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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What The World Needs Now...

Ok, I'm uncomfortably wedged into a child sized seat on a big ol' jet airliner—a full waist size larger and ten pounds heavier—zipping along at 35,000 feet, 450 mph, and inhaling the collective exhale of three hundred strangers. This is not a metaphor, we are sardines...elbow to elbow; shoulder to shoulder; fin to fin; nuts to butts. Not if, but when, the next plague purges our planetary petri dish of humankind's overpopulation to something more realistic and sustainable, it's mechanism will most assuredly be airplanes (cough). 

Most of the "bacteria" on this plane is headed off on vacation. They will gamble away hard earned money in the blighted cesspool that is Las Vegas, and happily pay for the privilege of doing so with generous "donations" above and beyond gambling losses in the form of hotel, air, and food fares…and pronounce it "fun." But I digress…Vegas is a rant for another time.

So, I'm suffering through what is best described as Thanksgiving Day Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome...a single Pringle form fitted into a cylindrical tube and shot canon-like, east to west. My bluejeans have a Hulk Hogan sissor-lock on a bulging waistline, leaving me to endure five hours of a coup de grace jean-seam invasion that painfully separates Mr Righty from Mr Lefty—restricting circulation and making a Hot Pants mockery out of boxer shorts...now bunched into nooks and crannies that, in all good taste, need no further description. TMI, indeed. It is in this wretched state of self-induced physical torment that I will try to put words to impressions...about the perks and downfalls of wandering out of the safety of one's own backyard.  

The past nine days evaporated like warm breath on a cold day, an ephemeral and somewhat ethereal way to visualize the passage of Time. Think of Time as a commodity…you can spend it like money. But once spent they both slip into the abyss of "gone," never to be relived or retrieved except in memories. That is what makes "now" more precious than gold. How we choose to spend Time is more important than how we choose to spend money. We can always make more money, but we can't make more time. My seat mate is about to waste both time and money, by giving it to billionaire casino owners…a double foul. Wouldn't both be better spent on relationships, family, or friends? 

As you know, this self-described "wanderer" is more comfortable with fewer people and wide open spaces. But there are times when we need be a Pringle, climb into a "tube" and be hurled across the continent, honoring the gift of both having and spending a few precious moments with people we like and/or love. 

According to Misters Funk and Wagnell,  a "wanderer" is more or less defined as one, or a combination of, the following: Traveler, rambler, hiker, migrant, globetrotter, roamer, rover, itinerant, rolling stone, nomad, tramp, transient, drifter, vagabond, vagrant, hobo, bum, and wayfarer. I need to split some hairs—examine shades of grey—redefine, or at least attempt to refine, who I am and why I broke "the rules" regarding the source of my Mojo. 

I'm sorting through these things in the moment as I type, trusting that honesty will somehow find its way from heart to fingertips and guide me to truth. My hope is that it will all come together and make sense…magically reveal itself on my laptop "Tablet" sort of like the Ten Commandments were revealed to Moses on his tablet, a long, long, time ago. We'll see how this old dog handles new tricks...

Jet engines hum a monotone lullaby...eyes droop; head nods. I yield to much needed slumber. A rush of unfiltered memories rush in to fill the vacuum of subconsciousness. They are like flashcards, snapshots of our convergence with Johnson's and Forbes, moments spent laughing, drinking, eating, drinking, sharing, eating, drinking, of dozing through movies, football games and the same old stories, of woods walking, playing Frisbee, jamming in the Music Room…guitars, harmonica, keyboards...pingpong, petting children and new babies and dogs and cats with bottomless appetites for attention…and drinking…and, OMG, New York City, on a whim.

Suddenly it's over, we go separate ways like a Fourth of July starburst—contrails dissipating in our homeward wake. Work and our "under construction" lives call us back, and all that's left to show for our times together are photos, memories, and slightly deeper connections, which, in my dreamy, unfiltered subconscious mind, under the sleep inducing drone of jet turbines and exhaustion, comes to me as an epiphany...that that's the real reason we are on Planet Petri dish in the first place. 

