I lick my lips for the 47th time in an hour and look around. My mouth is so dry that I’m fantasizing about lip balm pots like they’re purple beads on Mardi Gras. My surroundings do little to distract me.
Girl with feet on back of seat, head on knees, sound asleep. How is that comfortable?
Impossibly tiny child watching Monsters, Inc. on an iPhone. I never knew they made headphones that small. Whenever I get up to pee, she places her doll, Bella, in my chair to “save my seat.”
A clean-shaven man in a crisp white shirt plugging away at his laptop, pausing during each draft email, carefully considering what precedes, “Regards, Bill Baker, CPA.” God, I don’t miss Outlook.
I look at my insulated water bottle, concave from the cabin pressure. If I take another sip, I risk having to use the bathroom. Again. I swallow and look at the top lefthand corner of my phone. Again. Three more hours.
When I booked the “super saver airfare” a month earlier, I had only one thought in mind: getting out of Jersey.
Now, after six days in San Diego visiting friends and family, I’m just a few hours from home.
Or… not. If home is the place where you pay rent, then I only have ten days left to call New Jersey my own. After that, I face a knee-wobbling series of unknowns that has me questioning… EVERYTHING.
What if I was wrong? What if I don’t know myself after all? What if, along with every shred of familiarity and security, I’ve also tossed out my sanity? Who does this? Who, at 36, quits her full-time job, sells all of her stuff, and starts over?
I take a deep breath and press my head into the seat, careful not to touch the recline button lest I invade anyone else’s space even more. I think about the words I heard just a few days earlier, southern California sun on my skin, salt air in my lungs, and rollerblades on my feet.
“Love is the most important thing,” a leather-skinned man said in an easy, Southern accent. “And honor is like the knight, protecting it.”
When my friend Tracy and I spotted him on the Pacific Beach boardwalk -as I had shamelessly hoped we would- he immediately beckoned us over.
(I’m not saying you should watch that whole video…but you should watch that whole video.)
“You’re laughing,” Slomo drawled, skipping over any normal introduction or pleasantries and diving right into a line of thought he seemed to have been working on for years. “Having a sense of humor is so important. Always vote for the guy who still has a sense of humor.”
I thought back to another older man who had recently approached my sister and I at a bar.
“Do ya know why I came over here?” he had asked. We had been immediately taken by his twinkling blue eyes and Irish accent. After we’d failed to produce an adequate answer, he had continued, “B’cause you were laughin’.”
I purse my chapped lips and my pulse steadies, reliving both conversations. I close my eyes and breathe in through my nose, letting the air slide back out as smoothly as Tracy’s skates on the San Diego sidewalk.
Love and laughter. Yes. That’s why I’m doing this.
26 thoughts on “I Met Slomo!”
Rollerblading in Cali? You’re already living the dream!
We’re still freezing up here in the great white north.
Rollerblading WHILST blowing bubbles… bucket list item #417? CHECK!
Amazing blog post! An interesting read 🙂
Thank you very much!
Just watched the whole video… wonderful story! Of course it helps that he was easily able to afford to chuck it all and skate.. but still!
Oooh gold star, gold star!! So glad you found it as inspiring as I did. I watched it again last night for the first time in a long while, and had the thought, “Oh my god. Is Slomo the actual reason I’ve quit my job to go do ‘what I want’?!?!?!” …By the light of day, I still think he might be.
In that case…
I hoped you thanked him!
Great post and surely inspiring!! Looking forward to more anecdotes from your travels!!
Thank you so much!! This trip DEFINITELY set the bar high (and not just because recreational marijuana is legal in CA)…
So cool that you got to meet him! Saw that video years ago, but have never ran into him on the boardwalk down there. Maybe if I went to SD more than every few years and also honed my stalking skills, it would happen!
We definitely had a little (lot) of unicorn magic on our side that day. Make sure you bring Tracy with you next time! And/or the tutu.
Go you lovely pink unicorn Go
I’ve decided to have pink hair forever.
This is all kinds of awesome. Loved the video. Happy he could escape. We all can escape. All we need are the simple things. When I ask myself what do I really want? A car, house, money, clothes? No, I want to sit by the ocean and feel the sun and breath the air. Peace. I want peace.
Me too, Darla. Being newly retired, I’m still exploring what this next chapter will look like. So far, a lot of reading and researching and thinking… preparing for more action. Like a Phoenix rising. Have always wanted to live on the water. How to make that happen? Happy spring to you!
Anything is possible!! When you do, I’ll come visit you. Happy spring!
Like a phoenix rising – YES. If you’re feeling that way, it sounds like you’re definitely on the right track to make that phoenix a water bird!
I can’t stop rewatching the video. It’s SO TRUE. (I say as I keep nervously / excitedly looking around my apartment as things get sold off this week…)
Fascinating guy. He escaped. Too many can’t do it. Good luck Jules on this new adventure, another chapter to your life!
Thank you so much! It is endlessly fascinating to me how much we’re willing to sacrifice for the ‘known,’ all while understanding -at least on some level- that we’re sacrificing something else intangible and far more valuable…
Okay, I just watched the video again. Yes…do what you want. I always remember what my dad would say, if you’re not happy somewhere, change, don’t stay stuck in it.
HA! I was just saying to you in my other comment that I can’t stop watching it!! One of my favorite realizations from the last 1-2 years is understanding that there’s no such thing as ‘stuck’ – it’s all in your head. EVERYTHING is ‘in your head’ and can be overcome. I’m pretty sure any 22 year old with a chance at the NBA had this figured out in his teens, but I’m a little slow on the uptake. (Also on the lay-up. So. No NBA for me.)
And you’re off on an adventure! So cool to meet Slomo- I saw a video about him a while back, and so good to see it again. I can’t wait to simplify my life a bit; but it’s a major challenge when I live with family who have real issues with collecting stuff and struggling to pass on things they no longer (or never) use. I used to be able to put my car in our garage. Love your in flight reading, as it’s mine as well. The only time I buy People. And sad about Luke Perry. Looking forward to hearing more about what you’re up to.
I know how frustrating that is (been there – all of the cute, organizing baskets in the world won’t help, am I right?!), and kudos to you for wanting to streamline.
P.S. – People magazine makes great wrapping for dishes you need to transport to Goodwill – after you’re done deciding ‘who wore it best,’ of course 😉
I am very happy for you. It seems you are in the process of finding that life that goes on inside you. I am close to that life. I still have ties to this world: a little bit of work here and there, a lot of time for me, fun with family, and, of course, there are those things in life that I try to not take too seriously, though someone else usually is.
Good luck to you. I wish we had met,