Today I Became An Old Man

Where have I been, you ask?

Yeah, I know it’s been over a year since my last post. As for the reason I’ve been away… well, you could call it a calculated absence; or you could call it lost in depression; or you could call it self-prescribed recovery time from an ended relationship; or you could call it a mid-life crisis… any of these would probably be correct.

But that’s not what I want to write about today. There may come a time when I write about what’s kept me away, but today I need to write about something else.

Today I became an old man.

It was an invitation to a beach party. An invitation! To a beach party! Who doesn’t love to get invited to parties? An annual event with people I love, I was very excited about it. I was looking forward to going the way a young person looks forward to something fun that young people look forward to (I can’t think of what that would be because, as I mentioned, I’ve become an old man.)

Dressed in my swim trunks and flip flops, I came downstairs and announced, “Kids, we’re going to a beach party today.” I gave them the news with a big smile on my face. I waited for the chorus of yays.

Instead of yays, the only sound was that of the ceiling fan, working overtime in the heat.

“It’s too hot,” came a reply from the couch, my 13-year-old son in lethargic repose.

“I don’t wanna go anywhere,” from the corner recliner, my 10-year-old daughter speaking from behind a book.

This is the way it is with my kids. Anything I think a “normal” child would be into, they avoid with prejudice. Why I continue to be surprised by their behavior is beyond me. I’ve known them awhile, after all.

I tried to keep the excited smile on my face, but after several minutes of “Are you sures” being met with “We’re sure”, it melted like a popsicle on a sidewalk. Sometimes my kids are like the opposite of fun.

I decided I’d leave them home and go by myself. I rationalized to myself, “It’s a party! At the beach! I’m not gonna let my lazy kids keep me from having a good time!”

I got my hat and my shades and my drinks and set out for some fun.


Me, when I was still a young man. It was a happier time…

I had a moment where I thought, “I should pee before I go” but ignored that thought. Turns out, that was a mistake.

The party was being held near the Balboa Pier, in Newport Beach. As I drove, I felt a little bummed to be going without my kids, but It was going to be nice to hang out with grownups – I’ve been decompressing from Burning Man this past week, and let’s just say it’s been a rough re-entry. I was glad to be headed for some fellowship.

As I neared my destination, I noticed my need to pee had increased to more significant levels. I also noticed how crowded it was in this part of Orange County. Everywhere I looked, there were cars and people. I saw lots of beautiful people in lots of revealing beachwear, and I tried to focus on that. It worked at first.

No street parking anywhere.

No street parking anywhere.

And I mean anywhere.

And I mean anywhere.

I started to wonder if perhaps I left home too late for the party. It started at 3:00, and by the time I reached Balboa, I was beyond fashionably late – it was nearing 4:00. I looked for parking everywhere. I saw none. My bladder was beginning to protest. 

One of a bajillion No Parking signs I encountered...

One of a bajillion No Parking signs I encountered…

I realized I’d have to settle for paying for parking in the lot, so I headed that way. I figured the lot was closer to a bathroom anyway and that sounded just fine to me.

I followed the signs in my innocence...

I followed the signs in my innocence…

It is worth noting that I was still in a good mood at this point. Yes, the need to pee was a bit of a distraction, but I was still looking forward to seeing friends. I was still relishing the scent of the ocean air. I was still enjoying seeing the beautiful people showing lots of skin. I was still young and vibrant.

My last view before everything went wrong.

My last view before everything went wrong.

As I turned to enter the parking lot, I noticed traffic had slowed to a crawl. I began tapping on the steering wheel with my hands, while my left foot began wiggling in what I suspect was the older person’s version of the child hopping up and down on one leg. I didn’t curse the traffic out loud, but I did mutter an “oh, great” as I crept along.

I won't comment on the poor grammar of this sign.

I won’t comment on the poor grammar of this sign.

The reason for the slow traffic was revealed shortly thereafter.

At least the grammar was less questionable.

At least the grammar was less questionable.

I may have cursed at this point, but not so much out of frustration as panic — I really had to pee! Also, in retrospect I think it was around this time that the “beautiful beach people” just became standard pedestrians that were getting in the way of me finding a space to park.

Slowly I wound my way back to the street in search of parking. Alas, all I saw were miles and miles of cars. Whenever I’d spy what looked like a parking space, I’d inevitably be disappointed. I began to mutter out loud something about the hottest weekend of the year and what a stupid idea it was to go to the beach.


Nothing but red curb…

...after red curb.

…after red curb.

Eventually, after driving a mile down the road and finding nowhere to park, something snapped. The beach and my friends the fellowship were all forgotten. The sunshine suddenly became a symbol of oppression. The citizens lining the streets became stupid sheep that didn’t have the sense to stay home on such a hot day. I saw a young woman in a neon green bikini and thought to myself, “She ought to cover up, she’s going to have skin cancer by the time she’s 30.”

I realized the thought I just had, and I think at that point, I actually developed liver spots. It also occurred to me at that moment that if I were wearing adult diapers, I wouldn’t be in such discomfort. 

Horrified at this chain of thought, I finally said, out loud, “That’s it! I’m done!” and stopped searching for a space to park. I sped through the streets in search of a bathroom, and finding a Jack in the Box, pulled in to ease my suffering.

