My Instagram feed has been inundated with photos from various bars/hookah joints in New Orleans, because some people I know/knew are there for our friend’s 30th birthday. While I enjoyed seeing the photos, I cannot help but think that in some ways, it would be nice that at this age, I could drop everything and just go hang in a city six hours away, just for a birthday. The thing is, most of those folks we don’t see much anymore and it’s because we have different lives now. We’re married with children and most of them, even though they have good jobs and girl/boyfriends, are still unfettered by offspring. I am not jealous; it’s just something I thought about.
On Sunday, our fantasy football commissioner and friend beat the snot out of me. He had a dream week and my players were very bad. And the only reason this made me angry is because he didn’t even pick his players; he autodrafted because he wasn’t home that day: he was at a Def Leppard concert in Dallas. One day prior, he was here, seeing an FSU game with us. The day before that, Jacksonville. He is two years older than me and is still globetrotting, making a ton of money. He and his wife have no children. Next time we go head to head, I want to beat him on principal alone.
I was on my way to pick up Elliot, driving down Miccosukee and a narrow, tree-lined portion of the road, when a huge hawk flew right in front of my windshield, a squirrel gripped in its talons. The squirrel was Superman-style, as if simply hitching a ride. Except, first stop: Beakville. Second stop: Stomachtown. It reminded me of this essay by Southern author Bailey White, where she was driving down a road and saw a large bird up in the distance. Assuming it was a buzzard gnawing on carrion, she slowly approached until she came face to face with the creature and it turned out to be a bald eagle. The point of her story being something about realizing how small you are or your own humanity when looked in the eye by something wild.
Sometimes those things are old friends living a life you can barely imagine yourself in. Sometimes they are your children, so innocent and free with their time. Sometimes, it’s a bird of prey, taking its meal back to a nest, the same animal you once fed milk to in your office when a fellow TA had saved a baby abandoned by its mother.
As Elliot got out of the car today, he grabbed his big backpack and hopped down, spying a friend and almost rushing off. Then he came back to the door and said, “Love you, mom. Have a good day!”, which was so out of character for him. And then I cried all the way to work.