Pictures and comments show up on screen and I silently ask the face looking at mine “when is the last time you were properly” but before I can finish my thought I am interrupted by a series of beeps and whistles from my phone.
“Hold on, I am coming and if you are lucky I’ll pepper your pike.”
Six hours later the guys in the gym ask me I am trying to throw the weights through the ceiling.
“Kind of a neat trick to throw 150 pounds through the ceiling, isn’t it.”
“How high do you think you can throw it?”
“Not really sure, I am afraid to find out.”
“You don’t look scared.”
“I am not and that is what scares me.”
He shakes his head and says he doesn’t understand me. I tell him to check back in with me in 30 years when his body has some more miles on it.
“I am not old, but I feel the years more than I want to admit, so I get excited when I see this kind of progress.”
The kid at the gym goes back and forth with me about a million different things and eventually talks to me about a girl.
I listen, nod my head and when he asks my opinion I answer.
“Do I know what it is like to chase a girl? Yeah, I know a little bit about that. If you want an honest answer you don’t know passion like I do. Haven’t got the life experience yet to really get it.”
He shakes his head and tells me I don’t get it, that I don’t understand so I throw out the quote above and a couple from Brother Pablo.
He says he doesn’t know any of those songs and I nod my head.
“That is why I said to go listen to them. File them away for a bit and when the time is right share them with the girl.
If she is worth anything it will mean something to her and you guys can consider whether you are right for each other and maybe things will lead somewhere or maybe not.
It is a big world and there are at least a 1000 girls that are right for you. Don’t rush to find her and don’t stress out if you have or haven’t.
Live a bit.”
He tells me I sound like his father and I ask how old his dad is.
“He is 53 and I am 28. It is not like I am a kid.”
I don’t tell him I remember trying to convince people that 28 was old and thinking that 53 was ancient.
He doesn’t want to hear that and I don’t feel like sounding the old guy, but I don’t know how not to sound like him.
If I give him honest answers and responses it is impossible not to because I have so much more life experience than he does.
It is a funny realization because conversations with my peers don’t feel like this because we share so much more in common.
Got an email out of the blue today asking if I am a descendant of Minette Wilner and a few other questions.
Wrote back and said I am not just a descendant, I am her only grandson.
The author of the email asks a few more questions and we spend a chunk of time writing each other on and off throughout the day.
We confirm we’re cousins and that we are connected through my great-grandfather and his brother who is hers.
It feels surreal to make the connection and not have dad around to bounce questions and comments off of.
Grandma was the youngest of about 11 and her family was quite large.
The age difference between her and her oldest siblings was/is pretty significant too so I grew up hearing stories about how sometimes her nieces/nephews baby sat her.
I am in touch with a number of our relatives from that branch but know there are undoubtedly many I don’t know and who probably don’t know me.
Sometimes it seems strange to me to think about how many connections are left undone because we are unaware and sometimes I just shrug my shoulders because it is life.
Slowly I am turning into one of the primary family historians and I wonder how much work I ought to put in or not put in.
At the moment my kids have limited interest not that I expect different from teenagers, especially because I know I was no different than them.
I wrestle with it because time is limited and while I have gained a significant interest in it, there is another part of me that says I ought to focus my energy elsewhere cuz there is so much to do.
In between sets at the gym I read a few notes about upcoming reunions and see more people I know have died.
Not all of them at ages we consider to represent long life, some are absolutely the definition of died too young.
It reminds me of a conversation with a friend who says we have reached an age where it is going to start to be less uncommon to hear about friends and colleagues dying.
I hear the clock ticking.
Been through Nashville, Atlanta and Jacksonville during the very recent past and am getting ready to hit two or three more cities around Texas with a good chance of hitting California, Ohio and Florida within the next month.
Pushing hard to get myself positioned for some big changes and opportunities. Pushing hard to knock down some walls and cut open some windows cuz that tick-tocking of the clock drives me to make things happen sooner than later.
Stumbled across a Sam Wilner online and followed the trail wondering what sort of man shared my grandfather’s name and discovered he is a she named Samantha.
Laughed, clicked around for a moment and wondered if it was coincidence that Streets of Philadelphia came on iTunes.
The two generations of Wilner men that preceded me are gone and now I am the oldest.
Feels damn strange cuz I am not quite middle aged, but shit happens and you roll with it because there is no option that includes lying down.
My mind is moving a million miles an hour cuz I know things, I see things and I have ideas. Got to keep pushing ahead from the present into the echoes of the future to find out if I am only dreaming.
Ain’t life one hell of a rush.