Peripatetic Postcards

Life, Like That

In the midst of an extended Parisian idyll, time for a change. Even with so many things not yet accounted for-- its people, streets, buildings, art – well, that is life. Like that. A number of realities forestalled; any number of entries that may have to wait: entries worth the wait. Because one can always return to Paris. Paris will always be there. Forever beckon. Paris will always pull visitors into its sinewy, supple, sensual embrace. For now, I am back on the road – or in this case the air – onto another continent, across another ocean.

Tonight it’s the red-eye. LA into New York. How I got to the west coast is another story. Happened in a wink. Life like that. Close your eyes and risk missing the next possibility, delight, worry, intervention, solution. Life being best when it is precisely like that.


I’m flying JetBlue. Actually my whole gang is. Wife, kids. No dog in the house or else that varmint would certainly be with us too. Since we seem to have taken everything in our possession. 4 Full-sized suitcases and 6 carry-ons. Where we are taking it all is on tour – only, following the peripatetic creed, we’re doing it on a whim, in a whirlwind. The spouse and kids buying in to my mad philosophy.

There’s a reason we’re doing it, of course. Always a purpose behind the madness in a life like that. I wasn’t going to explain that just yet, but – alright, since I’m not any good at keeping secrets, I might as well (now you know why no one is ever surprised at Christmas around my home). Part of this trip is about passage. Ritual – to some degree; developmental, for sure, but – if it is done right (and I guess that onus falls a good deal on me) – intellectual and moral. We are on the red eye – and hence, on the road -- because this is the year that my daughter has to pick colleges. Still 13 months prior to entry, but this month is the time to visit and muse, speculate, evaluate, weigh and choose.

Life not always being like that. Where you get to see your various futures spread out before you and select with care.

We all have opinions in the matter, but I guess my daughter’s counts mostest. It is something I have a hard time getting over. Not just her opinion, but the way she carries it. As if it is the most natural thing to have, and the most obvious conclusion to hold. (Whereas her mother’s and father’s is – obviously – so disconnected from what is really important). Life, like that.

Sigh.


When I look at my daughter that way, that song from Fiddler comes to mind:

Is this the little girl I carried . . .?

Is this the little boy at play?

I don’t remember getting older . . .

When did they?


Well, get used to it, old man. Life, being like that. It won’t ever reverse field and flow any other way. And who would really wish it to?

Life being best. Just like that.


To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

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