SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 79: “Just Another Day In Paradise”

“The way I try to live my life? Positive mind set, and not focusing on the negative.”

“I Like to use this quote and I say it at least ten time a day, “Just another day in paradise.‘”

There is no busy travel journal today, I do not profess placing myself in a vicarious situation or tell you of any deep discovery of an unknown place or culture.

What I am following in my wife’s (Terri) discovery of last week. The strangers within our circle. See “For The Love Of Dogs”.

The weekend is very busy with home improvements, I’m reworking the pantry and at 7pm, I am seeing no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Not even close to completing the work I have started. The night is starting to run away and discouragement is beginning to set in, “When will I be able to find my 365 friend.”

The phone rings with a friend of ours asking for some support. Gladly I accept, after all we are all in this life together. Her reason, “I have all my family in town, I am falling behind, can you teach my class tomorrow?”

We finish our conversation and end our phone call. No sooner than I hang up, this thought hits me, “I don’t know her in-laws. never met them, and am curious to hear their story.”

At first I think that here I go, cheating again feeling. But quickly I reflect back to Terri’ s post, and realizing that I must keep my eyes open to everyone, even those who are linked by acquaintance, I humble up and call back

The result, 9pm and I am interviewing son-in-law, Kim.

We start up our conversation with a life perspective; his statement of, “Just another day in paradise.‘”

For may this statement would sound somewhat pessimist. That is the inverse of what he is saying. “Just another day in paradise.” refers to exactly that, another day in paradise.

Kim loves life, all experiences good or bad. Like many who have come before him in 365, he chimes in with, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” At first introduction, Kim is like many of us, a hard working man striving to find a better life for himself, and his family.

What is revealing is his point-or-view, and its link to his profession: Auto sales.

If your anything like me, there is only one experience worse than a tooth extraction without the comfort of Novacane. A pretty bold statement, but for theatrical purposes, please bear with me.

That experience? A visit to the car dealership in purchasing a vehicle. I’m still healing from the great truck lease ripoff of 1995. It was classic! My wife and I are newly married, honneymoon still obvious in our eyes. Three hours in the showroom, sales office and managers office. The guys are seemingly helpful in doing their best to help a new, young (and extremely handsome:) couple start life out with affordable transportation. Boy, where we sucked in.

In the end, beaten down by the lovely four square, we drive off the lot in our new set of hand cuffs, and not feeling to proud of our negotiation skills. At that moment we vowed, “Never again!”

The good news, Truck is still running. Good thing, we bought it two or three times.

Here is what I like about Kim: In his words, “I started out on the dark side, working for a dealership, but now I’ve moved into the light.”

Light, Dark, Car Sales – Do tell.

Kim knows all the tricks from the inside of the industry. No longer does he sell his soul to the dealerships, his life is now focused on aiding the consumer, a radical shift from increasing the dealerships bottom line. Seems he has found his calling as the General Manager of a company that specializes in car buying. It called a concierge service. “I work with my clients in negotiating for them, they tell me their needs and I find them a vehicle. “I know how to fairly negotiate, and it’s what I’m good at.”

I find out more about Kim. Originally from Norway, Kim tells me of his life trials, things like troubled teens and battles with drugs, all heavily in the past. “I’m a better person from working past it and I’m happy with life.”

Kim has incredible regard for people. Something that he not only has learned from his life trials, but also from seeing the dark side of auto sales. “I want my customers to be taken care of.” It’s more to Kim than merely sales, it’s a true statement as to his character.

A father of two, Kim looks brightly towards the future. His world perspective is open and compassionate, “Never judge a book by it’s cover,” he has told me and he really means it.

He speaks of the “The circle of life.” Defining it as this, “We make more money to spend more money. But it is not about that, it is about balance, security for you family and their safety.”

Safety? how does that fit into the conversation? Kim tells me of Norway, “We are thinking of one day returning there. It is a very safe place to raise a family. Kids still play in the woods and the crime rate is low.”

Yes it is a Socialist country. And trust me, I am not bagging on the USA. But some of what he says is resonant. He quotes, ‘Everyone is taken care of. If you are out of work, you are provided a real income, allowing you to survive while you find work; you can retire comfortably and the working lifestyle is much calmer.”

The lifestyle thing grabs my ear. “The people are friendly and there is no social pressure to be overly competitive.” Norway seems to be about healthy balance, even making it mandatory for all to have five weeks paid vacation a year.

This next statement troubles me. Now this is coming from Kim, a very well adjusted extrovert with a charitable nature, “All my years in Los Angeles and I can honestly say that I have one true friend. Whereas, even though I am only there a once a year, I have many real friends in Norway. And we stay in touch, even with the distance.”

I’ll take this comment as a call to action and an affirmation to all who contribute to 365. The call, simply this, “Be a Friend”

After all, “It’s another day in paradise.”