Some Rosemary Advice About Thyme and Life

Did you like the title? Thought this was going to be about food again, didn’t you? It’s not. It’s just some ponderings, doodles if you will, about not much of anything. And everything.

At some point in my life, and not that long ago, I became old. We used to joke when I was in my early thirties that it was the perfect age to be, just on the far side of the thirtieth trip around the sun. You were old enough to be somewhat mysterious, if the girl were young enough, youthful enough to date that same girl and hopefully still mobile enough in life to move if the relationship soured too fast.

The rest of my thirties changed all that. Despite all the predictions to the contrary, I did get married. I would like to think there was a collective moment of silence amongst all the available single girls at that moment, a second of recognition that I was no longer available, so to speak. I know there was no such moment, that, if anything, all the single women either breathed a sigh of relief or, if told, wore a collective group of puzzled looks, followed by a single question: “Who?”

Most men have that fantasy. At least once. Most of us don’t hang on to an altered scope of reality, as life takes us by the ass and fast forwards from the moment we get down on one knee with a small, inordinately expensive stone meant to be worn on a single finger offered as a token of our undying love and an everlasting symbol of fidelity.

The geologist in me gasped in horror when I purchased the ring that my wife now still wears, ten years later. Well versed in the Bowen’s Reaction Series, I could not believe, and still have trouble accepting, that I had spent that much money on one of the least stable naturally occurring minerals, if you call it such, on the planet. The knowledge that it would still last a few million years, give or take, a mere hiccup in geologic time, helped. Some.

But time does pass, quickly, and the diamond? Well, it was large enough to cause envy, yet small enough to be almost ergonomic. Not too ergonomic though. I had no illusions: There was going to be times when I would not be with my wife, and I wanted to make sure that the symbol of my love, my stamp, my claim on this women, would be prominent and unmistakable for what it was. I did not want any other chest thumping, potentially aggressive competitive male apes to look upon this modern equivalent to a brand and think: “I could buy that with card money!”

In the decade or so, give or take some time, that I have spent living up to what I thought were my wife’s expectations (vague and impossible), and then living up to what I thought were her parents’ expectations (more clearly defined, but still impossible), I have realized a few things. One, her expectations of me are vastly less complicated than I thought. Once I removed all the trappings of my own ego from my opinion of what might be what she expected from me, my life became much simpler. What had once been an overwhelmingly impossible feat of strength became more of a leisurely, and far more enjoyable, vacation in Bali, if you can follow my attempts at metaphor.

In line with this style of thinking, my life went from, say, a jaunt behind enemy lines with a bucket of water in an attempt to douse hell, to a walk on the beach at sunset. I finally have begun to realize a number of things about life, and I will, in the style of one who has a right to say what he thinks, attempt to share a few of them with you, in no particular order. Forgive me ladies, as this is meant to be for the male reader, although I think you will find my attempt at sage advice to be amusing.

  • Don’t worry about your wife becoming old fat, and uninteresting. You will get there much faster than she will.
  • Don’t beat yourself up too terribly much about being old, fat and uninteresting. You can lose weight, and read more. There’s nothing you can do about getting old.
  • If you need it, there is Viagra. Chances are, you won’t need it.
  • Marry for love. Don’t look for the perfect match, mate or sugar momma. If you are madly in love with her, or him, that’s enough.
  • Stop looking around to see if anyone is interested in sleeping with you. Chances are, someone is. Chances are, it won’t be worth it.
  • If you are going to drink to excess, start early in the morning. You’ll only ruin one day, instead of two.
  • Never go into a bar to solve a problem. No problems are ever solved in a bar.
  • That intern at work? The one with the amazing ass, who seems to just always need your help and is always willing to “stay late if you need her?” Be flattered, and go home. It’s a phase. She’ll get over it, move on, forget about it and have a life. You’ll get divorced, lose your kids, never get over it, never more on and end up alone. Without a life.
  • There is nothing more satisfying than being old enough to call someone who isn’t, “Son.”
  • Don’t buy the red convertible.
  • If you are working too much to spend time with your kids, stop working so goddamn much. What are you trying to prove, anyway? Do you really think going to college is going to replace early bonding time? Or a trip to a train museum?
  • Fuck work anyway.
  • Speaking of work, do what you love. The money may not come. But, you’ll be happy. Your wife, if you chose well, will be too.
  • You get old and then you die. Sometimes you don’t get to be old, and you die anyway. See the “Fuck work” and “Do what you love” comments above for qualification.
  • Love your wife all the time. If you get the urge to call her a bitch behind her back, kiss her instead. She knows that you are thinking she’s a bitch. Chances are, she’s not thinking much of you at the moment either. The kiss will save the day and just might get you laid.
  •  Sex gets better. You didn’t think that, did you?
  • Stop thinking about tomorrow so much. Think about today, right now!
  • Stop thinking about what you are going to leave behind, your manifestation of destiny, your mark on the world. Where are your wife and kids right now? Why the hell are you still reading this? Why the fuck am I still sitting here wri

