Ted's Thirty Day Awakening
“Enough,” Ted proclaimed to the world as he hopped out of bed and made his way to the office. “Time to forget yesterday and start anew.”
Ted moved his wallet exposing a silver dollar that had been hiding beneath it. He picked up the coin with his left hand and tossed it into the air. While it was still on its way up, he asked, “Am I standing here flipping a coin?” The moment the coin came to rest in the palm of his hand, he quickly flipped it over and deposited the coin onto the back of his right hand (to this day Ted has no memory as to who taught him to ). TAILS. For the rest of the day tails would be yes and heads … heads would be no.
“Should I take a shower?” Ted asked as he sent the coin skyward. HEADS. Ted would not be showering just yet. “Should I pack a few more boxes?” HEADS. Ted did a little dance. Well, truthfully, he did a little dance in his mind, even completely alone Ted was not about to dance. “Should I go for a walk?” TAILS. And with that Ted started off to enjoy a day of random living.
As he exited the elevator (looking back now, he probably should have flipped to pick elevator or stairs, but seeing as how he was in no mood for taking the stairs, he wasn’t about to risk having the coin choose the stairs) Ted flipped the coin yet again and asked, “Should I go to the left?” TAILS. Ted slid the coin back into his pocket and headed left down a winding little path which leads to the ocean.
Ted had taken this path hundreds of times since he bought the condo. But never had he done so with the feeling that this could be the last time he made this walk. Ted thought it strange how he always assumed there would always be another time and even more times after that. Fully aware that nothing lasts forever he remained unwilling to believe that what he was experiencing right now was something he would never do again.
Ted was so deep in thought about last times and his delusions that he didn’t notice the tree root until he tripped over it. During his slow-motion plummet to the ground, Ted was able to turn just enough so that instead of having to use his arms and forehead to break his fall his hip and rear end took the brunt of the fall. Ted sat there for a few minutes cursing that damn e root. Of course, the root had not sprung up this morning, it had been in this spot for decades. “But,” Ted wondered, “had it been lying in wait? Watching for an opportunity when Ted was so focused on the past or worrying about a future possibility he did not notice the root. And seeing an opportunity the root had summoned all its energy and lifted itself ever so slightly to trip him. That’s one diabolical root.” It is doubtful that the root had no such plans, but Ted found comfort in the possibility. A sinister root out to topple a middle-aged man sounded much better than the other story, the one where a semi-conscious, distracted, middle-aged man too busy chasing after monsters in his mind simply did not notice the root.
Ted brushed himself off. Looked around to verify that no one had witnessed his not ready for Cirque du Soleil acrobatics, and the continued down the path. But unlike a few minutes earlier, he was present. He noticed the brave plants that were reaching out over the path. Hoping for more sunlight and more space in which to grow. Only to be beaten back by the legs of the people and animals that came this way.
Ted noticed a piece of a candy wrapper lying next to the path, so he reached down, , and placed it in one of his pockets. Not the pocket with the coin, a different pocket, the one where keys and a pocket knife had taken up residence (as they did anytime Ted left the condo). By the time Ted reached the ocean the candy wrapper had been joined by a plastic water bottle, a small bag that once had been home to some potato chips, and three cigarette butts. There was no telling who had left these items behind and Ted didn’t care, he had been raised with the motto “see litter, pick it up.” A fond childhood memory of his was a camping trip with his parents, he must have been ten or eleven at the time. One morning, while out fishing, they happened upon three car tires. They pulled the tires out from the river and left them on the bank (for now) as they continued upstream to do some more fishing. Upon their return, they each took a tire and rolled, kicked, and at times carried those tires all the way back to camp. It was a two-mile hike unlike any he had taken before or since. They brought the tires home with them and ended up having to pay a local recycling company to take them.
With nothing but ocean stretching out before him for thousands of miles, Ted reached into his pocket and sent the coin into the air. “Should I head back to the Condos?” HEADS. “Should I head over to the marina?” TAILS. Ted slid the coin back into its resting place and headed off toward the Marina.
Coming as he had, from the ocean, there was a bridge Ted had to go under before he was technically “at the marina.” The bridge served as a roof for a handful of homeless individuals. Ted had come this way many times over the years and . As he approached, one of the men called out, “Ted, how you doing brother?” And came over and gave Ted a hug.
“Taking it day by day,” Ted replied.
“How’s the condo? Those bank fuckers kick you out?”
“Not yet. But soon.”
“Well, you’re always welcome here,” the man said looking up at the bridge. “At least here you can get out of the rain.” He smiled with what Ted referred to as a “hockey player’s smile.”—there were holes where teeth should have been.
“Thank you,” Ted replied as he felt a strong hand grab onto his shoulder.
“You coming to my wedding next week?” A familiar voice asked.
“I will be there, have a reminder on the fridge,” Ted replied as he turned and was greeted with a hug.
While listening to a rather winded and rambling story about the upcoming wedding and some other goings on around here, Ted noticed a man whom he had never seen before coming their way. The man got just close enough to hear their conversation and started dancing. Ted admired the freedom with which this man danced for all to see. And on top of that, the fact that he was dancing without the accompaniment of music. At least not music anyone other than the dancer could hear. Ted was too embarrassed (or self-conscious) to dance in the condo, even with no one watching. And here, this man was dancing out in public where hundreds could see him. These individuals may be living on the fringes of society but somehow they always inspired Ted in some way. He was better for having spent time in their company.
During a lull in the conversation, Ted coaxed the coin from his pocket and tossed it into the air. Seeing it leave his hand both men spoke up (it reminded Ted of how reports all shout at once at a news conference). The question that got through was, “Should Ted go to the Library?” HEADS. Not knowing if that was a yes or a no, both gentlemen looked at Ted, waiting for him to speak.
Ted flipped the coin again and this time the other gentleman asked, “Is Ted’s luck about to change?” TAILS.
“See, everything’s going to get better Ted, and soon.”
Ted smiled, flipped the coin and asked, “Should I go back to the condo?” TAILS. And with that Ted slid the coin back into his pocket, said his goodbyes and headed back the way he had just come.
At the edge of being in earshot, Ted heard, “Don’t forget about the wedding.” Without breaking stride, or looking back, Ted raised his hand high over his head and gave a thumbs up.