The younger Mr.Wilner walks by and asks who goes to bed at 9?
I look up, a quizzical expression on my face and he says “you just said something about someone going to bed at 9. Are you talking to a friend about a kid?”
“Nah, I am just repeating something I read about a senior citizen.”
He shakes his head and tells me I ought to stop reading about them because I am not that old yet.
“I read about lots of different things and I don’t take orders from people who don’t share my bed, outrank me or pay my salary.”
“Dad, let’s be honest, you don’t take orders from anyone.”
“Authority and I don’t get along so well do we.”
We both laugh and I reiterate that I read enormous amounts of content on a wide variety of topics.
“You can never to be too well educated or too informed. Reading will take you anywhere and everywhere you can imagine and places you can’t.”
“Yeah, you have been telling me that since I was born.”
“Maybe it is time to listen.”
I am on the treadmill at the gym watching kids do Havdalah at the Jefferson Memorial when I realize I have tuned out a bit.
Not because I am bored but because it has me thinking about a million different experiences and memories from a million different cities.
Flashes of the Judean desert, Ojai, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Jerusalem and hundred other places flow throw the old river between my ears.
I hear voices and think about how my kids missed out on some of what I got to experience.
It is not the first time nor will it be the last that I think about it but I don’t focus on it because I can’t turn the clock back.
Can’t change what has been and can’t let myself get too lost or too upset over this. Some of it can be blamed or attributed to me and some can’t.
But there is no telling what the future can or will bring.
The kid at the gym asks where I have been and I tell him traveling followed by unsolicited advice.
“Buy more luggage. You can’t ever have enough adventures and no one can take experience from you.”
“Maybe you ought to take your own advice.”
“Kid, I am in the process of buying more luggage. Been to Macys, some store in Grapevine Mills and a spot in the Galleria.”
“Where are you going?”
That last line is an exaggeration but I am on planes and or traveling by car with some regularity so it is not a total exaggeration.
Part of why I am getting new luggage is I need a better carry-on that will help me be a bit more efficient in packing.
It is too bad there is no way to roll, fold or shrink size 12 shoes because they take up a bigger space than I would like, but I’ll make it work.
I always do.
The younger Mr. Wilner accused me of intentionally trying to irritate him earlier today leading to about a two hour debate about my use of words and how sometimes I make references that can be taken in a variety of ways.
I tell him this particular moment isn’t one in which he can prove his allegation to be accurate and he says that means I am in agreement.
“You don’t want to admit that I am right and you are fighting to keep from acknowledging it.”
I laugh and shake my head.
“Admit it dad, I got you.”
“You didn’t get me. I can tell you about the many definitions of submit and leave you shaking your head in agreement with me that submit means whatever I want you to think it does.”
“No, you’ll try to force me to agree with you because you are dad and I am not.”
“No sir, that won’t be how it goes.”
We go back and forth and then I throw a monkey wrench into the discussion.
“You know I can tell you a story about a girl who desperately wanted to kiss me but intentionally refused to because she so desperately wanted to.”
He scrunches up his face and says he doesn’t have any interest in any of those details so I smile and shrug my shoulders at him.
“Dammit dad, I can’t figure out if this is supposed to be some pop culture reference to some old movie or song you think I should know or if it is something else.
For all I know you are making up a story.”
Before I can comment he tells me not to say a word, “you know you can make up a story on the spot so don’t deny it.”
I laugh and tell him I appreciate his understanding me.
Let me share something else with you. He turns and waits for me to speak.
“Don’t tell girls to relax or say you know they really want to kiss you because even if they do they’ll try to refuse to do so just to prove you wrong. Notice I didn’t say more about the relaxing bit.
If you want to be bold and play with fire you can tell them you know they want to kiss you but you’d probably say no because you don’t kiss anyone who hasn’t shared real life experience with you.”
He cuts me off midway to tell me he doesn’t want that sort of advice from me and says/asks “I don’t really want to know who you tried that line on.”
I laugh and tell him I didn’t use lines. “I could spin a few tales, but I didn’t like it. It was easier to be very direct.”
I smile at him and tell him I am going to throw on my headphones and do some work to prepare for the week.
Three hours later I look up and promise myself that the time I just put in will yield big rewards and then I wrap it up because the work week will resume soon enough and I need to decompress some more.