When I turned 35 a year ago, it didn’t much matter to me. It was a benign age with an inconsequential number. Kind of bland and flat. Neither here nor there. He’s not young, and he’s not old. He’s in between — YOLD! That’s it, I was yold.
But as I stare from the precipice at the coming of 36, I’m not so lackadaisical or flippant.
Last year I wondered in a column whether turning bland and boring 35 meant I would start drinking mocha lattes, playing golf and shopping for affordable mid-size sedans. Turns out I can’t afford lattes, golf, or sedans, so that pretty much saved me from the oblivion I worried about. In that sense, it was a pretty good year.
I also wrote in that column that the number 35 was not exciting in any conceivable way and totally forgettable. I called it the equivalent of cheap wallpaper, flat Coke or overcooked peas.
But 36 is different. It’s not so soft on the ears. Instead it sounds heavy and stark. Six rhymes with bricks — or moldy sticks — and you can’t say it without a hard landing on that “ix” like you’re spitting on the ground.
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Are we crazy or sumpthin’? Have our brains taken permanent vacations — grabbed a stimulus check and high-tailed it for the Caribbean? Did we lose sight of sanity, which is two hills back, around the bend and enjoying a guilt-free bologna sandwich.
Are we really proposing a 1,000-mile road trip with a three-year-old? All the way to Missouri. Spanning numerous days. Forging rivers. Crossing mountains. Visiting truck stops. Eating in places where they misspell “turkey loaf,” and where the coffee tastes like watered-down motor oil.
Actually, it could be fun. It could be a blast. We might all sue each other when it’s over, but think of the stories we could tell. And all the states we’d cross. All the country we’ll see. All the time we’ll have together in the car, which actually brings me back to thinking we’re nuts.
If the thesis gods approve, I’ll graduate in May with a masters degree from the University of Missouri’s Journalism School. I need to finish up my research, make sense of it all, figure out what methodology means (“Isn’t that about dragons and dwarves and fairies? What does that have to do with my research?”) and then send it off to see what people far wiser than me think.
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“Amelie, your daddy’s Cuban side is coming out,” my wife said. I don’t know if it was a statement of fact or more a warning — “Watch out, sweetie, I think he’s going to salsa!”
She was actually referring to my attempt to fix the lid on the bathroom stool, which has a tendency if you’re not careful to slam shut when you’re done taking something out. It sounds like a giant slab of granite being blown off a mountainside, and I jump whenever I hear it. When it happened twice this night, I marched off to the kitchen, pulled something out of a drawer and told the family, “I’ll fix that once and for all.”
I would Thompson-nize it.
Whenever I “fix” things, my wife thinks it’s my Cuban genes coming out. Cubans are incredibly resourceful, especially after years of coping with a defunct economy and a shortage of almost everything. They can’t just go out and buy something when it breaks, so they fix it. Or make something to replace it. It’s almost an artform how they’ve learned to make do with bits and pieces of nothing, turning them into useful items that make life easier. They may not always be pretty, but they work. Continue Reading »
What goes through a runner’s brain during a five-kilometer race? From start to finish it’s pretty fascinating. Here’s what I spent my 3.1 miles thinking about as I ran the Matanzas 5K in St. Augustine, the first race I’ve done since an injury almost a year ago:
At the Starting Line: It’s cold. I’m tired. I’m standing there in skimpy running shorts and the only thing going through my mind is how my legs must look like knobby pretzel sticks or hairy telephone poles. That’s it. That and how I paid good money to be packed in like cattle for a sport that I could just as easily go do for free.
The starting gun goes off. Actually it’s a cannon. They fire off a freakin’ cannon! For the life of me I can’t understand why. There are thirteen hundred runners out here, all of whom drank too much this morning and desperately need to pee. The last thing your poor bladder needs is a cannon to scare the bejesus out of you.
Yet we run, some of us a little wet.
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