I drove my dad to an opthamologist appointment at the VA today. While I waited for him to emerge from the small exam room, bespectacled with flimsy black plastic lenses to protect his dilated pupils, I sat reading a motorcycle magazine. The small waiting area filled quickly, old men with beards and long hair and baseball caps and old boonie hats with unit insignias and names of places where men strived, and died, and God comfort them, Survived. They spoke amongst themselves; "Aint no coffee in here. Shame." "Yeah it is." "How ya doin?" Hands shaken "Welcome back"... A language known, familiar, and alien. Among them, but not of them, I sat, trying to tuck myself into the iron and fire of motorcycle building, feeling the very obvious outsider in their midst.
One day, some day, and at what cost? I believe some of us are built for some things - Some burdens - And really, there is only one way to find out. A constant line of thought for me.
The other day someone thanked me, for planning to serve. My first lurch was to accept it and go on, but my instinct is to reject such thanks. I'm a gonna-be, second cousin to the wanna-be. Gonna-be's are possibly redeemable, they have the promise of salvation in action but have yet to be washed in the baptismal substances of their desired work, but they are not Been-an-done's. Thank those who have gone and not returned, thank those who have gone and returned, but dont thank those whose youthful idlewild makes them think they are cut from the same cloth. What have we done?
Later in the day, doing some shopping I found myself keeping an odd sync with a pretty woman of about forty. A very well kept forty, with a very good figure dressed in blue jeans and a sweater. A very big rock on her finger. Working it pretty hard, good swing in her walk, the gym defined ass setting the beat, the paid-in-full chest keeping time. I made eye contact, she smiled, I smiled. We did it again. I stepped in-front of her cart unintentionally, "Excuse me." "Mmmmmmmmmm-hm", long, drawn out, savored. Next time we met in an aisle she had just de-shelved a row of cereal. I helped her pick it up, earning her chagrined thanks. The falling boxes had struck her composure, the creation of her image, a blow - She looked better shaken, out of her element just a bit, uncomposed. I smiled, "You'll forgive me, but I have to say I hope that when I'm 30-something, it looks as good on me as it does on you." She smiled, faux shy, called me a liar - I was, but only about her being that young - It was exactly what she wanted to hear. One hell of a big rock on her finger. I finished my shopping.