Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Second Guessing, Parenthood

     Journeys down Memory Lane are full of speed bumps, curves, detours and bridges but it's cool to look back and see how even perceived forks in the road were still part of the same main path.   On my road, I see how the billboards and road signs were clearly there but I must have been speeding by too fast to read them or too busy looking for my exit.

     No.  I am not second-guessing parenthood.   With three children in school (most days), one of them being home sick today, it's a little too late to wonder if we're up for the job!   I'm thinking of R.E.M.'s song, Second Guessing.  If you're going to take a drive down Memory Lane, it's a good one for your road-trip playlist!  I loved the song back in high school.  I didn't own the album but had great memories of listening to it in friends' cars.  I said as much to a guy on our first (second) date.  I've mentioned both the date and the song here, before.  Our very first date was a lunch date in the dining hall so our second date was the first time I got into a car with him.  It wasn't my first time in that car.  I dated a friend of his the prior semester and they'd both borrowed the same car from yet another friend!   I was in a familiar car, with a fairly un-familiar guy, on a date I was pretty sure I didn't want to be on when he popped Reckoning into the tape deck.  As Michael Stipe started singing, I relaxed a little and looked at this guy, again.  First impressions being what they are, I was surprised.  He was dressed for a date, not just coming from class so he was no longer wearing a  t-shirt and a white baseball cap.  Guys who wore white baseball caps didn't listen to R.E.M.  Did they?  Maybe dinner wouldn't hurt.  We went to a little Italian restaurant where he gave the host a fake name, with a grin.  He made me laugh.  By the time we finished dinner, he asked if I wanted to go home.  I didn't.

     We agreed to go see a movie and ended up at Parenthood.  Who goes to see a movie titled "Parenthood" on their first date?  Halfway through the movie, he asked if he could "have" my hand!  No weird stretching to get an arm over the shoulders,  no slipping his hand over mine but actually asked first.  Who does that?  Still holding hands as we walked out of the movie, he asked if I wanted to go home.  I didn't.

     While trying to figure out what to do next, I think he noticed my glances at the daiquiri stand and suggested we go back uptown for drinks.  We went to O'Henry's, had long island iced teas and talked and talked until the bar closed.  Then we said we should probably call it a night.  We didn't.

     We drove down to the French Quarter.  Along the way, at a red light on Canal Street, he kissed me.  The guy who, when sober, politely asked if he could hold my hand, simply leaned over and kissed me.  He will deny that. He told everyone that I looked over and kissed him.  I didn't.

     We parked the car and walked down to the river.  We sat on a bench and talked until the sun came up along the Mississippi river.  By then, we were getting a little tired and decided it was time to go home.  A full twelve hours after the date-I-wasn't-going-to-go-on began, I made it back to my dorm room and shut the blinds so the morning sun wouldn't keep me from going to bed.  I didn't have to worry about waking my roommate as she was out-of-town for Labor Day weekend.

     The thing about these trips down Memory Lane is that they're pretty quick day-trips and you can read the signs when you're going this direction.  The signs letting me know that second-guessing was available with each and every exit?  The flashing caution sign announcing Parenthood Ahead?  There they are.  There was a point along this road, almost twenty-two years ago where I married that guy that asked for my hand.

     This was the point, twenty-six years ago, where two roads merged.   I only remember it was the Saturday before Labor Day but now we have Google, which tells me that back in 1989, that would have been September 2.