And Then I Turned 40


Apparently, I am stressed about this. My neck feels like someone stuck a needle in and left it, my teeth hurt from the constant clenching and this morning my right eye developed a twitch. I know I don't look forty. Just last month, I got carded when I ordered a glass of wine with dinner. I certainly don't FEEL forty (most of the time). I'm suffering from a serious disconnect here.


Mother's Day Out (A Day at the Races)

In other news, my Mom finally retired in June and she is enjoying it so much! When she came up for her yearly summer visit, we decided to surprise her with a retirement gift. Something many people do NOT know about my schoolteacher Mom... she has a serious lead foot. My Dad likes to tell the story about waking up while my Mom was driving a late night stretch through Kansas and looking over to see the speedometer over 100 mph. He was afraid she was asleep at the wheel, but she was just driving at a "comfortable" speed! I remember her mentioning on multiple occasions how she should have been a race car driver. When I was a kid, we called her Mommio Andretti.

Naturally, I decided the best way to kick off her retirement would be to put her in a REAL race car. After much combing of the Internetz, I found a racing school about an hour from our house that was offering a variety of racing experiences during her scheduled visit. Of course when I went to make a reservation, there were a few points on the form that gave me pause (namely the reminder that she would need to crawl through the car window, iffy knees and all). I decided it would be in everyone's best interest to spoil the surprise, so we told Mom what we were planning and she got the all-clear from her doctor.

My Mom is usually pretty reserved but she was so excited, and she obviously had so much fun. Adam designed a super cool Tshirt and we had it printed for her to wear for her race. The workers at the race school thought she and her shirt were pretty cool! There was a nice young man who basically picked her up and slid her through the car window and her driver went faster than all the other cars on the track. She even got a professional photo of herself in the car, mounted on a keepsake plaque. She had an absolute BLAST and we had a great time watching her!


You Can Never Go Back

It's true.

When we went back to Sarasota for the New College 50th Anniversary in 2011, I felt this. I didn't just feel it. I was staggered by it.

Funny, most of the people I was so excited to see again were people I've seen since leaving Florida anyways. And there were a surprising number of people I saw that, when confronted with their face, I realized I could have happily never seen them again. So many people that I saw through the crowds and thought, "Good lord, I forgot about YOU" with varying degrees of joy and horror. And then there were the strangers I saw chatting with "my friends" who turned out to be people I knew quite well once upon a time. Shock upon shock upon shock. As a group, we speculated about motivations... for people who made the trip to come back and for people who stayed away, as well as those who never left.

The campus was so familiar and so different all at once. Keeping in mind, this was the first time I've been back to campus since leaving Florida in 1998. Ham Center, Pei dorms and the Library bridge were all competing against newly blocked roadways, new science buildings and new dorms where once there was open green space. Drinks could still be had at the Bahi Hut, though surrounded by a very different sort of clientele than I remember from back in the day. It was actually more than a little painful to see.

Being in such familiar places and wandering among so many unfamiliar faces, brought back some of my less pleasant memories from those years and I was surprised by them. I don't know why. I suppose we do that though, don't we? We remember the good stuff and sweep the bad things under the proverbial carpet. We remember things "better" than they ever were to begin with. College was fun and I made my very best friends there, friends that to this day mean more to me than I can express. But looking back, I can see that I spent too much of that era suffocating under the weight of my own insecurities.

I can't really say whether or not I'm glad we went. I almost wish we had simply arranged our own gathering of friends somewhere that wasn't New College. I'm not sure if I will attend another reunion. Because you really can't ever go back.