Once relieved, a voice in my head –a hopeful voice, the voice of my youth– spoke up and said “Now we can go find a place to park. Right?”

That voice was drowned out by a new voice. A voice that sounds frighteningly close to that of a grumpy old man. “Oh, no. Screw that,” this voice said. “I’m not goin’ back to that foolishness. No way.”

Young Terry said, hesitantly, “But – but the party! The people! The fellowship! They’re all waiting for you!”

But it fell on the ears of a deaf old man. “Nope. No way. We’re going home.” (Yes I know it’s interesting that it was “we’re” — as though I was speaking to a car full of people. Don’t psychoanalyze me.)

So, because I failed to find a parking space, and because I had an overactive bladder, and because I apparently crossed over into the land of No Fun For Old Men, I went home. No beach party, no fellowship, no seeing friends I had wanted to see. Just me and my grumpiness. And my new liver spots.

Now with 30% more gray in my beard...

Now with 30% more gray in my beard…

I headed home. As I drove, I realized that the “old man” part of me was just hoping there would be kids on my lawn.


Goddess 2.0

I loved her.
So I stole her.
I celebrated her.
Then I domesticated her.
I flaunted her.
Then I neglected her.
I forgot her.
Then I remembered her.
I retrieved her.
And I celebrated her.
But then I killed her.
And I mourned her.
I had lost her.
Then I resurrected her.
And I valued her.
So I shared her.
And now I release her.

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while remember the sad, sordid, but ultimately uplifting tale of the Bourka Bee Goddess. I first wrote about her in the post “Death of a Deity“, where readers learned her Origin Story – where she was admired, stolen, revered, and ultimately murdered. Her tale of redemption came in the post “Goddess, Resurrected“, where she came back to life and took her place in our camp at last year’s Burning Man.

The Bourka Bee Goddess is returning to Black Rock City, and this time, it seems she was meant to be there. This year’s Burning Man theme is “Fertility 2.0”, and what better symbol for fertility 2.0 than a bee goddess who was dead and then brought back to life?

I knew she would return to the playa this year. I didn’t know she would first undergo a radical transformation, but she did. Her new image is not of my creation; rather, she spoke to me through various mediums – dreams, friends, memories of the 80’s…. The message was, in her unique way of speaking, “I am so much more than you can possibly make of me. Set me free to be the representation of Universal Fabulousness that I am!”

I came to see her as a genie kept in a bottle. She needed release to be able to perform her magic. So I listened to the voices that seemed to be saying to me, “let her go” and in so doing, she became more of the goddess that she truly is.

The process required returning her to her original state.

Then letting her shimmering nature dictate the color palette.

The tile pieces added a new intensity to her ferocity…

Now those who look upon her carelessly can be blinded by her beauty —

–while the mindful among us, looking upon her with reverence, will see their own beauty reflected back to them.

The Goddess returns to the playa in a few days and, much like the bee brings pollen to the flowers, she’ll be bringing love to the dusty citizens of Black Rock City.

Another Middle Finger – This Time, It’s Personal

No, this post is not about my fractured middle finger from a few posts ago, though it is healing nicely, thanks for asking.

Yesterday morning, I was driving to drop off my kids at their mom’s house on my way to work. They were subdued and barely conscious, having just woken up minutes before I herded them into the car. It was a peaceful morning, and the sun was already hot as it filtered through my dirty windshield. I came to an intersection, and stopped at the red light. I tapped on the steering wheel in time with the music on the radio, waiting for the light to change.

I was in the third of four lanes of traffic, so there were two lanes between me and the curb on the right. I had a few cars in front of me, but no cars to my right, so I had a clear view of the bus stop at the corner. I wasn’t really paying attention to anything, just waiting for the light to change, as I glanced at the people waiting on the bench for their bus.

Then I saw him. Young man, mid-twenties, sitting away from the rest of the people at the bus stop. Scowl on his face, arm extended, middle finger raised in the air. Both the scowl and the finger were directed at me.

This bus stop stranger was flipping me off. Read Whole Post

If There Are No Coincidences, What Do You Call It?

All right, full disclosure: this wasn’t the post I’d planned.

I had planned on writing a post on an entirely different subject. It was going to be insightful, thought-provoking, perhaps a bit controversial, given the subject matter… it was going to be something you’d remember.

But this isn’t that post.

Why? Because I’m a lazy ass.

Well, two reasons: One, because I’m a lazy ass. And two, because I just got one of those “whoa” moments. Read On

The Middle Finger

So my last post was on my birthday, and I wrote about gifts and sharing good things and all sorts of warm, fuzzy stuff.

The girl at the Carl’s Jr. counter was also celebrating a birthday on July 8th. She gave me the number associated with my new age; she didn’t notice I was displaying alternative burger chain loyalty in my choice of hats…

Yeah – here’s what happened after I posted that: Read About the Trauma

Daddy-Daughter Date, Done Differently

I wondered if taking Makena to a fundraiser was going to be an acceptable way to spend our monthly Daddy-Daughter Date Night last Saturday. If it had been any other fundraiser, it might not have gone over so well. But because this was a fundraiser put on by Burners, it was a night my daughter will never forget. 

Our destination for the evening

Read On