Tell me all the places we could go, and count the headlights passing on the road
Shannon called me around 5:00 PM last night, wanting to know if I were still going to take her and her friend Haley to their summer job at the Bothin Youth Center, west of Fairfax, in Marin County. She and Haley and a couple more of their friends all managed to get summer jobs at the same location. Shannon had previously asked if I could get she and Haley to the place and I had volunteered, thinking that it would be on a weekend. Later she had told me that she needed to be there earlier for a training program before the season started there. Well, that would work as well, but I needed to know if she needed to be there in the morning, which would mean that I would have to take time off from work to get her there, or if she could get there perhaps, the night before, in which case I would not have to take time from work. She told me that she would find out more information and get back to me. That was Saturday or Sunday. Yesterday evening was when she finally got back to me, and told me that she and Haley needed to be there that night. Alas, that is typical of Ms. Shannon.
So anyway, I hauled up to Sacramento after finishing up some things at work, leaving around 6:30, and taking about two hours to get there, and found that she and Haley were still finishing up packing. They were also goofing around, watching the cartoon, "My Little Pony," with their friend Hannah, on Hannah's computer. Shannon and Hannah are both animation geeks. Finally, after everyone had said goodbye to Emily, and comforted her, because she was tired, up past her bedtime, and not taking the separation concept well, Hannah helped Shannon and Haley pack my trunk and half of the backseat with everything in the house, except perhaps the kitchen sink, or at least it seemed, and we were ready to go. I had previously asked Shannon if she had already eaten or if she wanted dinner with me, and she said she preferred the latter, so Shannon took shotgun seat and we stuffed Haley and Hannah in half of the back seat and I took them to Burger King and got them dinner. After that, we took Hannah back to her house, and set our sights on San Rafael.
After that Shannon called the lady at the camp to be sure that she would still be awake and available to let them in when they showed up. Shannon has a tendency to underestimate the times that things take, especially travel, having just gotten around to getting her drivers license this past month. Fortunately, the lady running the camp or managing it said that we could still get them there tonight, so we did. That took another couple of hours. We pulled into the parking lot and unloaded the car into a room for the two of them and I was ready to go by the stroke of midnight. Then, it was finding my way back through the twisting byways of San-Rafael, to the 101, across the Richmond San Rafael Bridge and back to Livermore. That's about a 90 minute drive, so I got back home around 1:30 AM. The round trip was probably around 350 miles.
During the trip, we had to pull over to the side of the road once, because Haley got a little car sick. Fortunately, she kept her dinner after all, and took a short nap after that brief interruption. She had asked for a plastic bag before telling us that she wasn't feeling well, and when she told us the purpose for which she wanted it, Shannon, alarmed, said, "...and then what? Huck it out the window?! I'm a serial barfer! The smell sets me off." These two are such a trip. Great Hod, I was in dread of a late-night car cleanup. I'm glad Haley was able to keep it all together. Prior to that, the evening had been a constant stream of discussions and inside jokes among the girls.
So, at one point something in the conversation and joking became so off the wall and rowdy I jokingly threatened them: "Don't make me use the shock button..." and Haley muttered something under her breath, to which Shannon said something like, "Dude, don't go there." Always a victim of my curiosity, I asked what gives, like a fool and she said something like, "Well, I was going to comment on the shock button but given that you're Shannon's dad... I was going to add 'unless you're into that.'" What? So anyway, I said something like, "Ah, my fault, after all the topic did come out of my imagination." Urk. At that point, she said something like, "...so, if you got one, go ahead, that's not much of a threat because I might like it." Eek. OK, she's my daughter's age, early twenties, but my brain was thinking: "Oh no, kinky children. To what is this world coming?" The Ward Cleaver portion of my psyche chimed in, in my head: "When I was a boy, a young lady would make her boyfriend wheedle and coax her into letting him tie her wrists together with a necktie or something, before looking up at him through her eyelashes and coyly admitting that the situation left her feeling somewhat excited as well. Many people of my parents generation would probably have been married a couple of years before such a topic ever came up between them, if it ever did." Naturally, being the soul of discretion that he is, good old Ward did not let that observation out of my lips and the topic of conversation shifted onto less "TMI" ground. Of course, he might have been jealous of the fact that Mr. Curiosity got the drop on him. There may indeed be nothing new under the sun, but obviously, the age for certain experiences, and willingness to discuss them, can change radically, from generation to generation.
Here we are, foreign to their world, straight and composed
The Internal DJ has been obsessed with the Better Than Ezra song "At the Stars" for the past two days now. I'm not sure why. I do like the song. I woke up this morning with that song in my brain, again. After I'd done the meditation thing (I've been back into that regularly since April) I got to thinking about various things. Slowly, it dawned on me that I was feeling kind of sad about something. I started wondering about what that was, but the feeling was evanescent and faded away and I started shutting down the computer to go to work. I got out my new, and still uncalibrated, mental tool and turned it on the problem. I wanted to know who shooed away the sad before it could be examined. My first guess was Mr. Machismo, whom I imagined rushing into the scene gruffly exclaiming, "Wot?! There will be no singing, dancing, or crying in any story in which I am appearing! Go on, back to the nursery room, Sonny, there's lots o' soft fuzzy toys in there..." but he was sitting in his usual spot, not bothering anyone. Looking closer, I discovered Ms. Reason looking sheepish, having just gone round the room, metaphorically, reminding everyone that it was time to start getting ready for work. What? Et tú, Bruté? Wow, if I had an unwillingness to confront some things in my psyche, I would not have suspected that my reasoning would be the thing that would be misdirecting me. What's up with that? Amazing. How can this stuff be so damned intuitive and easy? Sheesh, it's like I've been looking the wrong damned way, obliviously, for such a long time. I just haven't thought of things deeply enough from this perspective before. Why? Why should it not have been obvious to me? Now what? I know something more than I did before this morning, but what can I do with it?