I'm a pretty good dad, and even my wife would admit that I'm not the worst husband in the world. I'm not that romantic, but I often get groceries, I usually do dishes, I take the kid to soccer practice, I cook dinner, I mow the lawn awesomely, I get the oil changed, I appeal our property tax bill, and I rarely leave my people in the lurch because there's something I want to do that I won't reschedule.
But I'm discovering that a life of duty to others isn't my natural way.
Cristie and Scout are gone this week, visiting family in Iowa. I'm here alone. Get ready to see that capital I a lot.
I usually look forward to the occasional temporary bachelorhood, but traditionally, I've wound up wandering down Division Street talking to myself because I forget other people can hear me because I forget I exist … and then find myself half-drunk, sitting in the back pew of Holy Innocence church listening to Mass in Spanish. (That really happened once.)
You don't know what the spiritual center of your life is until it isn't around.
Well, apparently I've gotten shallower since then. (You can't get shallower as you age, can you? Isn't that like getting hungrier as you eat?)
In any case, this week I've found the spiritual center of my life. It's me.
Things are going pretty well so far. Sunday was a stunningly beautiful day in Chicago. I had breakfast at Wimbledon, then rode my motorcycle to a tennis match of my own before riding it to brunch, where I read The New York Times until I began to feel sleepy, at which time I headed home for a little nappy-pooh.
By now, I'm organizing the entire globe and all the creatures on it into a series of amusements for me. Let's see, if I finish work at 5:00 I bet there's time to head over for fish tacos super quick before the 6:15 art documentary. What time does that let out? 8:00! Great! I'll call Schmidt and see if he wants to grab a drink and catch the end of the All-Star game. Then, if I can get rid of Schmidt and boogie home, I'll still have time to read for an hour or so before turning in early so I can get up at dawn and sneak in a quick round of golf before work. Now, where should I get lunch tomorrow? I wonder if the weather will be good so I can ride my motorcycle? Wait! How will I fit in my workout?!
The Greek debt crisis: How could that make my Wednesday more interesting? The Iranian arms deal: Could it affect my dinner reservations at Sultan's Market? Another Nigerian atrocity? Oh my buzzkill.
Do you see what's missing from that thinking? Anybody but me! Any considerations but my own! Thank God I have work obligations, or I might actually implode into a self-centered black hole of narcissism, before the return of the People Who Keep Me Sane By Requiring Me to Consider Their Needs.
Lord, what would I do without them? Well, for starters, I'd do a lot more steak tartare brunches at the Paramount Room ….
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