I was on the front porch when you drove by and I waved, having just read North Carolina lawmakers desire to make daylight savings time permanent.
I’m an old man and the light of every day is a gift. My past is done, my future is shrinking, and when I open my eyes each morning and no angels or EMS people are bending over me, I’m grateful. Then I think “coffee”. There will be no coffee in Heaven, I will miss that and the chance to complain about it, but meanwhile each morning I arise and put on my pants, one leg at a time, and try to avoid leaning against the wall for support. Some mornings it looks like a sack race across the bedroom.
From there I go to the kitchen for coffee and then my office to write.
I’m more driven to write since I watched a group of millennials spend a recent afternoon in a park texting on their cell phones, oblivious to birds flying about and trees swaying in the breeze. It dawned on me I have a cultural obligation to write stories because as a boy I rode a mule, fished in a creek, and once killed a copperhead snake with my pocketknife. I saw rotary phones hanging on walls and remember when kids worked hard on their penmanship. I remember we were forbidden to go into certain bookstores that sold magazines of scantily clad girls. Nowadays, partially nude women are on your smartphone selling Botox injections and the only way to stop people from looking is to glue their eyes shut.
My wife and I have just finished downsizing from one house to another and spent the last eight weeks disposing of stuff. It’s astonishing what two people can accumulate over the years. I have unread books by the dozens, strange shirts, an assortment of odd tools, and therefore I do not comment on my wife’s dozens of skin and beauty products. I walk by them and say nothing because 29 years of marriage has taught me that impulsive speech is for a fool.
During this massive disposal project, we suddenly decided to take a week-long beach vacation. We no longer have moody teenagers with wires in their ears, so we are free to visit New York or follow migrating elk. Our options are limitless.
My wife pointed out that our best trips and vacations have been spontaneous. Our worse trips were planned.
She mentioned a past, well-planned mountain vacation, of which we spent the entire trip enduring cold pouring rain. All week we read paperbacks, sucked it up, and tried to be cheerful.
We talked about that vacation and other trips that went bad and the common thread in them all was Planning. Planning was our downfall.
We Americans are nomadic people, we come from across the ocean and the Bering Strait. We’re meant to wander, live in tents, and keep possessions minimal - some gunpowder, salted meat and dry kindling. Instead we buy a house because you’re told good responsible people do that, and then you fill it up with stuff you don’t need or want, and none of it makes you happy - only experiences can do that.
So, no more planning. Time for a change.
Visa has our email address, the kids have our cellphone numbers, and our marriage will thrive anywhere. We’ll rent an RV. It’s a big country. Make sure the oven is off, sweetheart. One suitcase for two, plus beauty products. By law we’ll have plenty of daylight and we can reach the Grand Canyon on Thursday by way of Myrtle Beach. Onward.
Readers can write to Joe at Joehudsn@gmail.com and Facebook (View from the Hudson). He is author of “Big Decisions are Best Made with Hot Dogs”.