Don’t Blink.

The white dashes become a solid blur. I hear nothing. With my helmet thrumming on the gas tank in time to the rousing chorus of four pistons howling, screaming to redline, sensory deprivation is complete. There is nothing else. Nothing else matters.

The brake markers appear too soon, flashing by on my right as I mentally prepare for the turn. Or do I? I certainly don’t remember ever preparing for a turn, mentally or otherwise. There is a brief moment of wonder as I begin to count the markers down, subconsciously. There is the sudden traffic to my left, at a standstill compared to the speed I and a few others are carrying into this decreasing apex right corkscrew of a turn.

I wonder at my speed. How fast, I think? 200 mph? Faster? Slower? It doesn’t matter, not at all. What matters at this moment is the bluffing game happening at the speed of thought in front of me. The slower, more novice riders are bailing, afraid or unable to maintain the speed required to pin the turn. No faith. Fearful.

This memory staggers me as I struggle to wake up. Two years into this battle with this disease and I feel the toll. Not very often, but more than before. My body won’t respond. My brain is screaming at me to just get up. I can hear my wife preparing breakfast and my two year old son repeating his morning demand for his daddy. “Daddy, daddy, daddy.” Over and over and over.

My arms begin to work, my brain takes over my body and I swing my feet to the floor. More or less upright, the next step now is to clear my head, get some feeling back in my extremities and rise. Sometimes this is immediate, requiring no thought. Sometimes, it takes a lot of thought.

The apex of the turn approaches, now right in my face. Right there. There is no escaping this. No wishing it away. This moment arrives as surely as breathing, as inevitable as death. Brake or die. Brake too soon and lose. If I flinch for only an instant, other riders will dive beneath me and take the apex. In the straightaway to follow, I will certainly lose my place with the front-runners. If I flinch.

If I don’t? Provided my tired motorcycle, in dire need of an engine rebuild and better tires holds up down the stretch, I will surely place second. Maybe third. I know better than to hope for first. The leader is a master. A true enigma. Only a devastating engine failure could harm his lead. At 200 mph, one second covers a lot of ground. Two thousand, nine hundred feet, give or take a foot or three. That’s a lot of linear earth to travel in one second.

My helmet thrums harder and I get ready for the inevitable reactions that will happen in the next few milliseconds. I have a choice. I can continue, throttle pinned, straight into the wall. Or, I can sit up straight, downshift three times as I grab the front brake lever with three fingers, maxing rpm’s for each shift, feathering the rear brake to avoid spinning out into the apex of the following sweeper, using my torso as a parachute of sorts, and stay in the race. The decision is inevitable.

I get to my feet, waiting for the vortex to stop spinning, and make my way across the bedroom into the bathroom, still stumbling a bit, pins and needles erupting all over my body as toxins begin to descend from healing muscle tissue, intestinal walls, and abdominal fluids into my circulatory system and finally mainlining into my brain stem. I wait for the cruel emotionless slap of memory loss, only a few seconds in duration, with my hand flat on the sink, my toothbrush, forgotten for the moment, drowning and softening in warm, then hot water. It passes. I’m upright. Ready for another day.

Twelve years earlier, with adrenaline slamming through my veins, I forgot the wall and pinned it all on a victory. Tired motor straining, I sat up straight and dove for the apex of the turn, picking off two more riders on my way to third place. There were no fiery crashes or moments of glory. Just me, on a worn open class race bike, with my thirtieth birthday around the corner, accepting that I was not quite good enough to beat the big dogs.

I did run with them though. As breakfast smells fill up the house and I face the small whirlwind of affection and temper of a not-quite-three little boy who looks like his Mom and acts like me, I realize that was enough. More than enough.

