The 303 train from Chicago to Blue Island broke down last night, leaving me stranded in Chicago waiting for a later train.
Unfortunately, that meant I’d miss my son’s track meet.
He sent me this text just as my train pulled up to the Vermont Street stop where I park my car.
What’s unique about this text, is that it stems from a conversation we had last night while sitting around a small table at Chipotle.
It’s been a long two-weeks of sickness around our house, with everyone dealing with a combination of allergies and head colds, with a little strep throat thrown in for good measure. We needed to buy Carson a pair of running shoes for his track meet on Friday, so I made an executive decision to eat out, which is rare for us.
I like to write on Saturday mornings before two thirds of the kids are awake.
It’s quiet, and I love the solitude minus the occasional interruption from the 9-year-old daughter who likes to ask me complicated questions about life when I’m trying to concentrate.
Last weekend I curbed my imbibing into a manageable martini and a couple of beers and woke at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, a good two hours later than my weekday schedule.
I settled into my comfortable writing spot on the couch, curled my legs under my body and hoisted my laptop atop my thigh to begin to work on a writing project that is currently in the creative stages but about to enter the dreaded editing and second re-write stage.
My phone rang around 8:30 a.m., about the time I was due for a short green tea break.
I didn’t recognize the local number, so I let it go to voicemail.
I picked up the phone a few minutes later and saw that the person had indeed left a message.
“Hello, my name is redacted, and I’m here with your son. He got lost from his running group, and he’s shivering and cold.”
I started writing this from the Chili’s across from the Comfort Inn we’re staying at in Dentsville, South Carolina tonight.
The kids are staring at me after I just scolded them for replying to the waitress with their typical “ya,” or barely discernible grunt meant to infer that yes, they would indeed like fries with their burger.
“This is the South, where people are polite, and when they ask you if you want fries with your burger, you say yes please,” I told them.
They replied with those barely discernible grunts meant to infer that they indeed understood what I was saying.
After a long evening with Jon in Cincinnati, I was up early, as is my usual habit. I showered, dressed and sat in bed for a while waiting to wake my sleeping wife and kids.
This is one of those weeks or, rather, two-week stretches that we don’t have any time designation for, but you learn to dread them when you’re not in the midst of one of them.
My wife worked 10-days straight at a mismanaged Starbucks, and it left some scars.
The younger kids had a half day of school on Friday, and they made plans, but the oldest had school all day, so they had to cancel their plans, which made for a miserable dinner table conversation on Thursday.
There are nights where our robust family dinner-table discussions descend into a circus only Fellini could appreciate.
Lest you think we’re any more put together than you are.