This time is different. It’s always been different, but in minor ways. Now it’s just different.
Every June, at least for the past few years, my wife finishes grading her final exams and hops on a plane for Texas (sometimes to other places, but she usually ends up in Texas eventually). This is where our grandson, daughter and son-in-law are, of course, but also her mother, brother, and many other relatives who didn’t stray far.
And this Tuesday is her mom’s 90th birthday; they’re holding a big party today. But we’re here, not there, and here is what I’m talking about.
I’ve said this many times, but again: I was in the delivery room. I saw my son born, held him a few seconds later, and tried very hard over the next 26-1/2 years to hang on. I didn’t see that coming.
Still, this is just what you do. This is parenthood, or Parenthood. Your kids are who they are, and sometimes they need more than you imagine way back when.
My daughter and her husband know all about this. They had 17 months of baby bliss, a pretty bad couple of weeks, and then adjustment. Their boy needs extra attention, so they develop a knack for that.
It’s just that my knack has dimmed with time and age, and the inevitable changes that happen when a boy grows up. He’s been taller than I am for years now, eliminating the nudge as a way to manipulate him, and his awareness of the world, intellectual capacity, and advice are all increasing rapidly, as expected. He was supposed to catch up. He’s almost there.
So I have less of a son and more of a roommate, although neither of us feels compelled to put a tie or bandana on the doorknob to signal privacy. We do minor things to annoy each other, but mostly we manage just fine, a couple of guys who know each other, maybe, too well.
And on top of everything else – that’s a pretty big else – he’s progressively developed leg pain, spasms and just pain, radiating from his back. He’s a sedentary, overweight young man who’s very tall, but he has signs of arthritis and some disk issues. We’re waiting on approval for an MRI, and physical therapy is on the table, but there have been some days of driving from clinic to clinic. This will be an interesting summer.
Otherwise, we manage. Our tastes in pretty much everything are different, including music, movies and food, so we mostly just dance around each other, keeping track but otherwise staying out of the way. We take walks together, getting out of the house in this transitional weather (cloudy and some rain, moving into serious summer by tomorrow), wandering the aisles of Best Buy, window shopping for a video card that runs nearly $800, a Holy Grail for this gamer, unobtainable until circumstances change.
Circumstances, in fact, might change, but that’s down the road. I’m working on a project with a partner that seems ripe with possibilities, but we’ll wait to see. In the meantime, I have about 7 weeks to come up with around $4000 to cover expenses, and then that repeats for a couple of months. I was desperate enough to send out nearly 40 resumes, just looking for either part-time or fulltime work, even dumb, clerical or phone-answering work, anything to make a few temporary bucks. It appears that the world is not interested in 58-year-old men.
I still intend to make them interested. Kind of uphill at the moment.
I’d comment on Brexit, just for the sake of posterity, but I can’t find a comment. I have no idea what will happen, but I suspect similarities to our country and much of (at least) the Western world. Politicians can now lie with impunity, a remarkable thing considering we can fact-check in real time. Donald Trump, who of course is a unique individual in American history and so all bets can sort of be considered off, lies all the time. Doesn’t seem to hurt him.
There’s more of this directed toward Hillary Clinton, in fact, who is guarded and paranoid and answers questions about these situations in a very Clintonian fashion, which is to say she misspoke or was misunderstood. Some of these make sense, but it won’t stop the accusers.
And when Trump says that the United States is the highest taxed country in the world (it’s not; it sits in the middle of developed countries), it’s not true but he knows people want to believe it. As people in the UK apparently wanted to believe that leaving the EU would recreate an Anglo-Saxon Great Britain once again, or wanted to believe that they were sending hard-earned money to Poland, and half a dozen other misinformed opinions.
Is there blame here? News media, maybe, but then a lot of us consider the main outlets as worthless in terms of news. Particularly their bending-over-backwards attempt to say “both sides do it,” ignoring…well, just about everything. Both sides do something, and something we probably don’t approve of, but it’s not the same thing.
Anyway. I’m not all that interested; mildly interested. As I’m mildly interested in this current U.S. race. Assuming Trump is in for the long haul (I honestly don’t understand how the man’s ego is going to let him follow this road to ignominy or at least humiliation, but I see no signs of him dropping out), anything can happen, I guess, but he’s running against an unpopular candidate and he’s going to get creamed. He’s 70 years old, and assuming he sticks around another 20 years following Nov. 8, 2016, I can’t imagine that we’ll pay much attention anymore.
If you’re interested in a scientific approach, check out the Princeton Election Consortium, run by neuroscientist Sam Wang. He’s the science-minded alternative to Nate Silver, with no skin in the game as far as creating a talking head personality. He runs under the radar, and he’s more accurate than Silver, although as the election nears the difference is slight.
At this point, though, his aggregate sampling of state polls currently shows Clinton winning 328 electoral votes to Trump’s 210, with anywhere from 70 to 85% certainty. At this point in time. I plan to watch and wait. I’m really not that interested, as I say. Aside from surprises in Ohio or Pennsylvania, which are possible but seem daunting, I think this dinner is done.
A friend yesterday mentioned that I still looked pretty skinny, but I’ve managed to get solidly into the upper 160s, with a few heavy meals later in the evening kicking me into the lower 170s for a day or two. I take my vitamin D supplements and try to eat better, and if things get light I can always find a go-to meal to fill the coffers. Exercise is still erratic but getting better. Come September I may be able to ditch the antidepressant, which seems to have helped but is just one more pill. I like to avoid pills.
Finally, the numbers are fun, if probably meaningless. I turn 58 in a few weeks. I was also born in 1958, which means this will be…any ideas? Is your birthday that corresponds to the last two digits of the year of your birth a big deal? If so, it’s over quickly if you’re born at the early part of the century, and only a mathematical goal to await if your birthday falls toward the end of that century.
Me, born in the middle of the 20th century, I get my special year at what seems to be a special time. I’m working on a project that may change my life drastically. The Summer Olympics show up, as does the (wait for it) 58th presidential election.
I may actually have magical powers this year. Hard to say. You might want to brush by me to see if it rubs off.
In the meantime, I’m looking for an appropriate name for this phenomenon. Chronological convergence is all I can come up with at the moment. I welcome suggestions.
And thoughts and prayers and whatever else you do to privately show support for my son, who faces an ordeal and possibly back surgery. He’s way too young, but then he’s got 64 years until he reaches his own convergence. By then, we may understand how important this is.
I will be dead, of course, but in the meantime I’m keeping my eyes open for signs. A possible superpower is not out of the question.
Or just my wife back. I assume she’s coming back.
I assume the same thing for the United Kingdom, by the way. Just not sure how that plays out. Again. It might be an interesting year.