I’m blessed with another day.

Monsters In The Night

Thunder boomed, hard. I was half awake, my head propped on several pillows, drowsily cursing the doctors for their curiosity on my behalf. How many more nights, I wonder? I’ve gained 18 pounds since Thursday morning. It’s Saturday night. My appetite, forced anyway, has departed. Depression shoves its ugly way into my semi-waking state. I fight it, drug free, but sleep does open the door, allow a crack of unguarded real estate vulnerable to dreams and intruding thoughts. The past swallows me alive. I remember.

Thunder boomed, hard. I barely knew her name, this slight girl in pursuit of me, hell bent on interference. She angered me. Traffic roared on either side as I gauged the open spaces, mentally preparing for a moment in time, an instant, a fraction of separation in chaos that would allow me to dash across four lanes of late night traffic. The city seemed alive, monstrous, a devil, a demon and fiend; a gaping, slashed hole into the inferno, a place where monsters slightly slumbered. I felt the pull.

Lightening leaped across the sky, forked and menacing. Rain was nowhere, just this infernal heat and smog and light pollution and the pounding music from small holes in space where the lost sought what they did not have, what they could not understand, what they missed. The chasm of their souls.

The girl grabbed my arm. I frowned, annoyed once again. I shook of her hand. Intoxicated, she swayed in the menacing, drenching glow of streetlights buried in late night/early morning pollution. Exhaust fumes sickened me. The smell of burned grease, perfume, crack, meth, pot, cigarettes, booze, and sex – it was redolent. I needed space.

I fixated on one star. Only one. I sought that perfect wink of promise, of morning as I pondered my next move. I was leaving. My old green bag, so faithful, was packed. My cash was once again sewed into the bottom, safe. My bowie knife had been stowed inside, along with some essentials: A toothbrush. My passport and ID. An extra pair of shorts. A linen shirt. One pair of pants. A belt. Raincoat, tied to the outside. Duct tape, wrapped around a water bottle. Aspirin, antibiotics, bandages. Little else.

I couldn’t just leave her here. Predators loomed and scurried in the dark, menacing and overlooked in their shadow of evil. The girl swayed. I took her hand. It was clammy, cold. Desperate. She looked at me, naked in that moment, stripped of her guard, her love for me evident and obvious.

She was crying.

Thunder boomed, hard. My son cried out in his sleep and I was padding up the steps before truly awake. My footsteps, aided by adrenaline born from the ancient instinct to protect your own, were as silent as down before the breeze. I marveled for one moment at my instinctive ability to move so silently in the night, when I chose. A gift, perhaps, from my mother.

My monsters still loomed omnipresent as I entered my firstborn’s room. He was sitting in his bed, his small head, framed by blond curls, cocked slightly as he observed nature’s fury through his window. I ran my hand through his hair and down his back. Comforting.

He grinned at me in the dark. “Blanket, Daddy.” I soothed. “Yes, son, you have your blanket. Don’t be scared.” He looked at me, wide eyed and so full of questions. An unfathomable curiosity ranged in his hazel eyes, more expressive than most. “No, Daddy. Blanket.” I looked to where he was pointing. His blanket had fallen out of his crib. I picked it up, still warm from his embrace. He grabbed it delightedly.

He turned it in his hands, looking for something that I could not see, that perfect place of contentment, something that reminded him of the womb, perhaps. His mother’s heartbeat, as he lay safe and warm, listening to the love surrounding him, inundated by care and peace.

He settled back into his covers and closed his eyes. He smiled once more, then, just like that, fell asleep. One brave little boy in a thunderstorm. He knew no monsters. They had no bearing on his life.

Thunder boomed. I sat in my chair, watching my son sleep. I cried. I don’t know why.

surfing

The cook ducked out of his hut, avoiding the overhanging palm beam that had threatened to brain him since his first day in the village. He walked the stone path with the easy nonchalance of one accustomed to his surroundings, slightly bored, but still alert. He carried his two knives and a steel wrapped in an old dingy apron, once white and shiny, now dulled and frayed, but still clean. The threads of the ties were nearly gone and had been replaced with a length of climbing cord, tied in a simple square knot.

