Our move to the suburbs shocked our family and friends. Most people took us as dyed-in-the-wool city dwellers, hardcore party animals on the power couple path. Looking back in hindsight twenty-five years later, our decision to move was not made with our usual over-thinking, over–analyzing, over-plotting-to-the-point-of-mental-paralysis style.
Mike’s Mom had passed away that year. Helplessly watching her struggle after a major heart attack and her months long stay in the ICU left us numb. At the time, moving to her condo in Glenview and thinking about starting a family seemed like the thing to do. Especially considering the ‘life is hard and then you die’ mentality we held at the time.
In hindsight, if things had progressed a bit more naturally, more according to our ideas of what ought to be, I believe we would have remained in the city and raised kids there. Betsy, my daughter, said after learning that we really wished we had lived in Chicago all these years, “We would have been way cooler if we were city kids.” Nah. If Betsy was any cooler she would pee ice cubes.
I looked up hindsight. I was unaware of it’s meaning in relation to marksmanship. It’s the hindsight of a gun that guides the bullet in the direction you wish it to go. Furthermore, the hindsight must be set in the opposite direction of the bullet’s preferred path. If you want the bullet to travel left you set the hindsight to the right, if you want the bullet to go right, set your sight to the left. Which, I guess makes sense when wondering if you made a mistake, if you have missed your mark. Only, it’s too late anyway if you have set your sight in the wrong direction. Ultimately, for us, I don’t think we would have been any happier in the city.
At first, I used to joke with my friends. “At least the parking is good.”
In reality, the opposite is true. At least in the city people are honest that the parking sucks. They admit they have to drive around the block a hundred times, circling further and further away before finding a legal spot.
Suburbanites have no excuse. There are plenty of spaces in Outer Mongolia, as Mike calls it. So why do we all take that extra lap or two or ten around the parking lot to get the premium space?
It was winter, just before Christmas and I had to take all three kids with me to the grocery store. I had run out for milk in the middle of a blizzard. Danny at 9 months wasn’t walking yet and he weighed almost as much as Matt, who was five. I lucked upon a guy pulling out of a space right next to the store entrance and pulled up in queue before anyone else did, and I waited.
The driver was a total dolt. Not only did he take forever to turn his car on, he committed the dreaded act of turning out of the space into me, making me vulnerable to nefarious car space usurpers. These people are evil. They take advantage of those of us with patience enough to wait around for the parking challenged idiocracy to get their acts together. These people have the balls to swoop in and steal your well-deserved spot.
When this major bag-a-douche pulls a classic pimp move on me, I could not let him get away with it. I stayed right where I was and laid on the horn until he got out of his car.
“Hey, real nice.” I shouted. He was a big healthy guy; he didn’t need to park so close. “I’ve got three kids to schlep, you big jerk.” He wouldn’t look at me. “Hey, I’m talking to you.” He stared ahead. “Yeah, well, Merry Fucking Christmas!” I drove off and parked in Outer Mongolia.
I forgot about the rude stranger until Christmas dinner at Mom’s. We all decided to squeeze in at her dining room table. We sat elbow-to-elbow. Dad ended grace by saying, Merry Christmas. Then, one by one, each of us said Merry Christmas. When it came around to Matt’s turn, he was filled with emotion and glee and he shouted at the top of his lungs. “Merry Fucking Christmas!”