featured artists is a local photographer who does amazing stuff. He's one of these guys that isn't scared to go up in a helicopter or an airplane to get a perspective. Or maybe he's scared but he's willing to make the sacrifice for his art.
One of the pictures was an aerial view of a flooded out New Orleans after Katrina. A neighborhood shot from above. Probably somewhere in the Ninth Ward. What was interesting about the photograph was it appeared that lights were on in some of the houses, although my best guess was that the windows were reflecting the light from the searchlight on the helicopter.
"You should buy it," she said. "Tulane and New Orleans are part of your past. It would look good in your living room. That picture is you."
I'm devastated and water logged?
"I don't know," I said. "I wasn't looking to buy anything tonight."
She took me by the arm.
"Let's find out what they want for it. It won't hurt to ask."
I asked. It wasn't bad. I told the owner of the gallery to mark it "sold" and that we would settle up next week.
Still, it wasn't like I needed any more stuff to hang on the walls around here. Or that I needed to spend money on the same. I expressed these thoughts as we walked to the car.
"Look," she said. "This is what I think. You worked hard for a really long time. This is the part of your life where you should reward yourself now and again. You've earned it. So it cost a little money. You've got money. Besides, that picture is a link to your past and will look great in your living room."
And that was all there was to it.
I suppose that I am just now getting comfortable with the notion that I am in a phase of life that is traditionally associated with a certain age demographic.
I'm very fortunate. I'm in a good spot. I don't count it as my due and I don't take it for granted. But it's probably not a bad thing that I have enough of my mother in me to not throw money around. I like to think I have things in perspective. Then again, a person can be wrong about such things.
A friend of mine died a week or so ago. I hadn't known her for very long and I didn't spend that much time with her. She had a virulent form of cancer that she fended off for over 8 years.
She was tough and brave. Never complained. I probably only saw her a handful of times in the year and half or so that I knew her. Mainly, we texted and talked with each other. Or, to put it more accurately, I mainly just listened.
She sent me a message saying that it was time to say goodbye. Of course, this was during the last ice storm and the roads were impassable. And I had a meeting that I agreed to do first thing once the roads cleared. Besides, she had always beat the cancer back before. I figured that I had time to get to her. I told her I would check on her in a couple of days.
"Okey dokee," she texted back. I never heard from her again.
I figured I had more time. I figured wrong. I blew it and there is no fixing it. And I have spent a good bit of time since then trying to kick myself to death.
Although I still consider myself a young man, I am in the stage of the game where the arc of statistics and biology start favoring the casino. Second chances will come fewer and more far between from here on out.
My fellow patron of the arts is right. Second guessing myself about spending a little money is kind of silly in the great scope of things. I can always get the money back down the road. Nothing wrong with enjoying simple pleasures while you can.
Better to save the second guessing at this stage for those defaults that can't be undone in the hope that they never happen again.
Because there are some things you can't do over. There are some things that you can't get back.
And because the odds are favoring the casino at this stage of the game.