My birthday came and went, and now my age matches the year of my high school graduation. In those heady days at BPHS we proclaimed “66 Forever!” This time around I’ll have to settle for “66 for 365 days.” But I have to wait until the weekend for my real gift. Russ and Karen are moving to their new apartment this week. By the weekend they will be settled in, or at least settled in enough to welcome visitors, and I have been invited to a birthday dinner at the new residence.
Their current apartment is on the second floor, and the only way to get to it is to climb the stairs. The last time I was able to scale the stairway was 2006. The new apartment is on the first floor, and with a little help from my son, I'll be able to get in and spend a few hours with him and Karen.
Summer must be on the way. Every morning, the first thing I do after I get dressed is to slide the porch door open. Today, for the first time in several months, I wasn’t greeted by a rush of cold or at the least some very cool air. Instead of just leaving the door open a crack, I opened it wide. Nothing beats the fresh morning air.
When Mickey’s little hand was on the eight and his big hand was approaching the twelve, I went out into the fresh air without the benefit of a jacket. It was on the cool side, but not cool enough to bother going back in to don warmer attire.
There was only a hint of a breeze; the sky was a mass of gray clouds. As I made my way around the building, I struck by how quiet it was for a Monday morning, it was as if the clouds were muffling the traffic noises and the birds were sleeping in after a wild weekend of doing the things they do to in order to propagate their various species. Then Randy drove up.
“Tom T. Hall,” he yelled.
“You back on days?”
“Hell no. Stupid sons of bitches. I’ve had it up to here,” he said, holding is right hand even with his eye brows. “They’ve got an old refrigerator and a couple water heaters they want hauled away, and I need the money.”
Randy is less than elated to be working the graveyard shift as the security man.
“They told me, maybe the middle of this week,” he said without enthusiasm. “Hell, they’ll probably have me work Wednesday night and start back on days Thursday.”
I enjoy listening to Randy complain. He does it with such vigor, brio, élan and a wealth of words and phrases not appropriate for polite company. And he never complains the same way twice. He might complain about the same thing day after day, but each attack on the idiot or idiocy in question is fresh, fervent and flamboyant.
As a fair city, Columbus isn’t fairing very well, at least in the view of 247wllst.com. According to the website, Columbus isn’t the least healthy city in the country, but it is No. 4. “Individuals in the Columbus metro area were among the nation’s most likely to suffer from recurring pain and a lack of energy,” the article said. And, “Only 68.2% said their health allowed them to take part in age-appropriate activities, one of the lowest rates in the nation.”
The area did a little better in the most-miserable-cities ranking, placing seventh. “Columbus area residents were among the most depressed in the country. Roughly 24% said they had been told by a physician or nurse that they suffered from depression, one of the highest percentages in the country.”
There wasn’t any information about past rankings. And for that reason, I am unable to say whether my arrival here helped or hindered the city.