9/11 is old enough to drink

9/11 is old enough to drink. 9/11 is an adult—if twenty-one is actually an adult. Sophie can’t rent a car until she’s twenty-five. Kids can stay on their parent’s medical insurance until they turn twenty-six. My own adolescence didn’t end until I turned thirty-three. So maybe not quite an adult yet, but yes, old enough to drink.

The other thing that happens in the first half of September is my wedding anniversary. Ours is old enough to rent a car. To celebrate, we thought we’d do something special this year. A year ago, we assumed that meant flying to Moab, Utah for a week of hiking in the desert. Have you noticed the crazy inflation this year? We spend all our money on groceries and gas, nothing left for a rental car, restaurants and a hotel. We went to the National Gallery of Art instead—only two hours away on a Saturday morning. We even parked for free.

Overheard by the women sitting next to us at Zorba’s Café later in the day: “Am I pedestrian because I like the impressionist paintings most?”

“Everyone likes the impressionist paintings the most.”

Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir, those painters appeal to me. Many other do as well, but if I’m thinking art, theirs are the paintings that pop into my head. Susan, reading an internet blurb on Monet: “Impressionist paintings became wildly popular in the second half of the twentieth century…” Hey, I’m from the second half of the twentieth century.

Really, it’s pretty cool that we can pop into DC and see these world-renowned paintings whenever we want.

God, What’s wrong with that guy, anyway?

While browsing paintings in an empty exhibition room, just Susan, me and a security guard, I walked into a sculpture pedestal. The guard, a classy looking older man, said “Uh, oh.” He then followed us room to room until we went up stairs to another floor.

When we left the museum, I bought a Coke and a cup of ice from a street vendor. Sitting on the grass we watched the runners. Susan reminded me that we used to run this stretch of park. I always made her run around the Capitol building because it’s the only hill in the area. Thirty years ago, I ran faster than the fastest runners we saw. Now I’m slower than the slowest. We vowed to come back for a jog.

Scooters are everywhere. I keep reading articles in the Washington Post how people on rental scooters and electric bikes are ruining city life and terrorizing residents. The riders consider themselves pedestrians and whip down sidewalks over chalk etchings and between planters, figuratively running over toes. “Jeff, you should get a scooter for your commute.” I don’t get a car during the workweek. Susan takes one to Harrisburg every day. Eli drives the other to school so he can get around in the afternoon. I catch rides with one of them when the weather sucks. Otherwise, I walk. There’s no reason for me to get a scooter. I can get to work as quickly on a bike as I can on a scooter or a car. I find walking to be most relaxing.

In 1997, Susan and I lived in Washington, DC. Our commute took us past the British Embassy every day. When Princess Diana died, a spontaneous tribute arose. Hundreds of people dropped off flowers, teddy bears, union jacks and hand written notes at the gate of the embassy. The area took on the air of a street fair for days. As we drove out of town yesterday, we passed the embassy. We fully expected to see the street lined with tchotchke and mourners for the queen. Instead, we saw six or eight people gathered around a small flower arrangement. The comparison was shocking. I’m not saying that Diana was more popular than the queen. I’m just reporting what we saw.

Twenty-five years of marriage is both an achievement and an expectation. I never questioned that we’d stay married until now. I can’t imagine living my life alone or with anyone else, and I hope and think Susan feels the same. I count myself among the luckiest alive.

22 thoughts on “9/11 is old enough to drink

  1. Congratulations on 25 years. You’re catching up with me fast. On your first anniversary I had been married 27 times longer than you. Next year I will have been married only twice as long as you. At this rate, you’re going to pass me before too long 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Anniversary! Sounds like you guys had a nice trip. I agree with you about the cost of things. Absolutely ridiculous. The grocery store we go to is selling cases of soda for $8. Blows my mind!! Declan’s favorite chicken tenders are selling a $10 a bag. It’s a good thing he likes Ramen so much. Not much change there and I can still keep him happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We both got nice raises in January, and we realized a couple of months ago that inflation has taken away any benefit we expected to get from that. I’m not a careful enough shopper to really register any individual price increases except coffee and gas… those have gone up a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wishing you (and Susan) many congratulations on your 25th anniversary. That’s quite an achievement these days. I hope the next 25 years are equally as happy for you both.

    We have scooters over here, too, although they are relatively new. We get many complaints about them speeding down footpaths, nearly careering into people, leaving them abandoned on and blocking footpaths and outside people’s front doors etc. I almost had one run into me the other day. I wasn’t best pleased. I do appreciate that they’re a better form of green energy, albeit they still need charging using electricity, mainly from fossil fuels (but don’t get me started on that one – that’s a post of its own!).

    I’ve learned a new word from you today, “tchotchke”. I had to look that one up. As it’s a Yiddish (Hebrew) word, I should have known it, given that my ancestors were all Jewish. I’ve no idea how to pronounce it, though.


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