October 23, 2016

So Many Boxes

What else is there besides this? What more do you want? What fantasies do you still concoct as you lay awake in the darkness or when you let your mind drift at the traffic light? What random memory do you crawl to, to try and leverage a future you feel you are owed? Why can’t this always be enough?

The light kiss and the long hug from your wife in the living room on a Sunday afternoon. The fist pump from your daughter as she sinks a basket at basketball practice. The tangy salsa in your breakfast burrito. The casual conversation with a friend about the trials and tribulations of parenting. The work you begrudgingly had to do to get back in the swing of things. It could be worse- you could be doing a job you hate. Something that is not your calling.

What else is there besides this? Sure, the minutes can trickle by at a pace that feels frozen. A routine induced boredom that you try and remedy with…what? Why can’t you enjoy the trips and the journey? The small moments in front of the mirror, admiring how you have finally grown into yourself. The look matching the mood matching the inner voice- the one that won’t shut up. The one that is never satisfied. The one that argues with itself and demands more, while begging to be grateful.

The lives of the characters in the novel you’re reading seem so desperate, but their familiarity puts you in a panic. What are your rituals? Where is your romance and bliss? Is the literature a mirror of your routines? A cliched mid-life episode? Is this all there is? Will I cherish this at the end? Am I doing enough? Living enough? Loving enough? Am I to blame for the ho hum, hum drum of these days as they pass? Am I the only one who sees them? Feels their weight?

Why don’t we talk more about our dreams?
At this point what the hell is your dream?

So many boxes already expertly checked: job. wife. kids. expat. travel. hobbies. friends.

What else is there to want? And if you can’t even name it, why do you want it so desperately?

As a kid from an inadequate family, why can’t you just focus on the one goal? Have you forgotten the promises of selflessness you made to your infant daughter, on those quiet dark nights in the glow of her bedroom, with the tender music, and her in your arms, perfect and precious, an empty vessel for everything they didn’t do for you, an empty bag waiting to be filled with everything you salvaged from yourself worth passing on. You vowed to erase yourself piece by piece on those nights, promised to ignore your selfish needs for the sake of your daughter and your wife and this family. And now what ten years later you are wondering about your needs again?

Where did they go?
What are they?
Why do they feel so trivial and obscene?

Your priorities are in front of you. No more lethargic days passing away in a slow drip. Tell her you love her more often. Thank her. Help her. Live your politics instead of tweeting them. Go to Ikea with a smile. Care about the curtains. Get excited about the parties and the holidays and the future and the present. Be more present. Play with the kids. Talk to them. Look deeply into their eyes so they can tie themselves to your ballast.

Slow Sundays in your head can be exhausting. This election is pulling on you like dead weight, forcing you to carry around its bile with every step. The videos. The words. The Tweets. The half-baked opinions of every idiot in a comment box. Why do you let them burrow into your heart. Your space?

What else is there besides this? You are a middle aged man: a father, a husband, a friend and a son who is doing his best. Although, this seldom feels like it is enough, you have to trust that it is.

October 22, 2016

Remembering NYC

Remembering the burrito place around the block next to the sushi place and the muddy snow in the gutters and the giant rats. Remembering the puffy parkas and struts, the noise and the rising steam and manholes. Remembering the long walks to the movie theater across from Lincoln Center, the sidewalk Christmas tree lots, the stink of chestnuts, hot cider and farmer’s markets selling junk in chainlink fence lots.

Remembering the jukebox at that one bar, the black paint and the cheep beer. Remembering the mornings at Bed Bath and Beyond and trying to sneak into the Knicks game. The shows- The Beacon, The Bowery Ballroom, MSG, The Knitting Factory, Carnegie Hall.
Remembering Elliott Smith in Brooklyn and Morcheeba, Ani Difranco, Pearl Jam, The Strokes and Hayden.

Remembering Adlie Stevenson High School and The Bronx, the four-top restaurant, cherry soda, and the dinners with Richard. Remembering the park and the sun and the carefree recklessness of our unscripted futures. The random galleries and the night classes and the Socialist meetings. Remembering the long shifts, the empty subway stations.

Remembering the apartment with the windows and door desk and the big salads and giant bagels and the wine store on Lexington. Remembering that first summer and the city wide black out and the double decker bus, the new faces and terrible classes.

Remembering the first time alone in that bar in the afternoon and losing my shoes. Remembering graduating and the linguistics class and diphthongs and the satin sheets. The space heater and the homemade Gibsons. Remembering pushing the couch home on the skateboard, and the blue glasses and never being home during the day. Remembering the cold dark mornings, the golden setting sun, the snow, the rain and the heat.

Remembering New York City tonight as I often do when my mind goes blank.

October 21, 2016

Baby Tooth

Not much to share today. Still reeling a bit from my day in the sun yesterday.

Took the kids to the dentist first thing. Dropped $100 on a filling in a tiny cavity on a baby tooth that felt unnecessary.

Then it was Skye and I on our own. She biked, I skated to the playground at East Coast Park. Ice Cream. Sweat. She made a friend. We enjoyed the breezes.

Then home for a stint. Shower and off to Myria’s for dinner with Lee and Cindy and then a great Kiwi film called Hunt For The Wildepeople with Steve and Katy at Keri Lee and Mile’s place. I love having non-American friends. Always fun to get insights and give insights into other cultures.

Now home. Passed midnight and it is hitting me that we start back at work in two days. The final weekend is here. This has been a perfect and necessary break, but time to roll up the sleeves and get back into school mode. That means some marking and planning to do in the next forty eight hours.

I should probably start running again too, if I want to have any chance at even walking this half marathon I have signed up for.