Darryl and I worked together at Almondale Middle School, in the Antelope Valley of Los Angeles County, for a dozen years or so. He retired after I did, and this visit of his brought back lots of memories. He and I spent hours talking about our years and the changes we had seen together.
I've changed since Darryl knew me. Now, I take time to eat, to talk, to indulge in reveries. Back when he knew me, I never took a proper lunch break. It was lunch duty for me, time to walk around campus, supervise the five-hundred middle graders whether they sat and ate in the cafeteria, played soccer on the field, or roamed the halls.
I was not any thinner then, even with constant running around, and a forced diet of carrot sticks, yogurt and nuts to last me through the day. On my drive back home though, sixty plus miles down to the San Fernando Valley, I'd stop at In-N-Out joint and splurge on a #2 combo, cheeseburger, fries and coke, to relax, to fill my empty tank, and leave my cares behind.
Our work was demanding: all our energies were focused and concentrated from the time we arrived in the morning to the time we left for home. We ran to the restroom; we ran back to our rooms. No water-cooler conversations; not much idle talk of any type. Like athletes on a basketball court, we were focused and aware of everyone's place and function at all times.
Now that I'm retired, I'm making up for all the lunches I missed, all the water-cooler conversations I never had. I go into reveries for hours, on this deck, watching the Ocean in the distance.