Today I biked 15km to town and 15km back. It was sunny most of the way, lovely really, if we don’t discuss that bitch of a hill on the north side of town. I had a lot of time while peddling to think about life. I’m sure it’s what most people would do while cycling past farms and horses and old men with bread in their baskets.
There is a discipline to being alone. I understand now how monks taking a vow of silence have a strong will. To not communicate with people around you, to be shut off verbally, to be emotionally isolated even while surrounded by people, is difficult at best. I think this as I peddle to Der Beck near work. It is closed and I’m unable to ask when it opens again. I read the sign but I’m fairly sure it says it’s open Sunday through Saturday. Or Monday through Friday. Or maybe it’s Friday through the third week of the month on odd years. I have no idea. It is, obviously, closed now so however much I am craving a cappuccino I’m basically screwed.
I find myself on the matt, rushed from traffic, breathless from worry. The room dims, the instructor’s voice soothes the atoms in the air. We breathe.
The class begins and we stretch, bending over yesterday’s beers and middle-age. We look up, grasping at the sky energy. We stand tall, then lean low, we breathe heavily.
There’s something funny that happens when you have children. Well, there’s a lot of not funny things that happen, like gray hairs and stretched abdominal muscles, but there are non-physical benefits to keeping people with a very young sense of humor around: Lots of ordinary things are just .. not ordinary.
The other day when leaving the house the children noticed the trashcan had blown over in the wind. “WOW!” they exclaimed, “I bet he’s never been on his side before! I wonder if he loves it?”
We are watching our parents age. Haven’t they always been the same age? So why are they deteriorating before our eyes now? Why do phone calls include doctor results and stories from forever ago? Of regret? Of routine?
When did I become the mom and for the love of god please tell the children their real mother is coming home soon.
Seattle is the abusive boyfriend I just can’t quit. Most of the time he’s a complete dick. He’s moody, reclusive, a complete downer. My inner “solar powered unicorn” dies a bit every day I wake up and look outside. “Um, rain and clouds again, Dick?”
Then, just when I’m starting to get the courage to really leave him for good, he pulls out his best charm. The mountains are visible. The sun peaks in the window at 6AM gently nudging me awake. He tells me I’m lovely and he woos me again. Everything is shiny and bubbly. He brings me flowers. He kisses me on the cheek with warmth.
Kids, I’m going to tell you a story*. This is a story about how I ended up sitting in an office outside of Nuremberg in a tiny town called Erlangen, Germany, which happens to be less than an hour’s drive from where I was made. It’s a true story.
I get this question a lot lately, “What do you DO now, exactly,” and I can not answer in full. I work on demos for automotive software companies. I create websites, mostly front-end now, for larger companies that know more than I do. I help organize strategies for content management, marketing communications, branding and messaging. I travel to a lot of amazing places and I meet a lot of amazing people. My job does not suck. I can tell you that.
Life is a mindset. Life can get in the way of living if you let it. Practicality. Reality. Analysis. Risk.
I do not sit idle well. Beyond what I assume would qualify me for major intervention in a public school system possibly including tranquilizers, I pursue ideals the way children pursue sugar highs. I crave them. At times it can be annoying, I’m sure. “Oh! LOOK! I have the opportunity to [go] [see] [do] this [thing] [place] [job]!” Sometimes I annoy my self with my own enthusiasm. The bubble, it rises quickly and pops easily.
The alarm went off at 7AM for the first day of fifth grade. My dad was in his suit walking out the door as he heard me grumble and get up. “Life sucks and then you die,” he greeted me.
This is the first of a thousand similar morning greetings he would say as he suited up and walked out the door to work.