I have to make this post brief, as I’m supposed to be heading to the airport in 15 minutes and I still haven’t showered and I’m not sure I’ve packed everything in my brand new bag as featured in “Up In The Air”. Like the underwear that I buy– the boxer briefs with the picture of the guy with the 12 pack abs on the front– I have a feeling that this bag is not going to look and pack as pretty as it did in the George Clooney movie. By the way, if I haven’t mentioned this before, they should put a picture of a chubby guy in underwear so you know what you’re getting. I’m just saying.
I’m trying to think of the glory of fatherhood right now as experienced today but I can’t because my son is in the other room SCREAMING and reenacting in slow motion the fight he just had with his sister that somehow looks like a battle scene from “Gallipoli”. My glory, if I can recall it, came from having my first full on “catch” with my son where I didn’t have to throw the ball underhanded or place it in his mitt or, quite frankly yell in my head (and out my mouth) “why can’t you catch the damn ball!” It was a real catch with a real little boy (who just had a slow-motion fight with his sister over a game called Mancala). While I was having my catch– and more importantly, while my son was actually catching(!) my daughter was in the background doing ballet and singing. I experienced true paternal glory– matched only by the instantaneous sadness knowing that my son quit baseball and doesn’t want to go back even for the trophy, and the thought of having to see my daughter standing on stage during a ballet recital shrinks my soul into a dark gray ball.
Anyway, but the good stuff– in my home my kids were my fantasy kids today: happy, outgoing, full of life and catching the damned ball! They are truly like the frog from the Bugs Bunny commercial that only sings when he’s in private, but today was one of those days where I got to hear the full recital, and it was wonderful. I’m going to try to check in from the airport for more thoughts. If not, I will hopefully catch you tomorrow in Washington, DC– even after my haircutter yesterday told me exactly why she was afraid of flying and all the horror stories she heard from her friend and airplane mechanic and as my daughter is reading a book about Amelia Earhart. But what’s the worst that can happen?
More later. (I hope)
UPDATE: It’s always a little sad saying goodbye to my wife and kids and getting on a plane. I only do it once, maybe twice a year, but still it’s a scene that’s been played out in so many movies in a sad way that it’s automatically melancholy to me. My son gave me a note to read on the plane, which he finally insisted I open in front of him (like me, once he has a gift, he absolutely has to give it). The note said simply, “We will miss you” which of course made me feel all soft inside, and it was signed, “The Astrofs”, which hardened my heart right back up.
As for my actual trip, I realized there are two scenes that were apparently cut from “Up In The Air”. The first scene is where George Clooney drags his carry-on bag, which when fully packed weighs 70 pounds– down the aisle to the rear of the plane hitting every seat or foot on the way because the most expensive per-inch bag in the world is EXACTLY– and not a millimeter bigger than– the width of the aisle. Then when George finally finds his seat, he heaves his tremendously heavy bag up, caroming it off the lip of the overhead compartment, then jumps out of the way as it falls to the floor so he doesn’t get crushed. The slapstick scene continues as George picks the bag up over his head with two hands, in much the same way Captain Kirk picked up a boulder to crush a Gorn, and with a grunt manages to jam the bag which is exactly one inch too large for an overhead compartment on United, halfway in and halfway out of its intended storage bay. Then George is forced to stand on the armrest of the seat underneath the creaking overhead bin, shoving his groin in the face of the unsuspecting person who was unfortunate enough to win the lottery that gave her the seat next to him, and with three visceral grunts is able to force the bag into its equally unfortunate compartment, and with a final grunt is able to slam the door shut, praying that there is no turbulence, lest George dies on the flight. I know this is a scene, because the people on the plane applauded.
The call-back scene occurs at the end of the flight where George Clooney opens the overhead bin to find that objects do indeed shift during a flight and the bag has now moved into a position that has locked it into place for a grueling, sweat-inducing 15 minutes, while the few people sitting behind George wind up having to crawl around him to get off the plane.
Needless to say, George is not looking forward to the flight home where he will inevitably have bought souvenirs for his kids that will expand the bag the one millimeter it will take to do significant damage not only to George’s back, but to the plane.
And thus, as is the case with all good days, Day 98 ends with our hero sweaty, achy and smelling like a bus seat. Day 99 can only be better, right? Right?