Labor Day, the traditional end of summer, a reality that forced its way through the muggy heat this morning as I sat on the train with the usual assortment of misfits. I could write about the train everyday. It's a strange sub-culture and full of quirks that sometimes makes me want to play "get into their lives," guessing and fictionalizing people's existence based solely on observation. It, like poker, is a game of incomplete information. Today, an enormous purple thing sat next to me. I couldn't even turn to look at it, because its sheer size pinned me against the window. But I know it was purple, iris-searing purple, regal purple you might even say if it was velvety instead of polyester. This person--I have to assume it was a female, though I never saw its face, and I'm not willing to give up the possibility that it was some kind of African tribal leader--threatened to smother me with its sheer size, flaring my nostrils with its scent of an over-heated engine. And then, just like that, it was gone. Found a better seat. Or two.
I think there's an Andian parable about the arrival of the Purple Beast signaling the end of summer. If there isn't, there should be.
The last three months have been curious. I feel unmoored, at times. Others, I'm so firmly rooted to the ground that small children climb on me. It's a dichotomous life I'm living. Half the time I'm ultra-responsible, attentive father. When AJ's at his mom's I'm flying around like a kamikaze. This weekend alone, I managed to see every member of my immidiate family, in three different cites, gorged on ballpark brats and barbequed hamburgers, while also finding time to squeeze in a date that included an octopus salad, the prime suspect in a Labor Day of intestinal distress that saw me foul each of the four bathrooms in my sister's new McMansion.
This summer I kneeled at the edge of the Cliffs of Moher and sat in a tiny kindergarten chair listening to "The Giving Tree". I donated hard-earned money to various charities and check-raised a girl on the river. I went on dates and built Lego airports. I drank $100 bottles of wine in swank restaurants and pounded well tequila in dive bars. I spent a number of couch-ridden nights pressed into my mini-sectional (in charcoal grey microsuede) by the oppressive heat, energy sapped to the point of a coma and played 95 minutes (yes, 95. Overtime, you know) in an epic soccer semifinal in a near-triple-digit swelter.
More than anything, it was a summer of blind curves. Both unanticipated pleasures and sudden strife. A year ago, I knew where my life was headed, or thought I did. Now, I have no fucking clue. And if some mornings I have to consult the multi-hued calendar hanging off my refigerator to remind me of where my son is, I still think I'm starting to get a handle on this Single Dad thing.
I had a great summer. Punctuated by a perfect final weekend filled with laughter, family and the electric touch of a more-fantastic-by-the-day woman. Summer's over, but tomorrow has promise.