I have trouble sometimes envisioning myself making a living out here. But I used to. I did it for many years. Lived out of my suitcase. Washed my duds and my diesel fume saturated body in truck stops from coast to coast. 1800 miles of driving over the last week brought it all back to me. I have mixed feelings about the memory.
Maybe it is the 20 plus years of being glued to one place or the road has indeed become a crazier and more hazardous place. My recent trip to Chapel Hill made me ask myself about my truck driving experience, "What the Hell were you thinking about when you decided to punish yourself like this?"
I-95 has always been a crowded and confusing combination of irate drivers, whacked interchanges and non stop construction. If I breeze through New York and New Jersey, DC and Baltimore will piss me off. If for some reason, I skate through them, then Virginia will find some angle to make my trip memorable. And then there is North Carolina. It tosses in some very interesting twists on a regular basis. I never make it the 900 miles to North Carolina without some good excuse to vent my spleen and practice my expletives deleted's.
Bobbi and I just returned from North Carolina and one more graduation ceremony. Lis now has her Master's in Athletic Training and is already busy chasing down job interviews with any college who shows interest. To say I am the proud Dad would be an understatement. She has fulfilled any and all hopes I could have come up with for her. Well, with the exception of one. Now I want her to lighten up and find some fun. Lay around in the Sun. Take a trip to someplace exotic or new. Just let loose for a change.
She inherited many of my traits, but the ability to kick back and lounge was not one of them. She takes after her mother. Everything must be covered, accounted for, and dealt with before she can relax. This is probably a positive trait, but sometimes I wonder. I mean, being of the mind that things always work themselves out with or without my messing with them, I often just let them find their own flow and fit myself in and around them. Go with the flow. One of the irritating habits of mine that my wife has not been able to completely erradicate from my character.
The weekend in Chapel Hill went well. The gods were kind and decided rain and cool weather were just what was needed for the outdoor graduation of 5000 or so Carolina Blue clad undergrads. I say the gods were kind because the rain cut the ceremony(the torture) by at least a couple of hours. The head Tarheel got up and said a very few words. Basically it went like this.
"Thanks for coming. We already handed out the honorary degrees to some nice folks who deserved them and you undergrads are now officially anointed and can now consider your obligations fulfilled. See Ya."
Thinking I had lucked out big time, I left the stadium in the rain happy as if I had a brain. All that was left was a EXSS department ceremony for the students graduating along with Lis and the rest of the Grad students. It was to be held inside some gym some where.
They provided us with chairs meant for the butts of 5 year olds and then I watched as hundreds of Carolina Blue clad graduates filed in and sat down. Uh Oh. Now the torture really began. Besides the obligatory speeches by the department head, his cohorts in charge, the second and third bananas, the janitors, and some bum they grabbed off the street, each one of the hundreds of undergrads were called by name to walk up and receive a handshake, a pose for a picture and a decreasingly enthusisatic handclap from a ever increasing uncomfortable crowd of big butted parents. 2 hours plus on those chairs was true pain.
Don't get me wrong. I loved my trip to Chapel Hill. Anytime I can watch my daughter receive awards for being who she is is always a pleasure. I gladly sat through it all, drove through it all, and dealt with it all for the few moments of pride that came into my heart and made it swell.