Well, not the hours of sitting, cramped legs and stiff back muscles. And trying not to think about my full bladder while anxiously scanning the road for the REST AREA AHEAD sign is not much fun.
But the long road stretched out before us, nothing but time to sit beside my best friend, time to talk about mostly inconsequential, and even one or two consequential things — that is what I love. It is so much easier to focus on our conversation when children are safely strapped down in car seats and neither Sid nor I are rushing around with all the busy-ness pressing in on us.
So we had one of these long drives the day before yesterday, a drive that took us across the state of North Carolina to the edge of the continent. Because we were feeling adventurous (and because we had preplanned and prepaid months ago), we kept going. Crossed over some bridges and left the continent behind to finally settle on a little strip of island.
On our long drive to Cape Hatteras, we were listening to “oldies” on the radio and the song “Missing You” aired. Sid commented that it took him years to understand that the singer was in denial. I hate to admit it, but I felt the tiniest bit superior in MY understanding of the song lyrics. With the merest hint of a scoff that peeped out before I could squelch it, I asked, “What? Did you think the girl had just went away on vacation or something instead of dumping him?”
“No. When he sang ‘I’m not missing you at all,’ I thought he meant it literally. That he really didn’t miss her.”
I laughed and the image of a young, puzzled Sid trying to make sense of this song formed and stuck with me. “You must have been one confused little boy in a confused world.”
“Nah,” he said, “I had my own little circle and I was King of my circle.”
“Do you think that we have created a circle for our boys? Or is that something they have to create for themselves?”
“That’s something they create for themselves.”
I nodded. That is what I had expected but hoped he would answer differently.
Then I remembered the story of the baby sea turtles Sid told us about 119 miles ago. In Italy, hundreds of baby sea turtles hatched one night. Usually, their innate survival compass is in working order and they bellycrawl and flap, sand-slapping their way toward the ocean as quickly as their little sea turtle flippers will let them. But for whatever reason, on this particular night in Italy, a strange light, an unusual sound or smell, something must have malfunctioned their little compasses. Instead of making a mad dash toward their only chance of survival, the baby sea turtles raced awkwardly to an Italian restaurant.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the diners enjoying their meals or the restaurant staff serving their guests when they realized that they were being invaded by hundreds of baby sea turtles. I’m guessing there were some compassionate people who helped many of the little turtles find their way back to the ocean, but I’m sure there were a few casualities. Outside your circle is not a safe place to be.