It was the speed bumps that started it.
I feel like they must be a great metaphor, but I'm unable to weave it, at least currently.
But as I slowed for the first one, I got that prickly nose feeling. You know the kind that starts somewhere under your eyes? And then shortly after, your throat begins to swell. And you know for sure that you are going to cry.
And it turned into a cry-y weekend. Sometimes it's just like that, I know. And the seemingly randomest things will start it.
Fucking speed bumps.
For years, my parents have wanted them on their street. There are so many children. And people ignore the speed limit and come careening down.
What I've realized about myself, which stands in stark contrast to my parents, is that I don't actually care about humanity. Individuals, I care passionately about. If I love you, I'd go to the ends of the earth for you.
But people as a whole? Not remotely.
I mean, I'd never set out to actively bring down society. But I tried a couple save-the-world-help-humanity jobs. And I just lack save-the-world passion.
My parents, on the other hand, they have this. My dad's whole career was in public health. They joined the Peace Corps right after Kennedy started it. They got sent to Afghanistan, which they loved.
Minot and Duluth to Kabul. And they thought it was so great.
I've got a picture of the King of Afghanistan standing next to Kennedy. And in the next shot, my dad is shaking the King's hand. Kind of extraordinary.
(And king is a weird word if you say it enough. Also, I have trouble with capitalization in this case. To capitalize in both sentences above? Or not?)
This picture is from that time. And while it's an elephant rather than a car, somehow I felt like it fit.
I know it's small on this page, but you can biggen it.
It makes me laugh. My dad is so at ease. This Midwestern boy, all delightedly seated on an elephant's trunk. Betty, on the other hand, slightly alarmed.
But still rising to the occasion, and in trendy glasses and a short skirt, no less.
But the speed bumps.
I was all, Dad, they put in speed bumps! And you've missed them. You'd be so happy to know this. Maybe you do.
And once one minuscule gate opens, through the tiny prickly passageways of your nose, thoughts and memories and feelings and everything else don't hesitate to rush in.
It's like they're just hovering at the edges, waiting for an opening.
Fucking speed bumps.