On America

Yesterday was John Lennon Day in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed it and that was that.

The proclamation recognized the fortieth anniversary of the United States government’s dropping of its deportation case against Lennon. This paved the way for him to receive his permanent residence. He received his green card in 1976. He was set to become a US citizen in 1981 but his assassination in 1980 ended his quest.

I’m not a big “America, rah-rah” kind of guy. I don’t think I ever was. That’s why when I read of John Lennon’s quest for citizenship it intrigues me. This was not a man who came from an overly oppressive country. He had his reasons for wanting to stay.

I, on the other hand, can take it or leave it. There are clearly countries on this planet that do things far better or far worse than America. It’s not a contest to determine who the best is but some Americans think it is. I’m not one of them.

Ultimately, I can see myself leaving America for extended periods of time. Or for good. I can’t see myself missing it much either though some people disagree. I see myself settling in somewhere in the center of Adelaide, South Australia or in a flat somewhere in London. Maybe Auckland, New Zealand or somewhere closer like Toronto, Canada.

The world is a big place, bigger than America.

On Travel

I’ve recently begun to travel. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner but at the age of forty-five I am finally ready to embrace the world around me by visiting all sorts of places.

Alas, the reality is I only travel about a thousand miles south a few months at a time to visit my kids. I am weary of driving these days so this chore involves me reserving a place seat and renting a car. Not a whole lot of traveling going on, I’m afraid. Although I did go to Australia a little over a year ago. Just for a “few days.”

Everyone who knew I was going for a “few days” thought I was nuts. I wasn’t nuts. Best trip I ever took and will probably remain that way for the rest of my life.

The best trips always involve love.

The Trip

I always pack in stages when I’m going on a trip. First there’s the stuff I know I won’t be using regularly on the days before the trip. Then comes the stuff I know I will use on a semi-regular basis before I go to the trip. These things will always be accessible should I need them. Lastly, and this happens either the night before or several hours before embarking on the trip, I put the stuff in that is used regularly and often.

I took a trip to Charlotte, NC a few weeks ago to see the kids. They moved there in July 2014. I’ve been there twice before and both times have been uneventful. That is to say, they didn’t include trips to amusement parks or to any other venue the city of Charlotte might have to offer. We dined, we walked, we shopped. I enjoyed our time together and I believe they did as well.

When I was about to leave only one of the three said goodbye and gave me a hug. The other two, because it was so early, were still in bed and fast asleep. I didn’t feel right leaving in the darkness of the morning without saying goodbye so I went into their rooms, nudged them awake with a soft voice and said goodbye. They both managed a groggy goodbye back.

I don’t know why this bothered me so. I imagined a more pronounced farewell. I imagined wrong.