Wednesday, May 05, 2010


A young man is playing Duke Ellington on a bass downstairs right now. The room is crowded. My condo neighbors are there, but so are others: his friends, his mom, dad, sister.

I can’t help but stare at the family. Last time I saw this talented musician, he was running around a living room in pajamas with his sister. It was early afternoon. His mom shrugged: he likes his pajamas best, what can I say...

That was more than a dozen years ago. My girls were taking voice lessons from his mom. She was juggling parenting and music. We were all on paths then, but now life has pushed us forward. And their son is playing bass and he’s not in pajamas anymore.

Earlier, as the winds howled (of course), I pushed a lawnmower around tree trunks at Ed’s farmette. I felt I owed it to him. We are both rushing with our respective projects today, yet he took time out this morning to accompany me while I shopped for a good deal in eye glasses. [It was a discouraging expedition – we started with the cheapest (Sam’s Club) and worked our way to LensCrafters and I cannot tell you how many calls we made in between, only to find that the very expensive LensCrafters actually did offer a wonderful lens. The question became this: how much are you willing to spend for perfect vision? Academics tend to spend whatever it takes.]

As I pushed the mower, I thought back to when I last filled my lungs with the fumes of mower gas, mixed with the fresh smell of cut grass. I have to say, I was quite nostalgic working that mower, and it almost didn’t matter that I hit many rocks and created numerous blisters on my hands.

The day was brilliant. At the farmhouse, I finished work on the exams and I thought – life is good, especially if you can see through your glasses and the sun stays warm on your back as you bike home.