2019 in Review

I’ll start my 2019 in review here. In October I turned sixty. That’s officially old to me. The boomer thing of “sixty is the new thirty” doesn’t work for me. I don’t want a redo. I’m here on the final third after forty years of fits and starts at picking a direction and succeeding with it.

In August of 2018 Compucom and Altria let me go. There was no explanation. Just Steve walking me to the door and collecting my badge. I decided I wasn’t going to look for another job. I don’t fit the corporate world. 1995 to 2018, 23 years trying to enjoy wearing business casual clothes and pretending I’m just another cube rat. Steve did me a favor.

Toy Car
© Arts Fire 2019

I am a rat—a rat king. My place, though, isn’t in a cubicle. It’s behind the wheel of a taxicab hunting for money. Since 8/2018 I’ve been doing Rideshare through Uber & Lyft. My idea of a company became a fact. @transitwebb is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Baugh Holding Company. Today it is the legal entity for my rideshare work. In the next four years, it needs to be a multi-million dollar competitor in the transportation business in Richmond, VA.

Impossible Rats

Impossible? Probably. This rat has been in business for himself 478 days as of this essay. In those days he started the business with a single paycheck from his previous job, a Subaru Legacy and nothing to lose. Since then the Subaru was in a wreck and can’t be used for rideshare any longer. The rented 2015 Chevy Equinox gave me a year of business before being turned in for a newer Chevy Equinox that was wrecked before I got it. Which meant I couldn’t keep the newer Equinox. Which meant I didn’t have a car for work.

Also in 2018, my Dad’s chronic heart disease put him in the hospital twice, each time scaring us that this time he would go home to Christ. The first call came at the end of October as I was pulling out of McGeorge Toyota on West Broad. As I headed down West Broad Street I told my sister I’d start the drive to South Jersey in the morning.

Long Live the King

When I got to Kennedy Hospital my Dad was in bad shape but on the mend. While I was there he managed to sit up on his own. The docs cleared him for release and he went home. I went home feeling good that he’d pull through again.

I’ll get back to what happened with the work car story. Looking back at my facebook posts from October of 2018 I was conflicted. Yes, I’d like to see him heal. Also, he’s 86 and at some point “extraordinary measures” don’t seem compassionate to me.

My Dad went home to Jesus on December 5th, 2018. He was 86. He died in my sister’s arms after trying to get to the car and a doctor’s appointment and falling. When people die things don’t just stop. They leave behind an estate and a legacy. The survivors gain the task of wrapping up a lifetime of assets. It took until March of 2018 to finish my part of that. My sister Linda is the executrix and still has work to do.

Slack Wire Cottage

My Dad’s passing set a tone for most of this year. I tried to make a home in a cubicle because of him. His fondest wish for me was that I’d find a nice, white-collar union job and stick with it. Doh. Sorry, Dad, I ran out the clock on that one. His fiscal security came from a lifetime of prudent saving and investing. Yeah . . . well . . . my rent got paid on the 5th this month. I haven’t paid the light bill yet. Savings? Is $23.00 enough to retire on? No. Ruh-roh.

Where I thrive is on the edge of disaster with no safety net. I’m at my best when life is at its worst. I also am fearless when everyone can’t figure out how to accomplish a goal. Not knowing how to do something isn’t a hindrance to me. So my nirvana is dystopia where all the king’s men are bending over to kiss their own ass goodbye and nobody knows what to do.

$1500 to my name and at least that in bills, just got fired and I decided to start a business. My Dad falls ill and I have enough cash to buy gas to get me to South Jersey but that’s it. It’s a shitshow and reasonable to believe it’s all going to fail. Yet it didn’t.


So, back to the car. I inherited some money from my Dad. Not a lot but mayhaps enough to fix my Subaru and put a nice down payment on a new car. The rental car company claims I wrecked their car. They are wrong. Their car had damage to the front fender that made the driver’s door rub on the fender. I didn’t think much of it until two days later when I worked a half-shift and took a closer look at it. I initiated a call to have it fixed that within a few hours became an at-fault accident report. No newer rented Chevy Equinox for me.

All is well that ends well. Over a week in September of this year, I talked with Richmond Ford about buying a new Ford Flex. They said yes to me so now I have a huge loan for a new Ford Flex. It’s not cheaper than the rental but it’s new, it’s a loan so I’ll have equity over time, and because of depreciation, it’ll be paid for sooner than the 3-year note.

2019 has been a milestone year for me. When my Dad died I inherited the patriarchy. I am the oldest male on my bloodline. We are not a family that takes kindly to kings. We bristle at the scent of imperialism. So my reign is an odd one. I rule over a contrary bunch of women who think of me as the odd duck who does crazy oppressive shit.

King of the Impossible

The king metaphor is important to me. I’m not the troublesome prince that gives the family nightmares. I am the king now. What I do, how I serve, affects my contrary kin. I am consequential in a way I wasn’t before my Dad died. It is good to be king. It is also terrifying.

60 and the average life expectancy in the US is 79 years. If I make the average I’ll be having beers with Jesus in 2038. 19 years to finish strong. A generation to fill the royal shoes of my Dad—starting from my usual dystopia and confusion.

I’ve heard it my whole life, “you can’t do that. You aren’t capable of it. You have no resources and no plan. It’s going to fail.” Yeah. Then I do it.

Many Decembers as I look at my life it’s not a happy time. The level of shitshow is acute. Dystopia and disaster loom once again. Death is sleeping on my couch. Here I am anyway.

This December the lights are on, the house is warm, I own the car I use for work, my cash flow is improved. It’s still a shitshow but the feared dystopia is dimming in the starlight above my house. I am a king, mayhaps a bit too pitiful but a king nonetheless.

Last thing, the WU folks (formerly PUDFARB and now World Union) are rather desperate. They hate the idea that I’d launch a podcast mocking them. Sucks to be them. Look for WUPR to launch in 2020.