His first day off in 24 days had begun two evenings ago at around nine. He had fled the kitchen and its grinning cooks with a passion born of travel and study, studying the surf, which had been pounding since his arrival, until night stole the light from the sky and stars winked overhead, unshrouded by light pollution, as they had for a millennia. He left his perch on the short rock outcrop for the village bar, in search of a score.

He had arrived in the village from points north, broke and injured, a nasty cut along his rib cage from an attempted mugging. The rusty knife had chattered along his rib cage as the assailant tried to rip his pack from his back. The point failed to find its mark between his ribs just over his liver. He had managed to get in one hard, lucky punch and a kick to his assailant’s groin before beating a hasty retreat to the nearest bus stop, where he had dressed his wound as best he could with bandages pulled from his dwindling first aid kit. The bus ride over seemingly impassable roads, rutted heavily and drowning in spring rains, had done little to allow his cut to heal, unaided as it was by the lack of stitches.

The doctor had grinned at him, then mercilessly sewed up his cut unaided by much in the way of painkillers. The further south he went, the more macabre the doctors. The sky had been an impossible pink that evening, and a loud native band thrashed and abused a damaged guitar and drum set in a ramshackle bar filled to the brim with grinning Nicos.

He had awakened the following morning in a strange bed, at daylight, as was his habit. A soft, gentle breathing and the smell of clean hair alerted him to her presence. She opened her eyes sleepily as surf pounded on the beach, only a few hundred yards away. Her fingertips traced a path along his back as he stretched out some of the kinks and cleared his fuzzy head.

The wave was amazing. He surfed all day, coming in only to guzzle water and munch on goat tamales.

The restaurant had hired him the next day. Twenty-four days ago.

Now he made his way back to the kitchen, mentally dreading the moment he would arrive to the bedlam of corruption he had survived for nearly a month. The surf the day before, his day off, had been flat. For twenty-four days, he’d listened to the blue-green water pound the sand-covered basaltic outcropping that thrust up the water into a ridable wave, pearling along its lip and dropping its secrets, born thousands of miles away in the Pacific.

His one day off. The ocean had turned into an empty space, devoid of movement, the surf gone as if it had never existed.

Now, it was booming again. Judging from the shouts and crows of accomplishment, it was really cranking. His depression, imagined only a few moments before, blossomed into its own malignancy. The stones under his feet, worn by an untold millennia of tumbling about in the ocean, thousands of miles from their Andesite depositional environment, seemed far away, just out of reach of his lurching feet.

The kitchen door burst open and a Honduran cook threw a pan of scalding water, festooned with shellfish parts and pungent bones from the stew the night before into the morning earth. The green, ripe, pregnant smell of the rain forest was contaminated with the scent. The cook squinted at him in the early morning hazy sunlight. His teeth were set at crazy angles, rendering him threatening even when smiling. Which he rarely did.

They pass with barely a word. The kitchen door slams behind him as he ties on his apron, Chaco sandals on his feet, barely clad against the onslaught of heat. He hones his knives and sets about re-positioning his mise en place, glancing quickly at the work list to gather the ingredients necessary to placate a group of eco-tourists, vegans all. He simmers a haunch of goat in a huge cast iron pot, marveling once again and the enormity of the thing, the sheer weight of it. It took three of them to clean it properly, which they rarely did. Rust flakes mix with the fat and detritus of the barely cleaned goat, the base for the vegetarian soup to be served later to the unsuspecting white people in overpriced shoes and weather proof shell jackets, their glasses fogged over with humidity.

Eighteen days later, he stands once again by the beach, his pintail surfboard thrust into the sand beside him. How he has managed to hang onto that board is beyond him. His depression is worsening, born on the walk to the kitchen. The surf is once again flat. The girl, a brief repository of feeling, has moved on, holding one of the billionaire eco-investors hostage with her smooth skin, full breasts and grinding hips.

He tucks his board under his arm and grabs his bag, his constant companion of so many years. His knife roll, tied tightly to deter thieves, is barely visible and he subconsciously tucks it away. The tools of his trade. He melts into the tree line, his swarthy skin and silent tread causing one to look twice, if you noticed at all. His breeding showed.

He never liked this village anyway.

