It is a Wednesday evening in Dallas and I am sitting with some fraternity brothers in a steakhouse trying to ignore the men at the table to my right.
They are really loud and seated close enough to our table that even if they spoke in normal tones I would be able hear their debate about UCLA and Ohio State.
It has been a long while since I was in Columbus, at least 30 years but I was there and I recognize bits and pieces of what they mention.
The comments about UCLA and Westwood are more striking because it is home and UCLA is where I finished my college experience and a place I worked at post college.
Were they not so damn annoying I might interject but the jackass to my right has already said he was there once and he four days has made him an expert.
I ask my dinner companions if I am the only one who is annoyed by the volume of the others and they nod their heads.
None of us say anything to the other table and I realize we are older because even now we’re not people who are afraid to speak up, but there is no upside to telling the drunkards to tone it down…so we don’t.
You Wouldn’t Hit A Man With Glasses
Eventually the loudmouths leave and the noise decreases and it becomes possible to have a normal conversation.
I mention to the guys I must be getting older cuz I just got progressive lenses and I have a love/hate relationship with them.
Don’t need them all the time and do just fine in daylight without them, but they have been kind of nice at night.
Not to mention I wear them while on the elliptical if I am watching videos on my phone.
The guys tell me I am lucky because they have been wearing them for a while and say if you wear them more frequently you adjust faster to them.
Later on I offer some advice on where to live if they choose to move out here and we talk briefly about whether we’ll connect when I go back to LA or choose another steakhouse here in Texas.
As I roll out of the parking lot at around 10 PM I laugh to myself about being out late on a school night and then utter a curse at the guy in the pick up who cuts me off and responds to my horn with a one finger salute,
He shakes his fist at me and I remember Curly from the Three Stooges saying “you wouldn’t hit a man with glasses.”
The guy in the pickup isn’t unusual, the drivers here are awful and too many think turn signals are optional and that F-150s handle like Ferraris.
I ignore the salute and fist shaking and only honk to make sure these fools have some inkling others are upon the road.
Got places to be, things to do and presumably a few people would be disappointed if a truck prevented from being around for a few more years.
Don’t get me wrong, if you kill me in a traffic accident I will figure out how to stick around to haunt you but my poltergeist days aren’t scheduled until somewhere around 2100 or so.
Anyhoo, the good news is nothing happened and he didn’t prevent me from Rocketman today as I had planned.
Too Late, Too Soon
As the class of ’69 continues to mark our 50th birthdays and talks about the past, present and future continue I hear people talk about what they should have done and what they should do.
The conversations are peppered with remarks about what is too late and what is too soon and leave me shaking my head.
Maybe it is because after all I have been through it is hard for me to look at life in such black and white terms. Hard for me to say some things cannot change because I fear the outcome or don’t want to deal with it because of inertia.
I know better.
I know how one day you can be a high flyer and king of the world and the next find yourself looking at the homeless guy as being slightly less lucky than you, but only slightly.
Because life can work that way, it can be hard, cruel and unfair.
I have seen people with countless resources have to say goodbye to people they love because money can’t beat terminal illness.
And I have seen people who might not be considered evil but certainly aren’t considered good get far more than they deserve.
The net effect is I am willing to reach for the brass ring and do things that one day I would haven’t ever considered.