No More Time Outs

Ok, so no long preamble here about how long I’ve neglected to write this time.  Football, fantasy football, work, and struggling to maintain some semblance of a social life soaks up a lot of time – most of my time, indeed.  So here we go!

Last time I mentioned my impending trip to Tampa / St. Pete Florida to see the Panthers Buccs game in October.  Well that obviously has long come and gone, and it was a great trip.  Of course there were some snags as there are in almost every plan of mice and men.

So I was supposed to be staying in St. Pete that weekend with my friend Paul.  I emailed Paul my itinerary so he would know when my plane would arrive, and at what gate and such.  The idea was of course to have him there waiting for me when I arrive in a place I’ve never been in my life.  Yes?  Did it happen?  Of course not!  Nothing ever goes as planned for me.

The flight itself to Tampa was awesome.  I had never been on one of the big Boeing jets before, and I had a blast.  I thought it was so cool to be above the clouds, so that the clouds appeared to be the groud and the clear blue sky surrounded everything else.  It was just gorgeous.  On the back of each seat was a monitor on which you could watch TV, movies, or even cooler you could monitor the flight.  It rotated info between showing our altitude, speed, tail winds, and such to GPS views of our flight path.  I very much enjoyed the whole experience.

Okay, so I land in Tampa that Friday at around 3:15pm.  There is no Paul to meet me at the gate.  So I sit in the waiting area a bit thinking he must be on his way up the escalator or something.  Still no Paul.  I pull out my phone and realize at that point that I don’t have Paul number in my phone as I lost my phone in December ’07 and just never got his number since then – blah on me.  I pull out my laptop and log in the airport’s wireless system and access gmail.  I search through gmail for Paul’s phone number thinking it has to be there – but it is not.  So I send Paul an email letting him know I’m here and he’s not and to call me.  I notice a Burger King there in the terminal and go order a Whopper and some onion rings…..mmmmmmmmm.  I sit in the terminal waiting area and eat my food expecting Paul at any moment.  After about an hour and a half of waiting, I notice in one of the emails Paul sent me that I might have to take a Tampa Bus to some mall and meet him there instead.  So I do that.

By the time I get to this mall area it’s getting dark, and I’m getting uneasy about being stuck in this place without knowing where anything is.  Still I receive no call from Paul, or word or anything at this point.  Now I realize that I need to reach out to the one other person that I know who lives in the area: Bruce.  He is in the Fantasy Football league of which I am the commissioner, but I had never met him in person at the time.  He’s a friend of one of my friends who is in the league as well.  I had told Bruce I was coming into town, and he had emailed me his phone number so we could hang out.  Ah there is someone who thought ahead lol.  It’s actually Bruce who obtained the tickets to the game in the first place, so another huge shout out for Bruce is necessary for just that.

So I call Bruce and explain the situation to him.  He figured out where I am and comes and picks me up.  I ask him to take me to a hotel and I will just get a room for the weekend, but he suggests I just stay in his and his wife’s guest room instead.  I happily accept.  So I ended up staying the weekend with Bruce and never hearing from Paul at all.

However, unbeknownst to me at the time, Paul had been emailing me.  I was working out of my fantasy football gmail account all weekend and never checked my maplejar gmail account for an email from Paul because I thought he had my phone number.  I was waiting on a call from him, but it turns out that dumbass me had never given him my new number from where I replaced my cell phone last year.  So yes I flew to Tampa to meet a friend who did not have my phone number, and I did not have his, and I had no idea what his address was or anything.  The lack of planning ahead is really bad here, eh?  Anyway we were both disappointed that it turned out the way it did, but I also was relieved that I had a place to stay and I wasn’t there by myself all weekend.

Bruce and I went to the Panthers game that Sunday and the Buccs beat the ever living crap out of them.  So that part of the trip was crappy as well.  But Bruce and his Wife were so awesome – especially to give their guest room to a guy who neither of them had ever met before.  I enjoyed the limited amount of time I had in St. Pete enjoying the sun and the beach.  I took a lot of pictures and videos as well, and I have them to share.

