A Bad Case of the Splits

I feel like I’ve been stuck with a foot on the boat and a foot on the dock for a few months now. It’s like puberty without wet dreams. I’m almost forty-four years old. I’ve still got a ton of hair but it’s greying around edges. My oldest is in high school. The youngest just started middle school. I still see a lot of road before me, but I feel like the car’s going faster.

 

It’s a damn short movie.
How’d we ever get here?
– “Just Us Kids“, James McMurtry

 
I’m writing this from a plane. Next to me is a “businessman” in his fifties. Trim and fit, he has silver hair and wears grey flannel slacks and a razor starched button-down. Across the aisle is a late thirties, early forties guy. Shirt untucked, skin-tight suitcoat, and bedazzled jeans, he gives off the air of a .comer.

I belong to neither tribe. Neither fish nor foul I’m not quite one and never was the other. What’s a boy to do between boy and older gent? I guess that’s “man”, right? Directions, please.

When I was young I was sure I was better, faster, stronger than the old man. No amount of evidence to the contrary could disabuse me of the belief. Now some of the young pups are on my tail. Now the hunter is hunted.

What to do? Change tactics. Retire blunt force. Introduce guile, wisdom or trickeration depending on your point of view. It’s like the old bit about the two guys being chased by the bear. The smarter one says coolly, ” I don’t need to be faster than the bear, just you.” Having done some things, been some places, had lots of experiences I think I have a pretty good handle on when to run, when to walk, and when to climb a tree.

It’s not a bad place to be, just more complicated. When I was young I didn’t assess options much. I had perfect conviction and I moved forward intrepidly. Often misguidedly, but without hesitation. Now it’s endless weighing of options: pants or jeans, shave or scruff, shots or chardonnay, Neil Young or Young Jeezy. That’s actually a lie. I’ve never once considered not listening to Neil Young and never knowingly listened to a song by Young Jeezy. The rest is all true. I swear.

Or do I just want you to believe that? Look, a bear!