Those little moments of absolute clarity can suck. When they hit in the express checkout lane at Albertson's, they totally suck even more. I had some time to kill between getting groceries and picking up the boy from volleyball practice, so, after casting about for cheap reading material, I grabbed a Gourmet. And then proceeded to stack on the conveyor belt, behind said Gourmet... some PowerBars, a couple of bottles of Propel, and a box of instant oatmeal.
Just in case the dissonance wasn't lost on the checkout woman, I prepared to mumble something about guys with regular girlfriends probably not buying Playboy, but, luckily, she was distracted by her conversation with the bagger, leaving me to slink out under my own private cloud of oh what the fuck.
When I got home, the mailbox helpfully disgorged an Estes Park vacation guide, giving me two nice additions to the growing monument of futility that was previously composed of back issues of National Geographic Adventure and a Mountain Hardwear tent catalogue. The Gourmet turned out to be filled with useful tips for my next trip to Italy. Fuck.
At some point it becomes time to... well, if not quite give up, then perhaps to recalibrate the goals-and-dreams generator, to scale it back to a framework that is more compatible with the life that's unfolded. And that's not a pleasant process. At some point the reality of being 40 and pudgy starts to edge out the dewy notions of mountaintops and whitewater and romantic cabins in the woods that have been crowding the brain since adolescence, despite the fact that my parents are in their early 60s and still live dreams like that on a regular basis. They also made slightly different career choices than I did. Maybe I'll get there someday, when I grow up, the recording starts, and then I blink and realize I've already grown up and this is pretty much it.