As I imagined playing the final three holes of the U.S. Open (in my mind), on Sunday afternoon and under par I might add – it was blissful, yet where are the crowds?
I had recently transitioned out of a fun, but far less than challenging job held since high school, a grocery position where I became an expert in fine foods, cheeses, wines, and farm fresh produce from around the world.
We were the only store who carried high grade caviar, French champagne and a host of other items fit for the gourmet kitchen or table – simply put, the finer things. Julia Child was not just a customer, she was a friend who loved to tease.
Daily interaction with people from all walks of life and income levels allowed for unique customer friendships and I was on first name basis with many celebrities. My annoyingly friendly personality was honed to a skillful level in my twenties and helping people enjoy their shopping experience in my store was a highlight.
I could happily spend an entire afternoon on the 10 items or less, cash only register.
The random characters all paying with $100 bills on an assortment of cocktail ingredients and high price libations was amazing, even on Sunday mornings. I learned then that only a true gentleman can whip up a Ramos Fizz to ease a morning’s hangover and at a moments notice, in the upper parking lot on the tailgate of a Range Rover.
Frequently I house and garden sat, caring for animals, orchids and African violets – my green thumb continues to serve me well thanks Mom and my Nana. I was referred to as a clean responsible young man, and while living in someone else’s winter or summer home in Montecito I would typically fix or make something better by the time the owners got home.
The fact that I was living in a cottage in need of repair and just down the street from the store for a paltry $250 a month overlooking the country club golf course didn’t matter much. My needs were met inexpensively, it was warm, safe and well hidden.
I was recently separated from my first wife, had moved out of a wonderful home I had lived in for seven years and for the first time in years, I was alone. Embracing the process of eliminating underwhelming reminders of my past, was healing my heart and I began writing in a journal for the very first time.
I had transitioned into a golf shop assistant at a local country club, making seven dollars an hour, with two meals a day and occasionally a very large cocktail (in a to-go cup) at the end of my 12 hour day. I was paying $250 a month to live in a converted garage assessable only through a huge hedge and I played golf four days a week.
I played any course in Southern California for free as long as I called ahead, was polite, respectful and willing to play golf with their membership. Even the exclusive ones were assessable on Mondays and I took full advantage, believe me…
Life was quite good, I had no debt, no car, no real cares and a growing group of friends who were exceptional golfers who I learned much from. The idea of a long, hectic commute didn’t even enter my mind.
Later in life I can recall spending up to three hours in my car on my round trip to achieve a higher salary, more responsibility and more hours in front of a computer.
I miss those days when I walked to work, was on a best friend basis with the membership’s dogs roaming the fresh cut grass checking in with me as I knocked that pristine white ball into the hole. Life was simple and besides being deeply happy, I enjoyed a care free lifestyle and I was getting paid enough to survive quite nicely.
“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” ~ Martha Washington
So once again I am blissfully alone, yet happier than I have been in years as I pursue my passions. I wake early to experience the sunrise and as I search for my next rewarding vocation, I walk often and smile always. Cheers!