I had an old friend in town this past weekend and the usual wackiness ensued that has happened most every time Charlie and I have gotten together in the past 30 years. Wackiness is a very good thing. Forget about meds from a doctor’s prescription pad; think about how much better you would feel if you had several daily doses of good old hearty laughing. It’s difficult to worry about your woes when you are busy rolling on the floor like a loopy little lad.
Most of Saturday we sat around watching sports and hanging out by the pool unintentionally finding new and creative ways of causing my wife to roll her eyes at us, until she had enough of our silliness and went off to spend the evening with a friend.
The big excuse for the visit was to attend Sunday’s Rams vs Cowboys football match way over in Arlington in Jerry’s Giganta-torium on Sunday. The game was great; none of the 92,000 Dallas fans that attended tossed their spittoon juice on my buddy in his Rams shirt or even gave him a hard time when he celebrated his team’s victory over the local Boys. Just in case though, when Charlie got a bit boisterous, I cowered a bit behind him worried a random spur might come flying our way.
Unfortunately, on the way home our silly juvenile fun was interrupted when I discovered my car tire was looking less like a big black doughnut and more like a burnt crepe made by a novice blind chef with ADD and a touch of palsy. It was not pretty. After feeding a dozen quarters to a gas station machine in an attempt to re-inflate it, my gauge still registered zero air pressure. Now my blood pressure was a different story. Looking at the twisted tire, I thought, maybe we did experience a spur attack?
My Mini has no spare but instead has ‘run-flat’ tires but the three hour wall-to-wall chaotic traffic exiting the stadium parking lots (who schedules a nearby professional baseball game to end at the same time) and drive home truly tested that ‘running flat’ concept. As it did to my patience and ability to not wind myself up into a tense mess with my mind spinning in a faster frenzy than the Tasmanian Devil in a Red Bull factory. No distraction from an old friend was going to help, as I worried about what a dangerous blow-out on the highway might do to mangle my car, effect my ability to get around next week and at the least disrupt the rest the weekend’s plans for unplanned wackiness.
As it turned out the tire incident did not put a damper on our silly fun as much as the physical limitations of being humans our age with real world adult responsibilities. The next morning while I played an insanely frustrating one-sided game of phone tag with the mechanics trying to find out if I did any damage to my car, my wife was dealing with an infuriating situation with a contractor that was supposed to be finishing an estimated 2-day multiple door replacement project that had been dragging on since mid-May. When the worker arrived, he discovered one part he needed was missing and the other, for the third time in as many visits, was damaged.
Meanwhile Charlie also woke up to a handful of headaches to handle here and at home. We all needed to vent as things started piling up on us at an almost a comical level. Our laugh-fest became a bitch-session as problems seemed to roll over us in waves like those fits of laughter had the previous two days. We all were trying to get past it but things changed as the day went on.
I learned Las Vegas, one of my favorite places to escape the reality of the world, had been smeared with the blood of massive meaningless tragedy. That was exaggerated even more when later I again was reminded of how fragile life is when I learned about singer Tom Petty’s death. My mood soured and there was a lot less laughter.
Being so crazy worked-up and hyper-focused over the inconvenience of a door or a tire seems kind of silly in the light of so much devastating death or while the entire populations of Puerto Rico and a half-dozen other islands in the Atlantic are fighting just to make it through the day alive with no shelter or electricity. We are on the brink of war, building walls instead of repairing bridges and internally everyone is fighting each other because no one wants to do the one single obvious thing we teach every tiny child… to work together and share.
Now as I write this, yet another close friend is dealing with the very inevitable death of her father. At least he made it past her birthday. The world is already a cruel enough place; no need for that to be ruined too.
The sorrow and helplessness of this week reminds me just how special and very important wacky weekends with old friends are. I am mad at myself for letting solvable problems grow big enough to spoil my good times, especially since I’m old enough to know that right around the corner some big bad uncontrollable ugliness is usually waiting to pounce.
I don’t have any big answers. I don’t know how to get people to stop fighting. I don’t know how to stop the senseless killing. I don’t know how to make the heroes of my generation stop dying. I don’t know how to cure old age. But hopefully I still have enough time left to learn how to better handle the controllable things. How to better balance my priorities by adding more time with friends and family. And most importantly, how to add more wackiness and hearty laughter to every day.