By lex, on May 3rd, 2004
And we’re wilting, precious.
Today was a day off!
Having just returned from a couple o’ weeks at sea, we had a comp day today. I spent mine pretty much playing golf.
Which puts me in such a nice frame of mind, that I’m not even going to mention Ted Rall, his disgusting cartoons or the Portland Indymedia .
Nope. Not even going to talk about them.
In a country of nearly 300 million people, there are always going to be that one half of one percent who are deliberately odious. That’s still 500,000 people, many of whom have access to computers. And frankly, I think that many of us are giving them more attention than they deserve. I have decided (wait for it!) that these people can’t surprise me anymore, and that they are therefore not worth talking about. I therefore hereby resolve not to blog any more (today) about twisted, ugly-minded, horrible people.
It was hot today. For Sandy Eggo, anyway. Records were broken. (There was a time when that statement was ambiguous – it could have meant athletic records, for example, or vinyl LP’s. Remember those?)
Now, if you’re peering in from you sun-drenched, dust-filled living room in Bakersfield or El Paso, you’re probably not very sympathetic to us suffering under 85 degree temperatures with low humidity.
But then again, you’re not paying our property taxes, either.
It was so hot, I only got in nine holes!
There. Thought you’d be impressed.
Since the day my son was born, a little over 18 years ago, we’ve been socking away money. Not a lot, just what we could spare. Money markets at first, then mutual funds, then stocks, and finally tech stocks. With my usual innate sense of timing, and the investment skills that only a lifetime at sea can provide, I got on board that last roller coaster almost at the very top, and rode it all the way down to the giddying valleys, screaming all the way. But most of it has recovered nicely, just in time for son number one to prepare to go off to college.
Which means we’re going to have to cash in, now. And the prospect is somewhat frightening. Having gone to a trade school on the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland, I have little understanding of what a “real” college is like. Mine was more like a federally subsidized monastery.
And do you know what I’ve discovered, walking this path with SNO? College is expensive!
But, I guess that’s why we saved the money… right?
My parents were children of the depression, and I learned a lot of things from them:
- I discovered that in spite of his advanced (to my young eyes) age, and what seemed to me to be very near decrepitude by his mid-forties, my father had never, personally, seen a dinosaur.
- I learned that in the old days, the only way to get to school was to walk uphill, both ways, often in snowstorms.
- And barefoot.
- I learned that there were starving children somewhere unpronounceable in Africa, and if I didn’t eat my vegetables, somehow their lot would be even worse than it already was. It was never explicitly stated that this situation was my fault, but that was the tacit implication.
- I learned that “because I said so,” was a wholly sufficient and complete answer to any given question a child might ask. I also learned that, for reasons not to be explained, it would not in any way suffice as an answer to a parent’s question. This was a difficult, emphatic lesson.
- I learned that if you weren’t home before they got up, you’d get to fork over the keys to your 1969 Dodge Dart Demon for a week or so.
- And I learned a nearly pathological fear of debt, and the smug satisfaction of federally insured savings.
My father hated to spend money, and he hated to be in debt. My father used to make this sound in the morning when he got out of bed, when his feet hit the deck each morning – a kind of surprised, “mphf.” My father used to say that he needed to get back in shape, and then have a slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top.
I have become my father.
It’s OK, he was a good man.
So: The Hobbit was in the desert all weekend with the junior-most Neptuni, she-who-must-be-obeyed. It was left to me to watch the teenagers. Which as far as I can tell, amounts to watching them go out of the house, and come back much later, repeat.
“You guys want to do something fun?” I’d ask.
“Maybe go to the San Diego zoo?” And then these two angels, my prides and joys, the lights of my life, the fruit of my loins (sorry), would stand there side by side, with their eyes narrowing in their identically tilted heads, and examine me as though I had just crawled out from under a rock, oozing.
A pregnant pause, and then, “No thanks, Dad – I’m hanging with (fill in the blank). What time do you want me home?”
So yeah, it was a pretty good time. I went to a movie on Friday night. All by myself. How can you beat that?
I must be getting old – there was a time when a weekend without responsibilities in San Diego would fill me with a very high degree of enthusiasm, a sense of adventures waiting in the wings, the feeling that anything might happen.
I can still remember those feelings I had. I just can’t remember why.
- I’ve left you dangle long enough, waiting for the meat – the hard hitting text, insightful closing, the real deal, the thing that’s going to change your world view. The thing that’s going to make you laugh, that’s going to make you cry, that’s going to have you sitting there at your desk amazed, slack-jawed, eyes unfocused, just thinking about all the possibilities.
Maybe tomorrow. Didn’t I say today was a day off?