Somewhere between the end of ’94 and the very beginning of ’95 I wandered the streets of Jerusalem and met all sorts of interesting people.
A couple of them were girls from Scotland, one of whom kept telling me how very American I looked because I wore my baseball cap turned around.
I told her I couldn’t understand her because of her funny accent and she told me I was the one with the accent and that I ought to recognize that.
I asked her if she said that to me in Hebrew and then followed up with “it must have been because you are surely not speaking English.”
We bantered back and forth and I said one day I would go to Scotland to buy my own castle.
Don’t remember if I told her that I had always intended to go get my own castle but then again it is so damn long ago who can remember anyway.
Given that I have at least two readers in Scotland I figure I ought to mention it so they can go looking for a good place and maybe place a few swords and shields around because I doubt I’ll have enough cash so I’ll have to capture it.
So the next time someone suggests I am not much fun someone else can say “he’s more fun than you realize.”
The conversations go round and round and in circles while they ask the same questions in three different ways.
I lean forward and make the kind of eye contact that is intentionally uncomfortable.
“I wish you wouldn’t do that.”
“I wish for a lot of things, like to be Johnny Cash so that I could look June in the eye and tell her a few things.”
This throws the other person and they change directions.
“Why do you want to be Johnny and what would you say to June?”
“I’d tell June to put on that red dress or maybe the blue dress and say I walk the line. And then I’d tell her a million other things, all of which are secrets.”
“Why would June put on the dress if you spoke to her like that? You know women like polite men.”
“Have you ever watched an interview with them? June doesn’t listen to a damn thing he says. She does her own thing and then blames him for all sorts of stuff. He just listens and laughs.”
We go back and forth and the questioner tells me she knows I have intentionally derailed the conversation.
“I am going to get the answers to the questions I asked. You’re just making this take longer.”
“Nah, I haven’t begun to try to derail the conversation. Don’t look at this moment as a good example of my ability to spin a yarn or to demonstrate my ability to engage in futile stupidity.”
“I am almost afraid to ask what futile stupidity is.”
“You wouldn’t know that my preschool teachers told my mom that I have quite the imagination. I see shreds of it in some of the stories my kids came up and come up with. It is a gift…mostly.”
“Share a story that you made up.”
“Nah, I’ll share something that I keep thinking about.”
Big Bird is supposed to be 5, almost like me except he is missing the zero I have next to the five.
Lately I keep asking why and I keep hearing because.
The funny thing is I understand and accept it. I really do, even if I don’t like it.
But I am feeling the weight of it again in a new and different way. The permanence of it is top of mind and the idea that we have had every moment/discussion we’re ever going to have together is grinding upon me.
Maybe some of is because his unveiling is coming soon and maybe because I have four or five friends whose fathers have died in the past several months.
Doesn’t really matter to me how or why. It is like when I was asked why I loved someone and I said because I do.
Could I pick apart and parse the reasons?
Yeah, I could but is it necessary.
You Need To Go
A thousand years ago when they offered the promotion and the opportunity to leave LA to take on a new challenge was provided I sat down with dad and asked him what he thought.
We discussed the pros and cons and I asked him what would happen if this wasn’t what I thought it was.
“What happens if it doesn’t work? What happens if the thing blows up in my face? Doesn’t really matter if it fails because of me or for other reasons, it has blown up and I am responsible for pushing some big changes on the family.”
Dad didn’t hesitate, “you need to go. You’ll never work some of these things out without taking a risk. We’ll miss you, but you need to go. You can’t ever know for certain whether things will play out as you want without playing the hand.
Play the cards you are dealt. Play hard.
I remember nodding my head and telling him I agreed. I remember the anxiety I felt driving away knowing I was going to be away from the kids for at least a year.
We’d see each other as often as possible and speak frequently, but you can’t get that time back. Once it is gone it is gone.
But this seemed to be the best choice from every angle and the most likely to put us in the position I wanted so I did it.
There have been moments of hell where I wondered if I had been an idiot. Moments where I sat alone in my one bedroom apartment and hoped like hell that I had done the right thing.
Last week I got a big freaking sign that I had and I breathed a little more freely and figured that if nothing else happens I got one big thing right.
That alone makes it all worth it, but I would be lying if I said I don’t wish I could tell dad about it.