As a kid, I was never a morning person. I have vague memories of my mother dragging my bodily out of bed and dumping me onto the floor to get me to go to school in the morning. And that wasn’t about an aversion to school – I’d also need to be dragged out of bed on Christmas morning. (I mean, it wasn’t like the presents were going anywhere.) But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more enamored of getting an early start. There’s just so much that I want to do, and my focus wears down as the day progresses, creating diminishing returns time-wise as it gets later. Of course, this naturally has developed as I’ve now entered a profession that often has me working nights, where getting home from work past midnight is not unusual.
And that’s how I’ve become the person who is going “I’m between jobs and don’t have to go to work? Score! I’m going to get up at 6:00am and nobody can stop me!!”
It certainly was an asset these past couple of days, which have been a minor whirlwind without really feeling like one, thanks to always having ample time to get things done. On Saturday, we closed the show that I’d been running for the past few weeks, and I left Pennsylvania early Sunday morning. It was important that I was back at my apartment before noon, you see, because I had a high-priority event that afternoon. Namely, I had a ticket to a Caribbean dance party cruise on the East River, and wasn’t nothing going to keep me from that serious business.
(I have concluded that all clubbing should take place on a multi-level boat with an open top deck sailing around the Statue of Liberty on a beautiful summer afternoon.)
And then I was up this morning early enough to squeeze in one run in Fort Tryon Park before, just barely more than twenty-four hours after getting back to my apartment, heading down to Penn Station to hop on an upstate-bound Amtrak to visit family.
There has been a slightly surreal quality to the past couple days. One month is enough time to start to get a bit lived-in at a place, particularly in a small town. I’m generally too antisocial to become a “regular” anywhere, but on my last day in New Hope, the front desk at the gym greeted me by name. (Obnoxious or the most obnoxious of me?) And then just like that, away I go, and while I hope that I made a good enough impression to be hired back, there’s a non-zero chance that I may never return to that place again.
New Hope did hold one last mystery for me. Back when I first arrived, I was so struck by the perplexing statue of a beast of unknown identity that I included a photo of it within my rant about the overall bemusing nature of the town that was to be my temporary home. When I was running along the Delaware Canal towpath weeks later, I took the opportunity to have a closer look at the thing. While I doubt that what I saw will shock you, it certainly shocked me.
I still don’t have a clue what the hell that creature is supposed to be, but apparently its name is Boomer.
Which just so happens to have been my late father’s nickname.
Reading the statue’s placard, I flashed back to my freshman year of undergrad. Our windows featured a sort of decorative balcony – far too small to actually accommodate a person but well beyond what would be necessary for a simple window grate. At some point, some months into the school year, something drove me to actually stick my head out the window and peer around.
Wedged in between the metal bars was a small plush NY Giants football.
The NY Giants, which just so happen to have been my father’s favorite team. The one for which was trained to yell “Go, Giants!” before I understood how to tie my shoes, let alone football.
For that one, the cut was deeper and fresher – the last time that I’d seen my father had been about a year prior, when he had dropped me off at school with the check for my application fee for the only college to which I’d end up applying, as him dying ended up being a bit of a distraction from the admissions rat race.
It’s so easy to see the signs.
It’s so easy to want to see the signs.
The instances of apparent significance stand out… but those are really just an absolutely minuscule number of instances compared to all of the other moments when some symbolic gesture failed to appear. Cherry-picking the notable incidents can create a confirmation bias where surely it must mean something for these items of personal meaning to appear. However, with all of the objects that one encounters in all of the moments, probability would logically lead one to eventually end up with something of “meaning.”
And yet… why not construct narratives from the objects and incidents that our lives encounter? Aren’t our lives themselves merely stories?
I’m reminded of the tarot readings given by a friend of mine. (She offers them through her Etsy site.) I’d never really understood tarot and how people would say things like that the cards were talking or that they liked to use different decks. But she explained to me how her approach to tarot is one of storytelling, where the cards provide the plot points to a story that is then fit to the life of the person receiving the reading and different decks have different narrative voices.
So in the end, does it mean anything that the giant pointy-tailed hellbeast guarding the entrance to the town shared my father’s nickname? Well, it meant something that it struck me. It meant something that it made me think of him. It meant something to be reminded that one of the reasons that the gym knew me by name after a few weeks was that he died of his third heart attack, likely due to the strain on his body caused by climbing the stairs to his new apartment, and the controllable factors of health are never very far from my mind.
And now it’s the end of the day. I’m back in my childhood bedroom. It feels a little like I’ve never left, which is maybe a little bit true.
Except that there’s still so much to do. And I can’t wait to get up and do as much of it as I can.