Sunday, August 15, 2010

Keeping in Practice

Nothing new medically to report, other than I did get a leg cramp in my sleep the other day--first one of those in a long time--and I'm still digging around for the gumption to keep exercising.

Robbie story:  Friday night we all were at the home of our friends Bill and Ellen, celebrating the impending departure for college of their amazing daughter (and Robbie's favorite babysitter) Elizabeth.  Wonderful get together with a lot of neat people.  We were in Liz's rental car, due back to Avis the next morning.  As the evening grew late, Robbie came to me and asked for the keys to the car.  My assumption:  he was on a mission from Mommy.  I gave him the keys and thought nothing.  Ten minutes later, Robbie came up to me frantic and in tears.  I finally got him calmed down enough to get a story out and found that somehow, against all odds, he had gotten into the rental car, started the engine, then gotten out of the rental car, and locked the door.  The locked car was now idling in Bill and Ellen's driveway.  Robbie was disconsolate.  Liz and several other engineers commandeered a coat hanger to attempt the rescue, while (at our friend Robin's suggestion) I called Avis.  Apparently we were not the first folks ever to lock keys in a car; Avis launched the duty locksmith, who arrived thirty minutes later with all the right tools for the job.  The whole time we were waiting, Robbie kept running from me to Liz to the house, crying to break your heart, all the while telling anyone who would listen that it was his fault.  It was so precious.  Anyway, locksmith arrived, Robbie shook his hand, and the car was open in about two  minutes.

My thanks to Bill and Ellen, who were phenomenally gracious, even offering us the use of a car until the situation was resolved.  Elizabeth is now firmly ensconced in her new home for the next four years and her younger sister Katie has volunteered to take over babysitting duties.  It was a win all the way around.

That's all for now.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Still Here

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted, but not much has been going on.  Medical update--the thingee in my left ear was in fact a basal carcinoma (lowest rung of the skin cancer ladder) and I am scheduled in September to go to get it re-looked at (read: cut on and burned some more), but it could be a lot worse.  It doesn't appear to have spread and once they do the procedure, it's gone.  Would that CLL was so easy.   I'll continue my yearly pilgrimage to the dermatologist and recommend you do the same.

One of the reasons I haven't posted is that I've been kicking around a topic that, quite frankly, I don't like.  For a couple of reasons.  I don't like it, but I have to write it before I can move on to anything else. Now that I've started this post, I'll finish, but let me say up front this is not a cry in the darkness or an attempt to change any behavior on anyone's part.  It's just a slightly melancholy recognition of a situation in which I find myself.

Way back when I was a teenager--just after the moon was invented--we used to float the Tangipahoa River on inner tubes, well before anyone made it a commercial activity.  It wasn't known as 'tubing'.  It was known as 'floating the river'.  You'd always start with a core of people, but on nice days you'd often meet up with other groups.  Many times they were great people and you would float for an hour or so in their company.  Floating with a group is easy--it takes only minimal effort to stay close.  You just have to reach out, grab an inner tube, and you're back in contact with their beer cooler.  But say you get distracted and you float a little ways from the group.  It can take some real effort to catch back up.  Lots of flailing and splashing.  Every now and then you'd find yourself so far from a group that you knew no amount of effort was going to bring you back to them.  You didn't like those people any less--you just knew the river had taken you different ways and the distance between had grown too great to bridge.

So it is with social groups.  It's dawned on me lately that while I still have wonderful friends, I no longer belong to any particular social group.  The phone just doesn't ring anymore.  No one appears to be saying, "Well, it ain't a party if Tim isn't here!"  As an admittedly social creature, this is extremely disconcerting to me.  The group with whom I used to hang has gone in a different direction.  They zigged while I was zagging.   We weren't wrenched apart; we lost contact in the fog of everyday life.   Until recently I've allowed complacency, inattention, and (finally) trepidation to mask this disconnection.  I've been in Southern Maryland for almost 14 years now and there are people here about whom I care very deeply.  We just don't move in the same circles any more.   The hardest part is knowing that I am to a large degree responsible.  I am lousy at keeping up friendships (just ask my friends in Louisiana, or the Navy, or New Jersey).  It's actually a pattern with me, though I usually wait until I move away from people before I lose touch.  It's weird losing touch with people to whom I'm still geographically close.

I was hoping that through writing this I'd reach some epiphany, find some final satori to wrap this all neatly, but I got nothin'.  When it comes to friends, I have been and am one of the luckiest guys on earth.  I look through my ledger and read the names of some incredible people.   To my comrades in good times and bad reading this, to those with whom I've sweated and bled and laughed and danced, to those on whose shoulders I've cried and whose tears have dampened my shoulder, I hope you know how special you are and how very much you mean to me.   My hope is that some confluence of currents, eddies, and tides will bring us back together again (mainly because you ended up with the cooler).

OK, that's out of my system.  On to better things.