Riding Uptown. Solo.

New York City, United States - May 12, 2012: Heavy traffic on busy 8th Avenue in Ney York City, USA in morning. Vast number of vehicles hit the streets and avenues of Manhattan every day. Almost half of cars are yellow taxis (well recognized city icon). Taxis are operated by private companies, licensed by the NYC Taxi Commission.

May 28th. Days short of June, yet solar heaters are blowing. 84° F, and steamy.

Sidewalks are teeming with tourists.

Mid afternoon Manhattan traffic is locked bumper to bumper, snaking up Sixth Avenue.

I skipped breakfast, had a meager lunch, and I’m longing for a sugar fix. Chocolate. Now.

Waze estimates 25  min to get uptown to the office.

My Thumbs are on the keyboard.

Should it be ‘Hi’ or ‘Hi!’?  I’m not feeling ‘Hi!’ I’m not a ‘Hi!’ type. I’m more like a “Hello” or a “Hi” guy. Or maybe it’s ‘hi’.  “hi’ makes me approachable, less prickly.  Yet, it’s hard to alter the brand, callus layered on callus. ‘Hi!’ would be inauthentic or soft, and both just won’t do. Dad’s the tough guy. There’s an image to uphold. A Brand to burnish.

DK: hi
RK: Hi!

Would have preferred ‘Hi Daddy!’ But ! is good. She’s happy to hear from me.

DK: I’ll be in your building in 30 min. I’ll buy you coffee.  Me, a warm chocolate chip cookie.
RK: Can’t Dad. I’m in the middle of something.

[Read more…]

A chasing after wind, indeed.

Paul-kalanithi

Paul Kalanithi, MD, was a Stanford neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with lung cancer in his mid-30s. Here’s an excerpt:

[…] Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described, hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed. […]

That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

~ Paul Kalanithi, Stanford University neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, died on March 9, 2015 at the age of 37

Don’t miss the entire article in the Washington Post: Before I Go: A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time


Thank you Elizabeth.

Cat’s Left the Cradle 2

hair-long-man

WEDNESDAY. 9:30 PM.
Medium: FaceTime.
600 miles away, Son sits in his dorm room.
(Technology. A Miracle)

Eric: Hi Dad.
Dad: Hi Eric.
Dad: When’s your interview?
Eric: Friday at 8 am.

Dad adjusts his grip on the iPad to get a better look at Son.

Eric: What are you doing?
Dad: Take your cap off.
Eric: Why?
Dad: Take it off.
Eric: Why? (Here he comes. Here he comes.)
Dad: I’m only going to ask you one more time. [Read more…]

TT*: “This is living,” he said, “huh, Charlie boy?”

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I watched the whole performance from a tiny table by the window. We’d done our business at the bank and now we each had big piece of chocolate layer cake, thick with icing. It was yellow cake. I don’t know how they got it yellow but they did and the yellow was beautiful against the warm brown frosting. We loved that chocolate cake. This was a good day, a really good day, and I knew what was coming next. My father stared for a long while out the window, at what, I don’t know, but I waited, waited for his famous phrase, sure it would come, and when his reverie broke and he returned to the bakery and our little table, he smiled at me, then looked down at his cake, and there it was, sure as rain.

“This is living,” he said, “huh, Charlie boy?”

~ Charles D’Ambrosio, This is Living. Loitering: New and Collected Essays


Notes: TT* = Throwback Thursday. Image: Add a Pinch

And your answer is?

matthew-burke

Lesley Stahl: I know a psychiatrist who says the most important question she asks somebody is, “When you were growing up, who loved you?” Do you have an answer?

Matthew Burke: That’s very difficult to answer– who loved me– because there’s different types of love.

Lesley Stahl: Uncondition. I mean–

Matthew Burke: Yeah, unconditional–

Lesley Stahl: That’s what I mean.

Matthew Burke: I’ve never– I’ve never experienced that.

Lesley Stahl: So you– you have no answer for that question.

Matthew Burke: I have no answer. To this day I have no answer to that.

~ Lesley Stahl, Alive and Kickin’, 60 Minutes


If you missed last night’s episode of 60 Minutes, you can find it here at CBS: Alive and Kickin’.  There are many great human interest stories in this segment but I was particularly moved by Matthew Burke’s story (which comes on at 11 min 45 sec of this video).  He was abandoned two and half weeks after birth in a hallway.  Mother and Father unknown.


