Monday, November 15, 2010

Leaving Home


Several days ago I left my wife. Joanne was not only unperturbed, she actuallly sent me away with a kiss, a smile and a wholehearted request that I enjoy myself.

This story began when I received a call from my friend, Fred. He asked if I would go away with him. I am married almost 34 years and this was a decision that for many men would come with untold consequences. For some there would be screaming. For many there might be tears. Some would not even mention it though their heart and soul might want it. But not me.

So last Friday morning, very early, with bags packed, I headed out the door to the waiting taxi. Over the days after Fred had reached out for me, the number who would embark on this adventure had grown to 4.

It is now not quite 6 AM on this our third day together. I can hear Steve's quiet snore several feet away. Fred and Marv still sleep soundly in their bedrooms.

Soon, all those in this house will awaken, and we will shortly begin the activity for which we are here. I think our tee off time is 9:30.


I have to start drinking, heavily. I figure I have spent thousands of dollars over the years on alcohol I didn't even sip and never even ordered.

Being on vacation with the guys, part of the ritual is to dine in the evening. Due to a bad stomach, not some religious fervor or recovery program, liquor and I do not see eye to eye. Actually, from my vague recollections of my youth, the only consistent thing that alcohol brought me closer to was the toilet bowl. So, while others order wines, vodkas, scotches or whatever it is that grownups actually imbibe, my options are water or diet soda.

I have a reputation for being "cautious" with my money. Some would call me cheap. Let me just say that I am aware that it cost me $45 for a $9 salad and a glass of water last night.

This is not to place any blame at the feet of my fellow travelers. I choose my path through this world. It is just that I am a counter. I can tell you how many strokes each person in my group takes on every hole. I can tell you distances from this point to that, and how long it takes to go from here to there. Numbers circle around my brain, and monetary figures seem to get stuck there.

Joanne often tells me what bad company I make for adults as I not only don't drink alcohol, but I also can't stomach coffee or tea.

While others sit and enjoy their drinks during dinner and after, I don't. I like to eat on the run. My son often complains that he is forced to eat faster as I draw him into my patterns. Dining and relaxing are foreign concepts to me.

So given the confluence of my eating and drinking habits, my keen awareness of the costs that are being incurred and my natural affinity for keeping my money in my pocket, I sit and suffer. Being me is not as easy as you think.


After the psychological beating I endured today, I needed a respite. One bad swing followed in swift succession by many others can test the mettle of even the most patient. And I am not a person of outer, or inner, calm on the course. My shortness off the tee is mirrored by my shortness with my self and others within striking distance. It was time to think happy thoughts.

Escaping from the jaws of the 18 holed monster, the four of us returned to the rest of the world and of our day. There was still light left, and this interesting peak lay within shouting distance of where we were staying. Fred suggested we check it out and I definitely needed to burn off some frustration. And so we found ourselves hiking.

As we began our slow trek, people passed us by. Some carried walking sticks, some ran. Everyone was in better shape, and better able to climb. But it mattered not. I just felt released from the shackles of my disappointment and enjoyed the moment. Humor became my companion again. Fred and I bantered with one another and with those unfortunate enough not to ignore us. I stopped one young woman carrying an infant in a pouch, and asked "how old". When she replied "2 months", I responded, "No, not the baby, how old are you". Some of Fred's comments were even stupider. For all those who we encountered on our journey, it was definitely buyer beware.

We fumbled with the phones on our cameras, one more inept than the other. The mysteries of how to take a picture, much less how to store or send, were way beyond our grasp. But we persevered and managed to at least shoot some images that I am sure are unimagninably bad.

As daylight faded, we made our retreat back to our starting place. At our journey's end I realized that I had climbed much higher than the distance I had traveled.


Alexandra said...

Dad, it's not all bad. You are of few remaining humans that can calculate in his head, and also that memorizes telephone numbers. And as for your sense of humor, well I find you quite funny. And what's more important than a daughter's approval? Anyway, glad that you had a nice trip, can't wait to hear more about it.

Robert said...

What a wonderful way to start a day by reading such sweet words from my daughter.

Thank you for searching so hard for the good in your old man.