Sometimes you just gotta write... So I wrote these.
Ah yes. The time I saw my 80 year-old-self at a beach.
He was so very comfortably sitting there in the sand, in the sun, with his belly. I don’t think his face lent anything to my recognition, it was his essence that was familiar. I knew that he was me, and I, someday, would become him. Of course what followed was a weird sort of sweaty pacing in the astonishingly hot sand as my brain rioted against itself and then back again and forth and sideways. At this point he’s probably seen me, I’m quite observant. Then again, I have no idea, maybe I go blind in this future and he’s the one that’s lost and confused. GET IT TOGETHER. I walk up. He’s not blind. Still for an instant I think I’m moderately insane and that I’ve just approached a random old man and stared into his eyes. I gather, and ask the first thing that pops into my head, “Should I fix my car, or sell it for parts?”. He gives me a look that just reeks of disappointed acknowledgment that he was once this person before him. “That’s really the best question you could think of?”. I sigh. But deep down, we knew. It probably was.
Crusty fried eggs. Yuck.
Fried eggs. Oh how I detested them. The crusty side bits, the jello-ey squishy white, the yu–yolk. And the smell. The smell of hot pan and slimy egg white making a crusty baby gave me nausea deep in my soul. It was breakfast, and that was the delicacy “I have so graciously served you this morning”. And thus the battle began. It was me versus my mother. And because the apple fell very very close to the tree, it would be an arduous, and painful, and deeply gritty affair. The terms were thus: no food, until the egg was eaten. I was determined to endure. I skipped breakfast, gritted my teeth, and stared that delicious creamy Annie’s mac-n-cheese in the face for all of lunch. My stomach may have growled, but my stubbornness growled louder. I survived through dinner. My sides aching as I moped about on the kitchen floor, I declared victory. But my opponent would not give up so easily. The terms would have to be amended. A single bite of the egg, and dinner was mine. I debated it, mulled it over, and succumbed. The egg? Revolting. The leftover Annie’s? A manifestation of heaven itself.
For me, there was only one teacher. And she was something else. Imagine pure savagery blended with the oddest of goofery. Like a piranha doing interpretive dance to Celine Dion. She was average in stature, but not in mind. In fact, I vividly remember her once saying to me “average is quite bothersome to me. I can appreciate low or high, but not average”. Her specialty? English. Which makes more sense to me all the time. And English she deployed. Words were the teeth with which she logically decimated your less-than-excellent homework, but also the bubbles with which she fascinated and entertained us endlessly. And she used EVERYTHING as a teaching opportunity. And I mean e v e r y t h i n g. A boy walking his dog? An overcomplicated lecture on the importance of responsibility, diligence, and hard work was sure to ensue. This woman, nay, legend, my eternal teacher, is my mother. Not because I was feeling extra sappy today, but because I was homeschooled from first grade. So now, here at the close, I eagerly await the multitude of “that makes so much sense” jokes that will come my way in approximately 5 seconds.
One thing my Mom taught me.
Work ethic. Damn that stuff. There is nothing else that so paradoxically tugs at my soul. Since my days of slightly chubby cheeks and rather blond hair, it has tortured me in the very essence of my being. My mother drilled it into me with the ferocity of a cougar on crack. She grew up on a farm, in Connecticut, you see, so her life was always worse. Complaining about bringing the firewood inside? She’d wax eloquent about how SHE had to lug firewood 3 MILES through a field with a raging bull and 4 feet of snow. Oh our work ethic always paled in comparison to young Christina. Which is probably true. So let’s just move on. I feel obliged to mention the painstaking work ethic required in homeschooling due to the self-teaching that occurs. I was lucky. Homeschoolers without work ethic could be a comedy novel. But if you want to see some, they all go to Liberty University (no offense to any of you). Anyway. Work ethic. You will forever be part of me. And I will never know how I truly feel. Because there is nothing else so appreciated by my well-to-do gradebook, and so loathed by my sleepless body.
Some questionable life decisions and a broken bone.
My story begins on a ripstick. Which, in short, is death manifested in a rideable board. Now, making something already moderate in danger levels into something unequivocally perilous was our speciality. Thus, I give you, ripstick bumper cars, in which you would attempt to ram each other’s ripstick and knock each other off (absolutely no helmets). We even had WWE style names. I was “The Bowmanator’ and my brother was “The Juggernaut”. One fine day, in the culdesac, the Bowmanator and the Juggernaut were attempting to kill each other. As you do. Well, as he sped forward to spell my doom, I SLAMMED into a convenient in-driveway speed bump, flying off of my death-board and landing on my left wrist. I felt the pain, but, I was determined to get back up without tears, I mean, my MOM was there. So I did. And as I grabbed the middle of the ripstick (why I chose to use the injured hand is beyond me), my wrist popped down about two-thirds of a centimeter with an audible crack. I’ve only broken one bone since. It was “The Juggernaut’s” pinky. It's a story for another time... But basically, I got him back.