Intersections and the anticipating eye...aka Civilization and its Malcontents...aka We go but to return, or so we think...
Apologies for an absence made necessary as I approached the merge point of this truly unique season and that of the life I know better. I actually hesitate to put this up on a Friday when no one will likely be around to read it, but Monday is Day 1 of the return of my white coat, and I didn’t want to risk losing an ending for a beginning.
To address a hopefully rhetorical question: It is not quite yet time to clear the slate on Flights. I happen to [man]love this space and the good, good things that have come my way since creating it. Yeah mostly I mean the phat, phat roll, but I suppose I also mean all of you bastahds I will be drinkin’ my huge ass off with in just a few weeks. So no matter how busy I get, I will still be posting here with greater regularity than I demonstrated in this last stretch. Forewarned is forearmed, no?
The days since my last post have been somewhat uneven ones, but happily illumination has been at hand when the footing was most uncertain. The days are pressed now in my mind as a microcosm of the entirety of my time off, and the recounting of them seems worthwhile only because years from now I know I will wonder at my mindset during the transition back to my other life.
Where to start? Naturally, with a thanks giving.
What more would I need to feel thankful for than the arrival of my NYS license and a 14k Thank You for Playing at Full Tilt Poker? It turned out that Fate had rewards richer by far in store right around the bend. The week began with reunions new and old when Bandy, a long lost brother I met on a glorified tugboat in the South Pacific off the coast of Chile in 2001 reentered my life with a wave and an email. He was heading down to Baja for weeks of surfing and living like a hermit, and happily his trail would take him through Cleveland. In addition, smokkee and the Elf were in town and wanted to get together.
Now I’ve never written about my winter in Chile, but it remains a keystone memory. Having completed a medical mission in Santiago ahead of schedule, I picked up my stuff, shoved it in my pack and began heading south with no clearer goal than “I’d like to see Tierra Del Fuego.” What followed was thumbed rides, luxe buses and a trip aboard the Navimag – a cargo ship with an oscillating run connecting the very south of Chile to the heartland. It crossed over the open Pacific at the Gulf of Sorrows and it was during that harrowing, vomit-inducing stretch of sea that the only four Canucks on the boat found themselves serendipitously at the same dinner table – downing Pisco sours we knew we’d be viewing again in short course. There, thousands of kilometers from home, four guys who were traveling independently met for the first time despite having grown up no more than forty minutes apart in that most cosmopolitan of centres: Toronto. We ended up hiking Torres del Paine National Park together before heading down as south as we could go, crossing the Straits of Magellan and coming to rest in Ushuaia, El Fin del Mundo. A warm and rewarding moon rose over the city that night and as we drank to it, I was reminded just what it is about chance encounters I enjoy so much. Yes, most are laughable misses. But the hits run truly and meaningfully through the rest of the run.
So it was with a smiling nostalgia I awaited Bandy, and with a shinier eagerness I looked forward to introducing U to smokkee and the Elf who were in Cleveland enjoying Buckeye dominance and paying respects to recent arrivals. Before I can say anything about the goot time that was dinner, I have to note that I botched up this blogger get-together mightily. Hacker was ready, willing and able to join us that night and would have if not for my disorganization and inconsideration that day. Though entitled to be permanently riled at me for that, Hacker as usual, chose the nobler sentiment and gave me a pass on my gaffe. As some of you have noted before, I tend to use this space to obsess on my errors as much as anything else. I likely picked that habit up during training, because it applies to everything I do, not just my game. It’s the untidied and loose ends that occupy my thoughts, and messing that meet up still bothers me. Perhaps writing it down makes it easier for me to compartmentalize. Accent on “mental”, no doubt...
Dinner itself could have been an example of worlds colliding awkwardly as Bandy came aground just in time for dinner with smokkee and Elf. And yet, at least from my vantage, it was a great time. I can definitively say that since U has met some of my bloggah kin, she has grown far more accomodating about the whole pokah scene. It was great because I got the chance to reconnect with an old friend and simultaneously introduce U to my new ones. And of course I finally got the chance to give smokkee some serious shit on behalf of Hoy and Don and I that we owed him since our first get together at the MGM café last summer. You guys know what I mean. Needless to say he just laughed his ass off and smiled that smokkee smile. Kinda like Ray Charles with an OC tan…
So there were certainly things to be thankful for – and I have been enjoying feeling thankful for many days since. But there has also been a fair bit of anxiety as I prepare to change gears.
For the last few days, I’ve been acting like a grownup and I forgot how much that can suck. We signed papers on the house, but got official word it won’t be done until June 30, 2007. I wouldn’t care except that I start work on December 4 20006. What we decided to do, after turning it over again and again is to leave U and the munchkins in Cleveland until the house is done. I found a pretty chic loft in the renovated downtown to take me through the next seven months. I can actually walk to either of my two main hospitals, which should be pretty nice. I also bought a battle-ready Nissan Exterra to get me through the Buffalo snow. Black on black because I am a badass – thank you for noticing. Okay, okay I did puss out and get heated seats, and yeah, somewhere my PeeWee hockey coach is shuddering in shame. But I’m still a badass.
A badass who in the span of about three days has committed himself to a fairly big chunk of debt. Since I am generally a guy who likes to make money before spending it, this doesn’t sit great with me philosophically, but it is what it is. A modern problem.
Now I sit in Toronto preparing to head out early tomorrow, and what has me a little freaked out is the impending separation. It was my idea, and one that seemed the logical solution to our dilemma. But now that it’s upon us I find myself loathing it in anticipation. I just can’t believe I am about to go from being fully immersed in every moment of my kids’ lives – from the odiferously banal to those reliably sublime moments of curiosity and insight - to being a guy they only see on the weekends at best. I also can’t believe I am leaving my girl to fend for herself in Cleveland while I start this thing on my own. Those of you who’ve met her know that she’ll be fine – she’s amazing, resourceful and more than up to the challenge. It just isn't my style to leave her hanging, and yeah; I am going to miss them all. A lot. Seven months does not sound like one of those time periods that just “flies by”.
Just another modern problem with its unevenly modern solution.
Mmmmmm? Two lines of pokah content? I am 0/7 on Tier 3’s and 0/9 on Tier 2’s since the FTOPS final table. I was dominaytin those biotches too prior to this streak, so I'm a little cheefed. I am playing reasonably well too, just running into coolah aftah coolah. Mr. Second Best Hand. When I get back tomorrow I will play the 16k fa shure as I greedily try for one last score before work cuts my hours down. Real life…sheeeesh!