Once In A Lifetime

Lately, I find myself thinking a lot about my past travels and travails.  Most have been the latter, I think, though that doesn’t mean they were without merit.  We are all a product of our past experiences, each one a new lesson.  Never mind the fact that some lessons need to be taught several times before taking root.

And you may find yourself
Living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?

One of the cool things about my job is that – hypothetically, at least – I can work from anywhere I want.  Of course, I hear people who have similar jobs say this all the time and never act on it.  That includes myself, though other than last year I never had any reason to even think about moving somewhere else.

This will be a long entry because I’m working some shit out as I type.

Back in late 2005, I helped my friend Steph move two time zones away.  I helped her load up a Uhaul in Lewisville, Texas which we then attached to her Chevy pickup.  After that, my job was simple – just drive.  I pulled that damn thing across the Continental Divide near Raton, New Mexico, north through Colorado, and then west across the deceptively steep plains of southern Wyoming.  From there I continued to pull her belongings through beautiful parts of Utah before traversing the salt flats on the way to Nevada.

Oh, Nevada.  Beautiful and forlorn at the same time.

Anyway, I got Steph (and her belongings) to Reno just fine and in time to start her new job.  My last two nights in the Biggest Little City were spent by myself in a now closed casino hotel.  I watched Monday Night Football (Washington beat my Cowboys 14-13), walked around downtown Reno (a lot), and joked around with people on the elevator of my hotel (also a lot).  Then I took a flight home to my 600 sqft apartment in Bedford, Texas and had an epiphany of sorts, though it was almost self destructive.

At that time, I’d been at my current job for 10 years and I had no interest at all in “moving up the ladder” – no matter how many times I was asked.  Longer, shittier hours for less pay?  Not my jams.

So I was jealous of Steph.  Actually, envious would be a better word.  I was stuck in a rut and she was on an adventure.  I was playing it safe and she was taking risks.  I was mired in a land of asphalt, traffic, and mini malls.  She was 30 minutes from Lake Tahoe.  And mountains.

About 5 months later I quit my job with no discernible plan in regards to next steps.  That was the first time I basically said “Fuck it – let’s make life interesting.”

I’ve done it many times since then, sometimes even on purpose.  A move to Austin in 2007 and an ill-fated (and very brief) move to Las Vegas in 2011 among them.

I used to take a lot of road trips.

It all started in 1990 when I hit the road with my first “serious” girlfriend.  We loaded up her Mustang GT convertible, put the top down , and headed east.  Our only plan was to meet up with my brothers in New Orleans while they were in that city playing a few gigs.  We were able to hang out a bit with my brothers in New Orleans at their crappy hotel, but only after spending the night in Baton Rouge first.  So the first two nights of this trip were spent in Louisiana, and after that?  We were all over the map.

We spent 7 nights on the road while traveling through 11 states.  We had no agenda, other than the aforementioned New Orleans escapade, and would decide where we were going next only after checking into a hotel from the previous night’s decision.

After nights in Baton Rogue and New Orleans, we stayed in Pensacola (FL), Montgomery (AL), Atlanta (GA), St Louis (MO), and somewhere in Arkansas that eludes me now.

After that trip, I got the bug.

Maybe it was that 1990 adventure, or the many camping trips to Colorado with my dad.  Then again, it may have started with the family move from Connecticut to Texas in 1975.  Or perhaps I would have been innately drawn to the lifted skirt and perfumed inner thigh of the open road.

From Alpine, TX to Aspen, Co.  From Chico, TX to Chicago, IL.  From San Antonio, TX to San Jose, CA.  All places I’ve been, and all via automobile.

I haven’t taken a road trip in a long time.  I came close last year, but I ended up flying to Rhode Island with my brothers instead.

But all this talk about road tripping is nothing but bombast.  After all, it is only fun if there is a willing – and fun – passenger.

And those times when I actually moved?  To Austin and to Las Vegas?  Those were fun, too, in their own way.  I had a cohort for most of the duration in regards to the former, but the latter consisted of just a buddy to make the trip to Vegas.  And then I was on my own.

And when my buddy left?  Man, that was about as lonely as a fellow could get.  And his departure was on my birthday, no less.  True story:  I spent part of my 41st birthday between hotels – check out time at 11am from the first, check in time at 3pm at the other – texting with my brother Glenn.  It helped, albeit briefly.

I’m used to being alone now.

So that leads me to these burning questions… Is it time for another adventure?  Is there even another adventure out there for me?  And if so, am I up to it?

I’ve got a lot of friends, but it’s not like I hang out with them all the time.  At my age, most of my friends have kids, and kids mean obligations, and obligations mean less time for your friends.

So why not take another risk?  What do I have to lose?

The answer is “nothing”.

Earlier I alluded to camping trips in Colorado with my dad.  The picture below was taken on one of those trips.  I don’t know the specifics, but I can make a couple of guesses.

I think this photo was taken around 1977, when I was 7 years old.  (Yes, that is me in the picture.)

And I’m pretty sure (90% sure?) that this photo was taken at Cottonwood Pass, about halfway between Buena Vista and Gunnison, CO (if you take the back roads).

But what really strikes me is this:  Not a lot has changed for me in the 40 years since that photo has been taken.  I’m still looking out into the distance, still pondering possibilities.  Still creating adventures in my head.

Is there one more in me?


And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may say yourself, “My God! What have I done?”
– “Once in a Lifetime”, Talking Heads



2 thoughts on “Once In A Lifetime

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s