Time marches on, when it's gone, it's gone. It can't be retrieved from the abyss; there are no do-overs. It is up to us to create "now" moments and make them meaningful before the "Candle Snuffer" crashes the "party." We need to say the things that need to be said because Destiny has neither heart nor soul—it shrugs with indifference at our plight, path and dreams. Those who are fortunate enough to grow older, grow wiser…we realize what's at stake and the growing importance staying connected no matter the cost in dollars and convenience. It's called love. 

Now go make a difference, make the effort to make a connection or a reconnection before "now" slips into the irretrievable past. 

Happily exhausted...running on empty, 
Mark and Bobbie

Great niece Maia and Dad, Brent…by brother Dan's and wife Elaine's 2nd son

Nephew Darin…Dan and Elaine's first born

Great Nephew Owen…a budding film maker and brother to Maia, son of Brent and Anita (who hails from Jolly Old England)

Basement games…the scene of death matches and consumption of spirits

Just an old house down the road from Darin and (wife) Tracey's

Amish baked goods

Team Maia and Mark

Opponents Brent and Darin

Owen and Maia…surprisingly even at skill level

Tracey…always a blur because she pretty much was responsible for the continuous buffet while the rest of us drank ourselves into a state of uselessness. Don't know how she did it.

I think Darin baked these pies tho…under the influence of several draws of IPA

My Dear Son, Caleb…constantly eating to build body mass and muscle. He's one of those Cross Fit guy…Bootcamp for fitness 

All reunions have an ongoing puzzle to work on...

Two of these and I was out like a light...

Caleb talks to Elaine (my sister in law)

Anita doing her Vanna White impression…with a British accent. Dan is on the left…Darin's son, now a senior in college, recently back from Japan, a Civil Engineer in the making, and a great D J.

My Brother Dan in the middle…his grandson Dan, and wife Elaine

Puzzle coming together

Pizza party…see if you can put a name to each face. 

Pretty Megan, Darin's daughter, with grandma Elaine

Just a few more to go :)) Stay tuned for our spur of the moment  NYC adventure, and the trip to visit Bobbies side of the family down in Virginia.


  1. Your header photo took my breath away (and not in a good way). So totally unexpected on your blog. Nice photo, nevertheless. There's nothing like family and it looks like you two had a good time with yours. Thanks for all the introductions. That rarely happens in blog land. Even so, I failed the final test but I, at least, had a good idea who was who! Enjoy the inlaws in Virginia! Grace (in Tucson) P.S. Loved the airplane ride description!

  2. Love looking at your pictures of your family, Mark. Reconnecting is out of my picture... sad but that's the way it is. I always enjoy seeing happy families... even though it kinda brings a regret twinge... BUT not enough of one to reconnect... sad innit...

    I'm staying tuned... ;)

  3. I just came back to Canada in one of these tubes, can relate to your description. The use of special pressure stockings is paramount to me. Did the family thing just as you said, the now is too fleeting.
    Back home I took a big breath! Finally room and air to breathe.
    Yep. So true. Nice to meet your family. Mine are too preoccupied with personal data protection. But they all use a smart-phone.... :))

  4. Mark, from 1996 - 2003 I found myself on way too many planes. Actually, 98-2000 I was on two or 3 flights a week! Man, I do not miss that at all! Surprising header photo.

    Looking forward to heading to Havasu, Joshua Tree, and Borrego for the New Year.

  5. Try doing that plane ride for 27 hours with 500 people (maybe a slight exaggeration). I think the airlines pipe some sleeping shit into the airducts. But in the end, worth it. Especially to spend quality time with people you love. Welcome back to civilization.

  6. in 12 days I will in same situation-To White Christmas in Wisc--- music and good book is the only way for me to endure planes! You do belong out west!! take care walden creek rv steve


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