Anyhow, I've been doing some serious reflection lately. I noticed that I have some strange habits. I suppose we all do, don't we? For example, the other day, my mother dropped by to visit. Sitting at the dining room table, she looked at me perplexed. Imagine that. All these years and she finally thought to ask me, "Why do you keep your change in a bowl on the table?"
Now for some context.
About 15 years ago, I was dating this girl. She loved to go to the flea markets on Sunday and buy junk. Not all of what she would buy was junk, some of it was crap. She wanted this to be an activity for us as a couple that we could do together, since during this time I was either working all day, partying at night or traveling America in search of the best parties. (Spring break in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Mardi Gras were always my favorites.)
My girlfriend at the time didn't really like to party much at this time. She worked only a few days a week at her mothers company. During the days, she mostly watched Bob Ross on PBS to learn how to paint. This may have been when I started getting the painting bug too and when I learned about Bob Ross. Most of our together time was spent in the bedroom, going to see a movie about once a month and going to these flea markets.
She had a rule though when she went to one of these things. That rule was, to buy at least one interesting object. By that, something one might have a difficult time buying in a regular store like Walmart or something. Sometimes, we would travel 3 or more hours just to go to one flea market. But she seemed to enjoy it. And so, this became our thing.
One time, I was looking at some very old wooden sculptures and such believed to be carvings from some ancient tribe in Africa. I don't know. But I did see this rather medium sized bowl that caught my eye. The price was like thirty three dollars. I found that to be a pretty steep price for a bowl. It wasn't a deep bowl, mind you, and I certainly wouldn't have chosen to eat out of it. The seller said that the women in the tribe used the bowl to mash grains or something to that effect. Still, it was / is supposed to be a really old bowl.
After some urging from my girlfriend, I broke down and forgot for a moment that I am a cheap ass, and bought it. I placed it on my dinning room table back then and started using it to put my daily pocket change in it. And this is one of my strange habits. Every time I came home from somewhere, if I had loose change in my pocket, I would take it out and put it in this bowl. Once the bowl was full, I would then pour the change into a canister.
Now about the canisters.
My mother gave me about fifty canisters one time. They are tin canisters. Some of them had odd shapes. For example, I have one in the shape of a bear. Originally, it came with some candy called 'Bits of Honey'. It's a chewy kind of candy with a honey flavor. I never cared for it much myself, but that is one of the tin canisters I have. Another is in the shape of a train. 'Life Savers' came in it. Then there are round tin canisters, square ones with designs or pictures on them. At that time, many of them were about 20 years old. Anyway, I would pour the change from the bowl that I accumulated, into these canisters. Once all these canisters were filled, I would take them to my bank and have them sort it and whatever the amount was, I would have them deposit that money into my savings or checking or whatever.
Now, each one of these canisters would hold about seventy five dollars worth of change. It would take me about three years to fill them up. Not all of them, only certain ones. The round ones and the square ones. About 10 of them I would fill before taking them to the bank.
When me and my girlfriend broke up, I kept the bowl. Now, fast forward to modern day, and my mothers question. I shrugged my shoulders and told her the story I just told you. It has now become a habit for me to always empty my pockets every time I return home and place my coins in the bowl. However, I have since sold or gave away many of my tins. I only have about 15 of them left. of course now, they are about forty years old or older.
I bring this up because this is year three. The year I take the tins to the bank and deposit the money. Another odd behavior I have at this time is to also go through my wardrobe and sort through all my old clothes. I take out pants, shirts and etc and box them and take them to the Goodwill and donate them. Sometimes I take furniture I no longer want or need. I do this every three years like clockwork. When it's time to cash in the change, I go through my clothes.
There's really no special purpose for this. It's just something I do. And I don't know why. I have also expanded my strange behavior ever since I moved to where I live now by using a new tin I acquired when I moved here to putting cash in it every now and then. A few bills here and there. Mostly ones, but I also put fives, tens, twenty's and a fifty or two once in a while. I reasoned with my mother that this is money I put away and forget about, kind of like an emergency stash or whatever. Then my mother asked another question: "How often do you go to it for an emergency?"
I scratched my head and thought for a moment before realizing. "Never."
And this is why it's strange. I have had a few emergencies and yet, not once had I ever gone to my emergency stash. So why do I do it? Not that it's a bad habit to have. It's always nice to cash this money in every three years. It amounts to about 1000 dollars or more every time. The last time I cashed in, I bought a computer, a stereo and a bunch of DVD's. (And some new clothes to replace the old ones I gave to Goodwill Industries.)
I haven't yet decided what to do with this money this time around. August is fast approaching and that's the month I do it. (My birthday) I am thinking about maybe getting another laptop. A bigger one. The biggest they got. I don't know. Perhaps my little nephew will have an idea of how to spend the money. LOL That little scamp.
I've also been thinking a lot about my family. My older brother and sister. We haven't spoken now for over a decade. I want to mend those fences with them however, they're not my fences to mend. I guess the years go by quicker than we think. I've also been looking back on my life for some reason. I try to explain to myself why I am who I am and why I live like I live. I ask myself the same questions lately. Mostly why I chose to stay single and never marry. My mother also asks me this question a lot too. LOL But I suppose in this family, I had to be the free thinker. While everyone else started their own businesses and or raised their own families, I just wanted to be able to go where ever I wanted to go when I wanted to go there. I wanted to jet set and be free. Then I start to think that maybe I am a little selfish or self centered. I don't know. I guess like everyone else, I only wanted to be happy. And for me to be happy, I had to pretty much be by myself.
Yet, I still wonder why I am one of those who prefers to be footloose and fancy free. I may never know why exactly I never yearned for the wife and kids life style that my siblings seem to enjoy, but when my mother looked up at me from the chair, with those faded brown eyes from all her years of life and asked me, "Are you really happy?" - I was able to cut her a sly grin and nod my head.
"Yes, mother, I really am happy with my life."
She keeps on insisting that she did something wrong in raising me. However, I dispute this. Mostly because, I am the artistic one in the family. She raised me just right. I respect life, and try to enjoy it at every turn. I have traveled many miles so far in my life through many years. I have many experiences that are locked away in my memories. No pictures. No videos. Just memories that are often highlighted by poetry. I play those memories over and over from time to time. But for now, I enjoy writing my songs and books. I enjoy my quiet time. My alone time. I'm comfortable in it.
The funny thing is, I've never felt lonely. Not once. I've loved, and I have been loved. A person can't ask for much more than that I reckon. More importantly, I have a lot of friends spread out across the nation. The world. I've met some amazing people in my life. Some famous, some not so famous. But amazing none the less. I'm a lucky guy. A very lucky guy.
I say this now because I have something coming up, on the horizon. I'm a little nervous about it. But regardless of the outcome, I know one thing, I have no regrets. ... Okay, maybe a few. But like Frank Sinatra said, "I did it my way."
I apologize for my disposition, it's just that I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately.
"Yes, mother, I really am happy with my life."