No Trade.

beach-walk

They were walking up the shoreline, Brother and Sister now in their early 20’s. The waves were lapping at their feet, their feet disappearing in sea foam before the waves rolled back into the ocean.

I’m wading through Herzog’s book, now 60% of the way through. My headphones are piping in a Nils Frahm playlist from his album “Felt“. I set the book down to watch them.

Rachel is doing a handstand on the beach while Eric is taking photos. I can see them laughing as she tries it again. They are Friends. All those years of fighting, squabbling and picking on each other in the back seat of the car…All those corrections by Mom and Dad to keep it civil…look at them, they’ve become Friends.

Just as they pass below me, as if on cue, the late afternoon sun streams through the clouds. A warm breeze gusts. And two Pelicans skim the ocean, gliding along with the wind currents.

Herzog said that “Today I would give ten years of my life if I could play the cello with the same ease as breathing. The finest music has a quality of consolation you find nowhere else, with perhaps the exception of religion or being in contact with small children.” 

I glance down at the playlist to see the title of Frahm’s track. It is titled “Less.”

I paused to contemplate Frahm’s tune and Herzog’s words.

Frahm got it half right. “Felt” yes. “Less” no.

As to Werner, I Iove the Cello, but I wouldn’t trade a single moment.

Not one.


Driving I-95 S. The Circle of Life.

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The Departure.
The Frenzy.
The Packing.
The Awkwardness.
The Race to the Airport.
The Small Talk.
The Drop-off.
*
The Drive Back Home.
Stewing in Silence.
Lamott’s Drowning in Uncried Tears.
Smoke from Melancholia Filling the Cockpit.
An Amputee Rubbing his Stub – Where’s my Limb?
*
The Gap.
Tongue’s first day with his Missing Tooth.
Zeke Turning, Turning, Turning. Can’t find his spot. Lands Heavily, and Sighs.
First Thanksgiving Dinner with the Circle Broken. His Seat Sits Empty.
*
The Return.
“Who’s Picking Up Eric at JFK Airport?”
Everyone!


Notes: Image: Leniwi-ojcowie. Related Posts: Driving Series

Man and his Best Friend

funny-Inception-dog-Leo-DiCaprio-eyes

DK:
What kind of Dog snarls at the hand that feeds him? My hand. For no apparent reason?

RK:
Dad, you mean you haven’t noticed?

[DK: It’s the end of a long day. I lift my eyebrows, but don’t respond. Rachel assesses her Father’s reception and interprets the non-response as a green-light.]

RK:
Well, let me explain it to you.

RK:
You are both moody.
And wildly unpredictable.
You can go aggressive “at boo.”

RK:
You coming running at the sound of a fridge door opening.
You’ll eat anything.
You don’t share your food.
You wolf down your food without tasting it.
You slurp your soup.
You lick the bowl. And your plate.

[DK: I shift uncomfortably on the couch.]

[Read more…]

Riding MetroNorth. With a moment.

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The moment, this moment has been orbiting. Gently closing in, then dimming, and working itself softly back into consciousness.

Millions of thoughts slide in and out – – moments of significance, yet these seeds on the blooming dandelion blow away. This ordinary moment hangs on. Why?

She met me in the hallway in front of the elevators. We were both finishing our day. She looked fresher, wearing a blue skirt and jacket, standing with a colleague – offering up a “Hey, Dad.”

It’s early evening in Midtown. The humidity, stifling. Crowds are milling around the theatre ticket booths. Father and Daughter are out of the building looking to catch the 6:49.

We reach a “Don’t Walk” and I point down to 47th. She tugs at my suit jacket.

“Dad, I’ve timed it. It’s not faster to zig-zag. Just wait. Take it straight down. It’s faster.”

She’s timed it. It’s faster. [Read more…]

The quiet irreplaceable and companionable presence of a daughter

father-daughter-beach-walk
Joy is a meeting place, of deep intentionality and of self forgetting, the bodily alchemy of what lies inside us in communion with what formally seemed outside, but is now neither, but become a living frontier, a voice speaking between us and the world: dance, laughter, affection, skin touching skin, singing in the car, music in the kitchen, the quiet irreplaceable and companionable presence of a daughter: the sheer intoxicating beauty of the world inhabited as an edge between what we previously thought was us and what we thought was other than us.

~ David Whyte


Notes:

  • For Rachel, on your Birthday today.
  • Sources: Poem/Quote – Thank you Makebelieveboutique.com. Photograph: dpf.peterFather & daughter walk along beachTofino, BC, Canada — Image by © Henry Georgi/Wave/Corbis