I was speaking to a woman in the neighborhood the other day. We’ve known each other for over ten years. She was sitting in the car, waiting for her husband to join her on a trip to their daughter’s in the city. The daughter works in TV, a successful media person, though not necessarily a household name.
How are things? She’s okay. He’s not so okay. He was laid off from his job several years ago and has joined the ranks of the underemployed, moving from manager at a brokerage house to working in the produce section of a local market three days a week. He seems smaller and grayer now than I remember. His good nature is an effort now, as though he has to remember the smile that always came so easily. Her business has fallen off too but she’s still fighting – she’s not sure he is anymore and it’s clearly a strain between them.
The daughter? She’s doing fine but fine isn’t good enough; everything in television is relentlessly moving forward, so doing ‘fine’ means you’re slipping behind. Nothing’s wrong yet but the pressure builds and the road forward gets foggy.
So how am I? Did she see on Facebook that I’m seeing someone? Yes. That’s good – it’s about time. You deserve someone nice. So you’re happy?
I’m very happy. It’s also scary sometimes, I say, being more honest than strictly required, as usual.
“But it’s good scary,”she says and I agree. It’s definitely good scary. Maybe even wonderful scary.
“Good scary,” she mulls. “These days, that’s enough.”