To: Everyone we’ve been ignoring
From: Dave Iseman
I wish you were here. That way, I wouldn’t have to work so hard to explain where my wife Lynn and I now live. It’s Seattle, which got its name from an Indian chief. The word has come to mean “reconciler” because the chief wisely decided to try to accommodate the odd, strangely dressed people who swooped in to steal all the land around Puget Sound. I am trying to emulate the chief when I ride the bus here, often with folks who look different than me. The other day on the No. 5 heading downtown, this guy rolled his cartload of possessions on board and settled in at the front, where the bus driver usually straps in the people in wheelchairs. This guy got comfortable, pulled out his plastic jug of coffee and announced, “OK guys. Gotta go a long ways downtown, now.” I tried not to stare, thinking he was just talking to his duffel bag. The bus driver knew him, though, and joined in a detailed discussion of how the guy’s pet ferrets were doing. Once I looked closer, I could see the guy tickling them through the holes in their little cage, bungeed in the cart next to the duffel bag. If I heard right, they are Tina and Nickey and he often walks them on leashes. The gregarious bus driver announced to the guy, and to anyone lucky enough to be sitting in the first nine rows within earshot, that she didn’t like ferrets as much as her pet rats.
Most places Lynn and I have lived since we got rid of our home and most of our possessions have had good public transportation options. Lynn doesn’t allow me to have the car as much as I would like. She says she needs to be able to get to work quickly, when she’s on call as a nurse. I guess that’s true. I try not to question her, anymore. She brings home almost all the bacon now, and I don’t wanna be a pig. See what I did there. Anyway, I just sigh and hold my tongue. Don’t judge me. We’re still married after 37 years.
Picking a place to live in a new city can really suck. I spent all kinds of time researching apartments in Denver before we moved there. Only afterward did Lynn tell me she would not live in any apartment higher than, well, probably three stories. Something about fear of heights that I swear I never heard once in the past 36 years. She also said she would not live on the first floor, too close to the bad folks who might be looking to break in and beat up my feeble ass. Did I mention I’m disabled now? Makes for great deals on bus passes.
Everytime we move — Seattle is Lynn’s third assignment as a highly specialized, much-needed and empathetic nurse, even if she does not really pity me as much as I would like, considering my disability — we get rid of more and more and more stuff! Those of you who remember me might recall how much I loved to tinker and build, especially in the little shed my kids and I built when we lived in Springfield, Mo. Well, no more of that. However, for a time when we lived in an apartment complex in Denver, we had a little garage. I found lots of stuff to fix up that our neighbors seemed to throw away every week. Twice, I was mistaken for the complex’s maintenance guy.
Adam, our youngest kid who is now all grown up like the other four, built an odd-looking treadmill desk that I’m trying to sell for him on craigslist. With Lynn and me moving around so much and getting rid of so much stuff, I bragged to Adam that I was adept at using craigslist. I once actually sold a table that had been in the garbage for $100. My wife was skeptical that it was actually in the garbage and not just sitting there waiting to be moved in to someone’s apartment in that Denver complex I was telling ya about. I stand by my story. Anyway, we live near Adam now. He’s an electrical engineer and has lots of smart friends. As you might expect, when you become a feeble ass, it can be very hard on your adult children. Especially when your wife moves you to the same city where the kids moved to get away from you. Anyway, where was I? Worse yet, where am I? Oh yeah, Seattle. We’ve already been here several months and I have to have some skill to brag about now that I’m a feeble ass. If you respond to the treadmill ad and say you’ve read this Christmas letter, you’ll get 10 percent off.
Can’t stop thinking about the apartment where we lived in Upland, California, Lynn’s first assignment. That complex had a fancy pool and hot tub and wasn’t too far from our daughter Carla, an optometrist now. She got my feeble ass some free glasses. It rains a lot in Seattle and we don’t have a pool or hot tub. Just a balcony. We might move next to be closer to our oldest, Luke, an entrepreneur in Oakland, California, or Mia, a social media expert in Austin, Texas, or Scott, a chiropractor in NYC. My wife tries not to signal too far ahead of time where she plans to dump me next.
Have a happy holiday. Hope this missive finds you well. Unless, of course, that’s impossible and you’re dead. Sorry about that. I haven’t been the best at keeping in touch. Sorry about that, too. But time really freakin’ flies. Especially when it takes so much longer to do stuff, like walk to the bus. Did I tell you how much my leg is freakin’ killin’ me? Anyway, where was I again? Oh, yeah, if you have already crossed over, lemme know where you ended up. You know, basically up or down. Don’t need any long-winded updates with lots of adjectives or adverbs. That’s what Facebook is for. Ix-nay on the elfie-says, too, please, even if you are still alive. You’re getting old and might scare me if I haven’t seen ya for a while. Stick to the important stuff, you know, like I have here. Also, lemme know if you have any special insight into where America is headed. I’m apprehensive. Luke is already planning to leave the country if it continues to go to … well … you know, especially if you’re already there. I have some strong feelings on our current state of affairs. I really don’t want to live in a nation with— Oops, sorry. This is a Christmas letter. I don’t wanna get all political on ya. Enjoy your holidays. Be good. Be kind, especially to the feeble-assed — don’t mock them like the current alleged leader of our freakin’ nation. Oops, sorry again. I’m a bit preoccupied with that pompous ass, as you can probably tell if you take a close look at the, well, more colorful parts of this letter. Here’s hoping for change in the New Year. Cheers!