“What is life all about, Ray?”
I’m sitting at my desk trying to come up with a cute idea for today’s blog and La Flor* asks about the meaning of life. My head feels like it’s performing on the uneven parallel bars at the Olympics. I ask her for clarification, “Why are you asking me, La Flor*? Do I look like I’ve figured it out?”
“Not a chance. Who else is there to ask. I don’t see anyone else in the room with us, Ray. Who do you think I was asking, if not you,” asked La Flor? A puzzled look on her face as she glances around the room.
I pondered her question. La Flor is serious. I can’t criticize her. I’ve had colleagues accuse me of being ADHD and that was one of their nicer compliments. I don’t know what prompted La Flor to ask me what life is all about.
I turned the question around and said, “What do you think life is all about, La Flor?”
La Flor looked at me, shrugged, and said, “I always do better in deep conversations with a glass of wine, crackers, and cheese. I know you don’t drink. I still can’t figure an Italian not drinking wine. This is one of the mysteries that Leflore, beautiful, tough, and edgy is trying to figure out. I’ll be right back.”
I’m trying to get used to La Flor slipping between the first and third person as if her conversation were normal. I’m still not used to it.
Five minutes later, La Flor places a glass half filled with Sauvignon Blanc, a wedge of fresh buffalo mozzarella, and wheat crackers and the remainder of the bottle on my desk next to my laptop. I’m freaking out. What if she gets excited and knocks over her wine on my keyboard?
I do my guy thing showing nothing bothers me even when it really does. “No problemo, La Flor. I looked at her wheat crackers and tossed a bit of guy humor toward her, “Good thing you don’t have a gluten allergy,” I said.
“Ray, if we’re going to have a serious conversation about life back off and let me sip my wine, a few bites of my cheese and crackers and I’ll be ready. What would make you want to talk about glue? I don’t have a glue allergy I don’t use glue.”
I made a mental note about the tough part of the beautiful, tough, and edgy description. I’ve not seen it before. It fits.
La Flor took a sip of wine, another bite of mozzarella on a wheat cracker and then said, “I’m trying to help you, Ray. I’ll keep it simple. Like you say, guy speak.”
“I can use all the help I can get,” I said.
“Life is like the perfect cup of coffee.”
“I hope Starbucks doesn’t steal that as a slogan. That’s pretty good, La Flor. What does it mean?”
“Am I being a little too deep for you, Ray?”
” I’m over my head in this conversation, La Flor.”
“The perfect cup of coffee has the right balance of boldness, a sassy flavor, and an aroma that makes you want to keep coming back for more,” La Flor said with a smug sense of self-satisfaction.
“I think I’m getting your point, La Flor. The perfect cup of coffee is like you.”
“I never thought of it that way, but there are striking similarities. And if I may continue…”
“Please do, La Flor. I’m interested in knowing more about what life is all about.”
La Flor poured more wine into her glass. She took another sip, and said, “When life is all wrong, it’s like a bad cup of coffee.”
“How’s so,” I said.
“Oh, Ray, you really need to get out more. You have to begin to have conversations with people who are interested in things other than the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots, Ohio State football, and good pizza venues.”
“I didn’t know there was more to life,” I said. I was worried she may be right. If she is, it will create an imbalance in my perfect world.
“No wonder, girls night out has become institutionalized. We need deep, intelligent, conversations free from football, baseball, and action-adventure flicks. It’s the kind of talk we can only get from each other.”
“Remind me if you would like to see the Spiderman movie with me this weekend?”
La Flor looked at me, then grabbed the bottle of wine to refill her glass. I wasn’t sure if I was the cause.
“You never explained to me how life going wrong is like a bad cup of coffee,” I said.
“Do I really. really need to explain to you what a bad cup of coffee tastes like?”
“I get your point. Did you get your question answered, La Flor?”
“What question, Ray?”
“What is life all about?”
“You’re asking the wrong person, Ray. Why would you want to know? Are you having an existential crisis?”
“Where did you pick up that term? And do you know what it means?”
“I was practicing my PI stuff over at the philosophy blog. They were having a heated discussion about an existential crisis. I walked in and told them to take it to the UN to solve the crises.”
“How did that work?
“La Flor, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI stopped the argument. They couldn’t speak. I think the group leader was hyperventilating. They stared at me with their mouths wide open. I bowed and left.”
“I’m impressed, La Flor.”
“I enjoyed our deep conversation. A bit of a heads up for you, Ray.”
“What’s that, La Flor?”
“Deep conversations can be very boring. I think I would rather you talk about football. At least you know what you’re talking about, some of the time. Are you going to let me in your fantasy football league?”
“We have six weeks to think about it, La Flor”.
” Okay, in the meantime, I think I will text my alt ego friends to come on over and enjoy life with me. I’ll be happy we can spend time together. You don’t mind, do you, Ray?”alt ego friends to come on over and enjoy life with me. I’ll be happy we can spend time together. You don’t mind, do you, Ray?”
“You go girl.”
I like La Flor’s attitude, life is about living it, enjoying friends, filling the moments with love, happiness, and joy. La Flor grabs hold of life with both hands and won’t let go. I think I’ll do the same.
* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI. It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.