Monday, December 30, 2019

From The Road

With our son in the back seat, we headed south. We had made this trip enough times to know it by heart. The past few voyages down the coast had been in the service of getting our boy to work on time. A four hour commute was necessary because of the lack of functioning wheels on his end. He was in the middle swapping engines from a car he did not love to one with which he had grown up. It was a much more involved exchange than the YouTube videos had led him to believe.
What this meant to our holidays was that if we wanted to be together, we would have to make some sacrifices.
He rode the train up, and we drove him back down, allowing maximum time as a family. And plenty of time on the road. We listened to each other and to the music and podcasts we could share. 
But two days after Christmas we were also trying to nurse the boy through a miserable cold. On this leg he nestled into the back seat and we kept offering tea and sympathy. In some other families, this could have been a chance to extend the vacation. Not for our child. He was going to work his full shift even if it killed him.
It was our fervent wish that this would not be the case, but we were as committed as he was. We raised him that way after all. His bosses were pleased with his work ethic as well. I had been the one who limped, hacked, wheezed or sniffled his way to work on more occasions than I cared to describe. I had set the bar for missing work at kidney stone and therefore I could only imagine what odd standard I had impressed on my son.
Actually, I didn't have to imagine. I was seeing it played out in front of me. No plaintive emails. No calls from the road. No note form his parents excusing him from the day. He was determined and honor bound to make his appearance. 
So we got up early and headed out on the highway. We remembered all those road trips we made to the bottom of the state. The anticipation then was very different. We knew what awaited us. This was different. We were headed to the inevitable. Not to Disneyland, but back to the  mall where he would survive to sell another big screen TV or two. Realistically, we understood that he was not courting death in this version, but rather a continuation of the reputation that preceded him. Bravo to him and his parents who carried him there. 

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