There is something about life and the steady march forward that is, at times, depressing. I hadn’t been able to put my finger on it for the past few years but I’ve felt it. The feeling that each step forward requires leaving something behind. Things that define me. Little intangible things that become faded memories. My hairline recedes while my waistline expands. It is hard to remind yourself that the past doesn’t exist and the traditions you left aren’t lingering just beyond view. They have moved on as well.
I have a few friends who have been a part of my story and life is doing its best to spread us far and wide. Our kids don’t know each other and given our histories, that seems criminal. I have some other friends that, honestly, I don’t know all of their kids’ names. I try to commit them to memory whenever I see them scroll by on Facebook. It is difficult at best. Until I say them out loud a few times, in person, I probably won’t remember. Nostalgia and a longing to keep connected wrestles with an impossible schedule. I can’t seem to carve out time to clean my garage to change the hard-to-reach light bulb in my stairwell. How can I expect to keep up friendships?
A couple of years ago I took a trip to California to be best man in my best friend’s wedding. It was a great trip and I met a lot of great people. Since that trip, my friend’s life has changed and his little girl is getting older. We tell everyone that we are brothers from another mother and my kids know him as an uncle that lives across the country.
One night I was texting with my friend and lamenting to my wife that I never got the chance to go hang out anymore. She was obviously bored with hearing about it and told me I could go visit. I quickly searched for tickets and lo-and-behold there were cheap ones. Like really cheap. I booked a trip leaving on a Thursday and returning the following Monday so I would have three unimpeded days of “hanging out”. Neither of us really considered the logistics but I was very excited to have a chance to see my friend and his young family.
I also learned that when you tell family that you are going on a weekend trip across the country by yourself, they have one of two reactions. 1) Is everything okay? You know… martially? And 2) Are you looking for a new job?
- Yes… yes.
I just want to go do hoodrat stuff with my friends. Is that too much to ask? (A YouTube video reference)
The weekend that I selected was for the exact purpose that our calendar was absolutely clear. Nothing going on. Within one week of leaving the schedule started to fill. Severe storms threatened with tornados and flooding. Jane had a horse riding event to go to. Prima had her first overnight birthday party. Jungle Papaw was coming to visit. My sister from Florida was coming to visit. Plus Supermom does not deal with me leaving in a particularly pleasant manner.
I flew away with a storm brewing at home but I was still excited. The flight out was long. I started in Memphis. Flew to Tampa to change planes and fly to San Jose.
I watched security transfer 10 Million dollars out of the belly of our plane. Bag after bag of cash came down the conveyor. I expected a shoot-out and explosions but it didn’t happen.
I managed to see all of the oceans of America in one day. The flight from Tampa was awesome. I sat next to a mother with a six month old baby who liked to breastfeed and fart every thirty minutes. When he wasn’t eating, he was drooling on my arm and kicking his legs while trying to make sounds. Cute kid but it made for a rough five hours.
I finally arrived in California and started the trip with a delicious In-And-Out double double. With fries. It was late so I went to bed. I had accommodations in the most comfortable bed I have enjoyed in a while. I didn’t even mind the Anna and Elsa pillows although I did feel guilty kicking Ms. K out of her room. The next day we went to Stanford to see the campus. We went to San Francisco and had an amazing sandwich. Went to The Ranch and played golf in the hills over-looking San Jose.
I lost about sixteen golf balls and got into some stinging nettle plants. That night we went to a craft beer brew house and ate burritos from a taco truck. I got to meet several really cool dads. Shout out to my new friend “Alejandro” and fellow member of the JMSC. (Stay strong) The next day we took a family trip down to Monterrey and looked at the ocean. It was beautiful but the beach was not a useful beach. Cold water, coarse sand, pieces of seaweed, and cold breeze off the ocean.
Later that afternoon I called Supermom to see how things were going on the home-front. She had just left a birthday party and was sitting at a traffic light when I heard a smashing sound and she said, “What the f&$%?!”
I could hear a wavering male voice in the background saying, “Don’t worry, don’t worry, I have insurance.”
Supermom said, “I’ll have to call you back. Someone just hit me.”
She hung up the phone and left me with a lot of questions. In about thirty seconds she called back in tears. “He ran away! I told him we needed a police report and he jumped in his truck and left! What an asshole!” I could hear people walking up and asking her if she was okay and offering their witness testimony of what happened. The man was driving a 2006 Toyota Tacoma, wearing a red hat, clean shaved white male in his mid-twenties, drunk, and a terrible person on the inside. If you see him, slap him.
The policeman arrived and according to procedure had to check Supermom’s information. We did not put the new insurance cards into the glovebox so she almost got a ticket. Luckily, the officer had a heart that was connected to a brain so he followed her to the house to see the new insurance card. A ticket for being the victim of a hit-and-run would have been icing on the cake.
Things got better the next day and we Facetimed and I managed to capture a screenshot of my wife wearing Harry Potter glasses. She said that if I planned on any physical contact for the next month then I probably should keep it to myself. What fun is that? (I do plan on physical contact so I will not be sharing.)
I got to see the inside of a Trader Joes so that was cool. The last evening in California we had a really great cookout. We tossed around a football and kicked a soccer ball. We ate steaks and corn on the cob while listening to 90’s era music on a blue tooth speaker. It was a good time and a good end to the weekend. I felt updated on my friend’s life and a little better about the speed of my own. I think adding a few memories here and there help to keep connected.
Flight home was uneventful. Snow on the Sierras. Turbulence near Houston. Supermom and Lady Bug met me at the airport. Everyone was happy to see me but the dog. Judy Cornbread was beyond excited, she was ecstatic. She was circling and making this strange sobbing sound. I thought she might need sedatives. Dogs are ridiculous.
So that’s my recent adventure. I’m tired from jet-lag, missing my family, and drinking a few too many beers. I know I need to post a little more frequently. I haven’t been in the writing mood. Thanks for sticking around to read this stuff. You’re welcome.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.