“Little old man.” Isn’t that such a derogatory term? But we use it so much, too describe those members of the greatest generation, the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, who island hopped through the Pacific Ocean in the single greatest military operation still known to man in recorded history. They fought wars, went to the moon, married, divorced, loved and lived, just like we do today, but they are different, aren’t they? They still proudly wear their ball caps, stiff and unbroken, perched high on their wizened skulls, emblazoned with the heirlooms of their forgotten stations. Fighter pilots, solid state rocket fuel engineers, Frogmen, the Marines, the Shipmen, the Seabees, the Airborne – men who were proud of what they did, who embraced their past brutality as something that had to be done in the name of war and freedom. The highest number of fatalities ever suffered in military campaigns were absorbed by these men, who fought on every continent, from the sands and screeching heat of the tank battles in Africa, to the killing fields of France, to the mosquito-laden hell of the South Pacific, they were there. These same men ignored the consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress, motoring on in their new lives, living sixty, seventy, eighty years past the traumas of their youth.

Now, they are the little old men. One such man, named Dave, collapsed this morning in a little diner that I like to frequent for breakfast. It’s a throwback, an unapologetic place that serves dishes such as two eggs, meat, potatoes and toast. With coffee. Or two pancakes, with meat. Or just meat. Or oatmeal. I like it. It’s real. The staff know you by name. I have a bottle of hot sauce there with my name written on it. You meet men named Bob, Bill, George, Chris, Stevenson and, in this case, Dave. Dave struggled to his feet and breathed carefully through is mouth and nose, alternating breaths. I could tell it was something he had done before.

The staff were courteous, leaving his pride intact while offering him an arm to help him outside into the still cool morning air, where he rested briefly on a bench. The waitress didn’t say much. She just patted his arm with an absent tenderness that bespoke of experience with such things, and of love and understanding for the people around her. Inside, I watched from my bar stool, pinned and silent with respect for the scene unfolding in front of me. The customers carried on about their business, but remained attuned to the man outside, resting his weary soul, lonely in his final years, with the silent young woman by his side, providing what comfort she may.

One by one, the customers filed out, many, I noticed, without paying. I was in that latter group, I’m afraid. I was so close to tears, and so moved by the respect and homage paid to this man of stature that I had nothing to say. They patted Dave on the arm, spoke briefly to him, but did not offer pity. Instead, they showed him respect. When he indicated that he wanted to return to his truck so he could go home, no one resisted. No one suggested they should call 911, or the police, or his family, or drive him themselves. Instead, the waitress, who, in my mind, was now an angel, assisted him to his feet, and waved goodbye as he shuffled to his car.

I was now torn, tears welling in my eyes. Only a few days before, I had wallowed in self-pity over my own weakness, brought about by what many doctors predict will end my days here on this earth, that illness that I have fought for two years now, tooth and nail. But some days, I despair.

Watching this mighty man, still standing straight despite the years gone, the memories faded, the visages of battlefields and arenas of war rounding through the twilight of his final trips around the sun, I feel lost, and loathing. Not for this hero, who swings into the cab of his truck with an unsteady hand, but for myself. For all of those like me, who dare look up at the spring sunshine, the summer storms, the winters cold frost, and complain. Who am I, to question my days here in this realm? Who am I, to be in despair for a potential shortening of my time here, when in fact there is so much to enjoy, every single day?

A little old man. If only I could be just such a person. To fade into the afterlife with my pride and memories and without shame – that is all anyone could wish for. Is that not enough?

Chacos. Right Now.

I bought my first pair of Chaco Sandals in May of 1997. A seemingly meaningless purchase, it nevertheless had outstanding repercussions for the rest of my life.

Until that particular moment in time, which occurred while I was standing in Back Country Outfitters in Blacksburg, VA, my wardrobe had been noticeably dated. Sort of like the 1980’s met with K-Mart at a Holiness Tent Revival and bought some clothes. Serviceable enough for hard labor, jeans mixed with the appropriate flannel or t-shirt for everyday wear, jeans with white shirts for church. There was also the requisite Carharrts for the work I did; coal mining, heavy construction, farming, cooking, and all the brutal exercise associated with those tasks.

Interesting enough, the clothes I purchased for work were the most expensive items in my closet, or more accurately, on the floor of my closet and some would argue the most stylish. There was also the omnipresent pair of camo shorts, rarely worn except to class along with white socks and tennis shoes. Or work boots. I was hopelessly unaware of fashion trends or anything even remotely related to such a thing.

