Monday, September 23, 2002

Taking Advantage of Waning Interest

One of the ways you learn to work your way through a devastating loss is to put your head down, learn how to concentrate on the day to day stuff so you somehow can get through the next day. Make it through that day and all you have in front of you is another day. Long term goals and dreams lose some of their connection as you learn to treasure the dependable routine rather than being caught off guard by any unpredictable spontaneity. You're really doing your best to cope (or at least trying to in your own bruised way) with the loss of something you've always counted on being there that you have to somehow accept will never be there ever again.

And you want to know something odd? Years down the road whether it be two or three or four or five you may not even realize how your own life's philosophy has changed so much. You literally can't remember or envision how it was ever any different. Hard as it has become to picture things (let alone believe in them) more than a mere few days ahead, one of the ways you press forward is for your own struggling financial sake finally deciding to take advantage of the all time low home loan interest rates and refinance your six(!) year old mortgage.

The paperwork and the process is daunting because you've never really done anything like this before other than the time you applied for your original home loan all those years ago but that was an entirely different you, an entirely different period of your life (and mindset) altogether.

So you find yourself one early morning driving to the other side of town following carefully jotted down directions to your strange destination. You've left yourself an hour and a half to fight through the morning rush hour traffic and the inevitability you will get a little lost somewhere along the way. Traffic turns out to be even worse than anticipated (dreaded) and the uneasiness in your stomach is made more noticeable because you really don't know where you are going.

But as your car finally starts moving again after having crept along for an hour or so in bumper to bumper traffic on 494 until you get past the 35W interchange you know you're getting close to the area you are supposed to be in. Your directions tell you as much as does the city limit sign that you passed just an exit or so back.

As you get off on the exit that your directions directed you to follow you look down and realize you have left out one rather significant piece of information: you don't have the actual address that you are looking for. You have the street and the description of the building ("it's a six story office building with smoke glass windows," the voice of the chipper closing agent from the title company had told you). As you drive up and down the mocking boulevard you realize your luck isn't running on high as you see several six story complexes with smoke glass windows. And you don't even have a phone number to call.

A better legal description of where you are in life couldn't have been more accurately or symbolically played out if you had tried to create such a scenario in your mind staring at the ceiling on one of the many sleepless nights you have become used to. You just don't know what your destination is anymore.

You think of the wonderful moment you somehow related to in the Wilco documentary I'm Trying To Break Your Heart where Jeff Tweedy and the band's manager are in the office of the band's new record label Nonesuch. A young woman who clearly has never heard of the group is leading the duo to the upstairs executive suite. Tweedy gives a priceless sardonic sideways glance into the camera seemingly wanting to be anywhere but where he currently is.

The most demoralizing feeling of all in a self imposed and created cesspool of increasingly disheartening feelings is suddenly coming to the realization that you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whether it's as a grade school kid stepping on the wrong bus and getting sent to the wrong side of town or as an adult realizing that on the most significant day in many a year for many reasons for the local baseball team the rest of town seems more concerned about a couple of missed point after touchdown attempts. Such is life when you're a baseball fan in a football town.

You find you have enough left inside to find a way to get your refinanced loan done. Your tightness with your wallet is so legendary that a reporter calls you to ask your impressions of spending an ungodly amount of your savings to see an artist who has shaped your life and has fueled whatever enthusiasm you have ever mustered through the most trying times. You remember how your Mom stopped and thanked you for playing "Hey Jude" on the piano just about every time you pulled that particular piece out of your limited repertoire (she really did listen). You don't have much to offer to the reporter's story other than you have tried your best, particularly recently to somehow take a sad song and make it better.

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