Some of the guys and I are spending a lazy Saturday afternoon talking about places we have lived and places we might consider when one of them tosses out would you live in Cleveland.
You can’t mention any place in this crowd without the usual cracks being made about it. Mention Texas, Arizona or any place you can throw out Steers and Queers and you’ll get it.
Toss out Cleveland and you’ll get comments about burning rivers and teams that can’t win but this time the cracks are almost nonexistent because they’re focused on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and how much fun they had there.
Truth is most of these conversations are very different than they once were because the men having them aren’t who we used to be.
All of us have been around the block a time or two and live enough life to think about some of these things in far more serious terms than we once did.
The question about living in a place like Cleveland has changed to a discussion about how the housing is probably cheaper but do you want to deal with the winters because none of us really want to shovel driveways or deal with snow.
Funny thing is not a single one of us would say we are too old to deal with it physically because we aren’t that old, now it is because we have worked hard and long enough to want to live in a certain fashion
Now we are old enough to drive that luxury car and to want it not because of status but because comfort helps with some of the mystery aches and pains.
The kids and I are sitting at the table talking about the future and they want to know what I see.
I tell them my dad moved about 13 times growing up and that when I was little I moved twice before we settled into the house were I grew up.
“And now that house is gone, they sold it” says my daughter. It comes with a twinkle in her eye and I smile because the girl thinks she knows how to tease me.
I’m tempted to take out my phone and play In My Life but I don’t want to disrupt the conversation.
“I have become a collector of experiences. That is what I want. It would be nice to say we are going to be settled in one place for another ten years but I don’t know if that makes sense or realistic. Ten years from now you both could be living on your own.”
They nod, smile and make comments about whether they’ll actually be done with college or if they will be some sort of graduate program.
“Dad, you’ll be really old then. I hope you aren’t dead.”
“Yeah, me too.”
What’s Dead Can Never Die
Before we head off I remind them the rules say that you’re not middle aged until you are half as old as your oldest grandparent was when they died.
Mine was 96, closer to 96.5 which when we round up is really 97 so there is no way I am middle aged yet, still got some time.
Funny thing is that in ten years I won’t be able to say that anymore and I’ll have to be in the kind of shape where it is not even a question.
Won’t matter though, there will still be plenty of examples of people who died young from accident or illness and someone will remind me and us of that.
Not trying to be morbid, just realistic but realistic also means my chances at being around for decades is pretty good.
This time I’ll say What’s Dead Cannot Die but quote my paternal grandfather too. “When the Grim Reaper comes I’ll kick his ass.”
I can do that too. Hell, I once mentioned it to my daughter and she of course rolled her eyes and asked me what my plan was.
“I’ll tell him to pull my finger.”
She started to go off on a tear about my bodily functions but I stopped her.
“It is not supposed to be literal. It is a distraction. When he looks down I’ll jump his bones and take him apart.”
Did I mention that middle school aged girls sometimes know far too much and are good at rolling their eyes?
Well she didn’t recognize the jump his bones comment which was good and intentionally placed but she did roll her eyes again.
“Dad, sometimes you are ridiculous.”
“Be careful kid or this next time you really will find yourself living in Fargo, North Dakota.”
Actually unless someone offers a significant amount of money that is unlikely. I can live anywhere and adapt to whatever I have to, but it doesn’t mean I want to.
However you could pay me enough to consider Fargo as a stop on journey, at least for a while.
Hot Air Balloons and Skydiving
That photo above of the hot air balloons got me thinking about one way age has affected me.
I am not sure if I would be willing to ride in one of those anymore. Part of me is very interested because it looks like it could be very cool and part of me wonders if that would be a good idea because it could be a bit dangerous.
The funny thing is I still plan on going skydiving one day, not entirely sure when but I expect to do it.
And you would think that a guy who is willing to jump out of a plane would be cool riding in a basket lifted by a balloon thousands of feet into the sky.
The answer is maybe I…might or might not do it.
It is funny to me to think about life in ten year chunks. Go backwards and my kids are still pretty young and there is what looks to be this very long stretch of road ahead where the focus is solely upon making sure things are good for them.
But go forwards ten years and suddenly they aren’t the primary focus anymore, still there, still important but not primary.
That road wasn’t as long as I had thought or imagined it be, guess it never really was.