That unseasonably hot, sticky May morning in the top floor of a gear shop was the beginning of a change in my life. I had long been chaffing at the predictability of my future, realizing with an ever-increasing sense of dread that my entire life was unfolding before my eyes, a path, well-trodden by my family and all those others in the small area of the Coalfields of Virginia. I was married, too young. I was graduating from college, too late. I was only a few years older than my peers at Virginia Tech, but I felt ancient and out of place in the classrooms and laboratories where we shared assignments and peered at minerals through microscopes and broke rocks with shiny new hammers purchased from the bookstore. My hammer was worn, rusted, beaten and well used. The grip on the handle was nicked and slick with use. The pointed end was already worn away noticeably by the thousands of rocks I pulled from the top thousands of feet underground, sweating and gasping in the summer, freezing in the winter.

My clothes reflected who I was. I meant to change that. I was uncertain in the store, wondering which shoe to buy and not wanting anyone to know, those suddenly hip workers with their dreads and stinking gear and bare, calloused feet clad in their cool sandals. I felt hulking and hot amongst them, burdened by my jeans, pressed and suitable for church, tennis shoes and long-sleeved lightly starched white shirt with a button down collar. L.L. Bean. A gift from my very soon to be ex-wife.

Subconsciously, I was gearing up for a total shakedown of my life. I had liquidated every asset that I could for cash. I was surprisingly cash rich for a guy not quite graduated from college who was from one of the poorest places in the U.S. I had scrapped, worked, and saved since I was a kid. I picked and sold berries and jam, chased down honeybees through the mountains to rob their hives, fished for catfish which some would still eat, pulled from the still depths of the dying river, stiff with disease and ruined by heavy metal and acid mine runoff. I split wood and fence rails, mowed yards, dug ditches, sold hay, collected metal, worked for my family in their cinder block factory and mining operations.

I swept and cleaned my school after hours, hoarding every dollar I could. I had bought a small parcel of land soon after marrying, a purchase that I made reluctantly, under the advisement of a zealous father-in-law who insisted that I live with his daughter next to his farm. For the rest of my life.

My new Chacos stayed in their box for a few weeks. Maybe even a couple of months. The mining company I worked for rewarded my efforts in obtaining a B.S. in Geology with a huge raise and more responsibility, more hours, more work. My wife set about the business of spending everything she possibly could of my new paycheck. I discovered just how much a redneck girl could spend at Walmart. The answer: All of it.

We somehow ended up with a singlewide house trailer on the back 40 of her daddies’ farm. I worked increasingly insane hours, desperate to save up enough to escape from this prison I was somehow incarcerated in. The money vanished as quickly as I made it.

I still had my stash of money, well hidden in my little sisters bedroom. She is many things as an adult, but then, we were very close. She would have not given up any information on me under the threat of death. All my secrets were safe with her. Her learning disabilities, which troubled most, bothered me not at all and never interfered with our relationship.

So it was that I showed up on my parents back porch one day. They were moving, had sold the family farm. The place had belonged to the Matney’s since way back. My father, under orders from God, sold his birthright to move his beleaguered family to a small shack a mountain or so over. I was wearing my Chacos and my camo shorts. My canoe was on top of my truck, along with a bag of clothing, gear, workbelt, boots, work clothes, and supplies. My sister retrieved the box, stony faced in her shock. She had never shared a bedroom in her life. Now she was to be lumped into a small room with her two baby sisters, a prospect that had her terrified. I took the box and counted out her take. She shook her head no, quickly, and hard. I saw the last of the fight go out of her blue eyes as she prepared herself for the life I was fleeing at that very moment.

Twenty years later, I just bought my third pair of Chacos. They are amazingly tough shoes. I unwrapped the box from Zappos and breathed in the good smell of new rubber and non-slip soles with their network of confusing straps that ensure the shoe stays on your foot, no matter what. I did a bit of a happy dance. My life has changed yet again, as my wife and companion of ten years and our new son journey with me into the uncertain future. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and we have learned to make five year plans with no small amount of humor.

We are not rich. My penchant for making money seems to have evaporated over the years, along with my old wardrobes, relationships and ties to my childhood. I say good riddance. As I discovered long ago, with the box of cash under my arm and no plan beyond the next day, life is too short to become entrapped. Live for the now. Right now.

With Chacos strapped to your feet.