HH will be quiet for a couple of weeks. In a few days, Elizabeth and I begin the drive west; as of July, I'll be a Californian resident.
I haven't known so heightened a degree of nervous anticipation since I sat on my hands in the passenger seat of my dad's Ford F-150 and, wide-eyed and gape-mouthed, emerged from the Holland Tunnel into Manhattan.
That New York City birth occurred more than ten years ago, but I recalled it earlier this week, as I bounced a four-and-a-half month old baby on my lap. Whenever the two of us made eye contact, the baby would smile toothless at me and drool on the chest of his Snagglesaurus onesie. Each time, though, his eyes would soon drift away from mine, his smile would open into an imperfect "O," and he'd stare, head lolling, at some other object of wonder.
I've got thirty-two years on the little guy, but I don't believe that my appreciation of the world is altogether dissimilar. Certainly, I slip into self-conscious, myopic modes (say, when I'm packing for a major move!), but much of each day is spent squinty-eyed happy or struck dumb by wonder. I don't drool as much as I used to, but the stupidly sublime fact of being wows and humbles me no less than it did way back when.
Despite the long hours and the relative monotony of Interstate driving, I look forward to crossing this spectacular land. Along with books on tape and downloaded lectures, Elizabeth and I will have a road trip playlist to listen to. I added Liz Phair's "Go West" to the tracks last night.
"Safe on the interstateAnd I'm not looking forward to missing you New York, but life rolls on and I keep on smiling.
New York is 3,000 miles away [...]
I've closed my eyes and my bank account
And gone west, young man
Take off the parking brake
Go coasting into a different state
And I'm not looking forward to missing you."
Image credit: State flag of California, ripped from Wikipedia