Dad Visit— Run Everybody Run

Masking up and flying to Seattle to see the kid this weekend. Friday night is slated for small plates, natural wine and swift flowing conversation. The usual suspects in my daughter’s circle will drop by to offer their condolences as her odometer trips over to the 31 mark.

January 27, 1992 San Francisco

My odometer, that would be the father of the daughter’s odometer is in the nosebleed section of the center for the tragically hip and terminally cool. Aside from having pulled a muscle in my lower leg and having to hobble around like some errant penguin looking for a good piece of ice I’m reasonably useful. Capitol Hill in Seattle is peopled by our society’s up and comer’s, don’t ask if I suffer envy with any sort of grace. 

What is most important is that you can get good produce at the local Co-op, if you need the odd cheaper specialty item there is a Trader Joe’s, and to purchase adult beverages you’ve got options, lots and lots of alternative outlets. There is a butcher shop where you can purchase grass fed organic meat. There is a nearby dispensary where every kind of smokable, edible and drinkable is on offer.

Show Trunk Lid and Pictures of the Kid

Maybe I Do is in the theaters. The kid and I enjoy getting out to the cinema together. A comedy is right up there with what the doctor has ordered. Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, and William H Macy play the parents to a young couple. When the parents meet it turns out that the four have all cheated and that their partners are this other couple. I’m a sucker for funny sex, a friend tells me that there is no other kind of sex, she urged me to think about it, I want to believe she’s right, of course she’s right as she laughed—

Flying up to Seattle tends to mean it will be colder and likely wetter than here in Northern California. Fortunately, perhaps that’s exaggerating, we have just come out of a lengthy period of rain, snow and very chilly air. My years spent playing dates in Arizona has left me with little appreciation for what we call winter. It is one of my many emotional disabilities.

Sunday the Eagles play the 49ers for the National Football Conference Championship. I’ll need to be excused so I can watch the game. My kid knows about the dad’s football habit. Because of the pandemic we’ve tended to choose our visiting with larger gatherings to near zero. We see our very closest friends, best method is just one other couple, we think this reduces the chances of catching the bug of all bugs. 

Here is a shot of family— I am far right

Unfortunately, this cautiousness has gutted from our life the people we might recognize by face, bump into at the marina, see them at one of our favorite saloons, at the health club, now most of those second and third tier acquaintances have been melted away by the pandemic. 

As much as I like my best friends, they’ve all heard my stories before, it’s all the newer faces in the crowd that might like to hear about my life on stage, the books I’ve written, the sailing I’ve done, and the birds I’ve identified. 

In the before times to live a really well rounded life you’d mix and match your activities to blend your time visiting the time tested relationships with the newer people you are just getting to know. 

In June of last summer, I dropped a propane tank on my big toe. That wiped out most of the summertime. Walking was difficult. I’ve been shooting baskets down at the club since September. It’s a terrific workout, you can kick up the pace and you’ll know you’ve been exercising once you are finished. I shoot for 45 minutes most days. Then, last week I picked up a ball dribbled and took a few steps and my lower leg on the same side as the damaged toe decided to pop. I’ll be back in another week. At first, I thought I’d be down for months. 

Prop case circa February 2020

Most years when I’ve been onstage I would do about five-hundred shows. These have been physically challenging, besides juggling you’ve got to chat up your crowd. In the early years you had no sense of pace, didn’t even consider you could get injured, you just let it rip. Once you’ve got a long string of contracts to honor you start streamlining your time on stage and the training you do to maintain the act. You don’t want any stubbed toes, no twisted ankles, no pulled muscles in your back, no damage to your voice, not too much direct sun on your face, you end up smoothing out your daily routine. 

A well trained showman will walk at a good pace but not sprint from place to place. Moderation is key. For decades I performed a few handstand stunts in the act. All in all it worked out, a few unplanned tumbles got me banged up, but I was able to work around the injuries.

A colleague in the biz has a big show in May and has asked if I would do something. It some ways doing 5 minutes is harder than doing 500 shows. You have to prepare just about as thoroughly. If you count the number of lines, calculate which stunts you are going to include, it will eat up more than a few day’s to be sure you are well prepared for the appearance.

As life would have it my daughter and I get along swell. Her dog Mezzo seems to think the world of me, at least I pretend the little guy does. Most amazing about time shared with my kid is being in the midst of her great talents. Besides being a damn good cook, she has this other talent for being organized. You really can’t appreciate this talent until you look in her dresser drawers, go through her clothes in the closet, or admire her tree of earrings. 

Fort Lincoln, Arizona and the Kid and the Old Man out for a Walk

Five days in Seattle in late January is the first installment. We are due back up for a trip out to Orcas Island late this summer. Sometime between now and then the kid will make it down to the Bay Area. It isn’t as much as we’d like, but we see one another and we find it better than not getting together.

I was ambivalent over becoming a father, my mother passing away at 56 changed my mind. A daughter changes how a father feels about the project of being alive. To the extent unconditional love can be found anywhere in this world it must be located somewhere between  a parent and their child. The emotions come with a gravitational force all their own. The rising tides of closeness, belonging, and understanding fill the famous void. 

Whatever it is a site of the kind I run here is about, one thing it could be about is self-care, perhaps a flow chart showing how to stay out of harm’s way and where to find the good stuff that makes our short time here worth the effort. 

I’m packing my bags now

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