Pictures are here:

Videos are here:

For the videos you will have to scroll down and click the “earlier edition” link and scroll down that page to get to the videos.  Depending on when you do this, you may have to go into further earlier editions depending on how many tumbler entries I have posted between then and now.  But it’s clear what videos are for the trip.

So I flew back after the game on Sunday and that was just as awesome because the sun setting above the clouds was just gorgeous.  The whole experience was excellent – I loved it.  I have decided that every year I’m going to take a trip to see the Panthers play a game in a place I’ve never been to.  Life is an adventure – you gotta experience it!  Yes!  I can’t wait to visit some unknown place next year.  🙂

It’s mid December as I write this, so between then and now I experienced my 40th birthday.  Woo Hoo for me.  People ask me how I feel about turning 40, and I tell them I feel great about it.  Why wouldn’t I or anyone else?  I mean – it’s simply a matter of fact that we all grow old as our lives continue.  We have to accept that fact.  Therefore, what is the alternative – if I don’t turn 40 then it means I’m dead, right?  So of course I feel great about it.  Do I sometimes wish I was still in my 20’s?  Sure.  If I could only go back to then with what I know now – the things I could accomplish lol.  But things are the way they are, and again we must accept reality for what it is.  All things considered, I’m in a better place in my life than I was 10 or 20 years ago.  There are things I need to fix – like my weight and my teeth.  I’m working on all that.  There are things I wish were different, but whatever will be, will be.  I can only life live and be the best person I can.  I have faith that things will always work out the way they are supposed to.  I accept that.  I’ve made peace with that.  And I’m thankful for all the blessings I do have.  I know firsthand that life could certainly be much, much worse.

So, yeah, I’m thrilled to be 40.  I’m thrilled that I don’t feel 40.  I’m not even sure I feel 30.  So I’ll take it, and smile, and be happy and thankful.  But it’s not really as simple as that – it never is, is it?  I’m going to round this out with a lengthy metaphor.

In the movie “Out of Sight”, starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, Clooney plays a lifetime bank robber and Lopez a US Marshall.  Early on in the flick the two meet and start falling for each other, even though they are of course on opposite sides of the law.  Even though she continues to pursue him for crimes, she doesn’t seem to be able to make up her mind whether she wants to arrest him or what.

At one point in the movie there is this lengthy seduction scene, which is one of the coolest scenes in any movie ever, where they talk about how they wished they met under different circumstances.  They want to take a “time out”, and see “What if”…so they do.  Later in the movie, Lopez catches Clooney in a crime and he is dead set against going back to jail.  In one room, hidden from her view, he removes the bullets from his gun, and goes to confront her.  She begs him to drop the gun.  He tells her he can’t go back to jail – so pretend it isn’t him.  He wants her to shoot him – kill him.  “No more time outs,” he says.  I won’t spoil any more of the flick for you.

Like I said about being 40…I don’t even feel 30 sometimes – I feel so young at heart.  While you might think that’s great, let me tell you that it isn’t always so great.  It feels like there are no more time outs.  I am 40, and that’s the way it is.  No more time outs and time is tick, tick, ticking away.  No more time outs to see “What if….”  No more time outs to correct mistakes I wish I could correct.  No more time outs when loneliness seems as boundless as the universe itself.  All while it often seems the younger me is stuck living the older me’s life.  So being 40 has its melancholies as well.  As I like to say:  reality is reality whether we like it or not.  No more time outs.

And that’s that.  Now that’s it’s almost Christmas and I’ve bummed all of us out with the above, I suppose I will sign off now.  I got all my shopping finished last weekend  – early for the first time ever.  I also mailed out Christmas cards last week as well – again first time ever.  So I am on top of all things Christmas!  Be on the lookout for pictures and videos galore as starting next Tuesday I will be on vacation for a week.  If you don’t have a Facebook account, you should get one and add me as a friend.  That way you won’t have to wait for me to post links to pics – you will see them as soon as they are posted.  🙂

No more predicting when I will write again, as I seem to never reach those deadlines lol.  Think of me as I go to have a crappy root canal tomorrow (Saturday).  Blah.  What a way to ruin a weekend.  Hopefully the Panthers will crush the Giants on Sunday night, though.  One can only hope….

Until next time,