I was crossing Queens Blvd. (Lotta my stories can start with that line).
My usually observant self hardly noticed that another (younger, whiter) female was crossing with me.
If we had both been heading to a popular deli with bomb sandwiches to go, I would definitely have noticed her as I would have broken out into a jog so that I can avoid waiting behind her in line. Especially because usually, there is a car full of men waiting for me to get back into the passenger seat.
I purchased the one item I needed from CVS (birthday card) and started writing in it at a Starbucks just a few doors down. I had to write my love messages fast as my mama’s birthday was approaching and the mailboxes in our ‘hood do 9 am or 10 am pick-ups(!). I wouldn’t be able to celebrate her 60th with her because she is clear ‘cross the country as usual, though I plan to make it up to her this year. The 1st and 60th birthdays in Korean culture are the hugest milestones.
I then noticed the Queens Blvd. gal from earlier. She had hardly registered in my peripheral view but I recognized her now as she was CLEARLY not headed to CVS like me.
UNLIKE ME, she was headed to her PARTY LIMO to meet at least seven of her friends who had already gathered with overnight bags, coolers, outerwear. They were a diverse bunch, brown and white, male and female. They looked and sounded really happy and excited. Co-workers, I guessed.
After I mailed my card, on my way back home, I sauntered over to them and asked, “Where you guys off to? It looks so fun! Jealous.”
One of the guys already seated in the limo, with the doors still open answered, “We’re going to Vegas for the weekend. We got room for one more. You wanna join us?”
“You guys DRIVING to Vegas from here in a limo!? That is cray…” I pause to shake the rust off my brain. “I mean, you guys headed to the airport in the limo, then spending the weekend there?! That’s cool. Sounds fun. Y’all look so refreshed and relaxed, by the way.”
They proceeded to flatter me some. I wasn’t surprised (I had just dyed my greys). Note: they proceeded to flatter an octogenarian who also stopped by to ask them where they were off to.
“Sounds fun. Um…are you all single? I remember those days I could just pack up and go anywhere, any time. Now I got two little kids waiting for me at home.”
“Two kids?! No, no, no, no! You know you can’t bring them along, right? You better get home now!” he teased.
I did get my butt back home, then off to my second son’s Baby Dedication. Talk about opposite plans.
This limo crew reminded me of a couple life stages ago, when I was free to hit up Vegas for my friend and her friend’s double bachelorette party. Or free to do anything really, though my goody goody self was known to be a buzzkill at clubs, asking philosophical and existential questions like, “Is this really a good time for you guys, talking about how faded you are? What about meaning though?”
The black stretch limo dared me again to try to live in the present EVEN MORE, since I will yearn for many of today’s moments years down the road.
Back in earlier life stages, I may have fretted a bit too much about “Where my husband at?” though a natural and honest concern as a single gal of “marriageable age.” And even now, I worry about what type of job/career to resume and when. Where our family should settle down. How to maximize precious time with the kids without going broke and while still cultivating my own interests apart from them.
But looking back, I really didn’t need to fret so much about the unknowns. ESPECIALLY in my tenderoni years!
My roadtrip to CVS prodded me AGAIN to savor my NOW though so tempting to OVER-wonder about the next life stages. My now is not a whirlwind Vegas trip or even a spontaneous trip to go swimming in Manhattan, but my firstborn calling out, “MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY watch me!” every other waking moment and my second-born bootyshaking to different beats and protesting his highchair so that he can bum a cuddle in Mommy’s sweaty lap instead.
Sometimes I get wistful for my freedom but this is my NOW. Blogging while the clock on their naps is ticking like the clock on “24.”
The limo crew also made me pause to think about my friends in other life stages, how they, too, should savor whichever stage they’re in, because somewhere out there, someone is thinking how nice it would be to have the freedom to jet to Vegas, have childless moments with spouses or single moments with closest girlfriends, or travel the world on sabbatical or during retirement.
Next roadtrip: RiteAid.