The calm before the storm. No, more like the calm before the story.
I love these moments at the edge of the precipice. We teeter back and forth, our heart bungee jumps to our head, our palms sweat, our voice trembles, our hands shake, and the unknown bares its teeth and invites us to tumble onward.
I’m facing about thirty hours of travel time before I enter a brand new world where “I” becomes “We” and “my” turns to “our” – a change reflected in Manny and I’s new joint venture – SuperGrilledTravels.
I went on a date the other day. We can call it a first date though it could also just as easily be known as a last date because I highly doubt I will ever see her again. In fact, I can even imagine a scenario where she would send me a very expletive and CAPS LOCK filled text message if she ever has the misfortune of stumbling across this particular editorial.
“I may have a lot of problems, but at least I can grow a magnificent beard.”
Seeing as I live in the terrible abscess of culture and art that is Central New Jersey, I don’t often get the chance to do simple things like go to museums, take DJ classes, or go to the movies. (There are plenty of opportunities for having deep metaphysical conversations with trees, so if you’re into that you should come hang out with me in my woods.) The closest movie theaters are about 45 minutes away if you drive the speed limit or an hour away if you spent a considerable amount of time living abroad and are now afraid of automobiles. (Everything just moves so fast now!)
Unless you’ve seen me naked sometime in the past three years, you probably don’t know about the giant homage to Princess Mononoke that adorns my stomach. I’m a relatively inconspicuous young man, my most notable other features being a thick, scraggly beard and a pair of extremely plump red lips, so most seem to be a little surprised when I take off my shirt and they are faced with a piece of art that takes up approximately 50% of my torso.
The first time I watched Titanic also happened to be the first time I saw a pair of large naked boobs staring at me onscreen. They were Kate Winslet’s large naked boobs, of course. I was a confused young boy of nine sitting in the corner of the very first row of a Central New Jersey theater: my father to my right, my older sister to my left, and me and a rapidly mounting sense of awkwardness in the middle.
(Ahh… should I look? Should I not look? What’s everyone else doing? Oh god, something is happening in my pants!)
Fifteen or so years later I found myself again watching Titanic in a completely sold out theater, but this time from the corner of the last row, with very different company and about as far away from New Jersey as one can get without either burrowing to the Earth’s core or flying to the moon.
So, you want to meet my mother you say? Sure, sure I think we can arrange that. You’ll have to find that bastion of liberalism that she and my father live upon. It’s a hill overlooking a small pond and two fields in the middle of the cow and horse and chicken and Republican country of Central New Jersey. Oh, it’s beautiful – no doubt about that – and what it lacks in nearby facilities that would entertain a teenager, it more than makes up for with its beautiful seclusion and the leafy trees that hide my childhood home from the neighbors for about three quarters of the year.