Live Reckoning

Dear J-

I am a landmark navigator; if you asked me for directions, I’d be able to tell you in relative terms (go through three stoplights, then left when you see McDonald’s) how to get there. I like the idea of navigation via sextant, chronometer, and compass, with the stars providing an ever-shifting map to guide us all slowly ashore. If anyone, I picked it up from my dad, who would draw maps littered with buildings marked with Xes, orderly grids of streets and alleys marching away across the back of an envelope or whatever was handy at the time. So if you asked me to describe my bike route, I’d tell you something about the two schools I pass, the corner with the gas stations, the hill and valley, and the open field that regularly sprouts a crop of campaign signs this time of year.

I suppose that I use similar tactics to tell time; if my belly is starting to growl then it must be 8:30 AM or so if I skipped breakfast and 9 if I didn’t. These landmarks tend to be more personal and less transferable. This morning I noticed that on the way in, one of the schools was holding a craft fair the Saturday after the test, November 6th; as I regularly ride by the school and see their biennial craft fairs, it suddenly struck me: that’s a date that’s after the test. Life after the test; what must that be like? It’s starting to pile up, the days upon days upon days, and here we are just eight days short of the exam finally. With any luck it’ll stay “the” exam and not “the first time I took it.”

We’re also that much closer to an actual birth day; fresh from the latest visit to the doctor (they say he’s five pounds, three ounces now) and with a recommendation in hand to “reserve” a day, we’re left pondering whether to do an elective C-section this time. theVet has it all mapped out: we take figgy to daycare, then have the baby sometime later that morning, finally letting me head home in time to pick figgy up and back to daycare the next day, and so on until theVet’s ready to head back home two days later. Put in those terms it seems like something to check off a to-do list, as quotidan as picking up bananas on the way home, all for the sake of convenience and not knowing how long a natural labor would take. So do we make this landmark or let it find us where we can?

Mike

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