Living Out Loud

Where Do You Find Comfort?


I am a creature of habit. I like to get up at the same time every day, go to bed at the same time, eat my meals at the same time. I'm not at Rainman level when it comes to things. I do have a degree of flexibility when called upon. It's that it’s seldom that I have to exercise that. With blogging, I find it much easier to write every day as opposed to on occasion. I've been partially conditioned this way by my wife. She trains a fair amount for the endurance running she enjoys and needs to time her meals and sleep around her crazy long runs and strength and flexibility training. I eat when she eats and sleep when she sleeps so her habits have become my own.

I'm a sensory person. The smell of coffee has an almost physical effect on me. The thought of having a cup and the ritual of procuring it is soothing. I like certain mugs because of the way they fit in my hand. I made coffee over an alcohol stove every day on the Appalachian Trail. The thought of starting a day without it is incomprehensible.

The idea of comfort food is a solid reality. I do the cooking at our house, and it tends to be pretty utilitarian. Once in a while though, my wife, who is of Italian heritage, her grandfather was an immigrant, makes homemade spaghetti sauce with pasta and meat and I feel the love in every bite. I am big on the ritual of eating breakfast at the diner at the end of my street where I have been going for 30 years. It's grits, fried eggs and the Southern delicacy that we call country ham, but I've ordered it many times and the waitresses bring me "the regular" unprompted.

I've listened to the Beatles since I was a child. I've always had all their records and there is no telling how many times I've listened to them. Hearing the opening notes to "A Day in the Life" is like a drug in the way it makes me feel. I'm sure it causes neurotransmitter to shoot into my pre-frontal cortex. A couple of other artists, like Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor affect me in a similar way.

Touching is comforting. My wife, who drives when we travel, can rest her hand on my leg for the entirety of a two hour journey. When we sit at night having quiet time before bed, she props her feet against me as I sit down the couch from her, typing away while occasionally reaching over to squeeze her calf affectionately. I would never, ever leave the house with a hug and a kiss. If you come see me, unless I get a vibe, I'll probably hug you too.  

We all seek comfort to a degree and variety and spontaneity are the things craved by certain people. I get that. I hope everyone can figure out how to find it.