The Difficulty Settings
I am in Czech Republic at this very moment (blame all the grammatical, clerical and moral mistakes on this qwertý keyboard) while my son is deeply asleep and his mother out to water the neighbor’s plants. I have permission to use her laptop because I already did the cleaning and the dishes. She knows me too well. At least I can shower afterwards, lest I drip on her keyboard.
This is the first time that I drove here with the new car, going 135kmph flat on the German highways, overtaken by Audis going 200+. I don’t know what madman came up with this idea of trashing any speed limits on the German highways or what kind of government supported the notion, but with today’s increasing traffic, this whole country is turning into a diesel-ridden powder keg.
It’s just a car and I know that all too well. A piece of steel and pollution on 4 wheels, meant to get you places. But for me personally, it is something far more.
My previous heap of junk was bought from a colleague. By the time I got rid of it, it was a literal wreck. Repairing it to make it road worthy again (although I was on the road with it constantly) would cost me more than its own value, so for all intents and purposes, the car was a total loss. But I needed it badly for about every part of my life.
The papers were not in order and every moment I was having it out in public, was a risk for not only huge fines, but more importantly, the safety of myself and those around me. I am not proud of what I did, but there you go.
If I had lost that car before I got my new one, I would have my job and monthly visits here in jeopardy. Thank Maynard I didn’t. It bore with me like the champ that it was and saying goodbye was not without an emotion or two.
I paid €800 for that machine, and thanks to a wonderful quirk in the Belgian law meant to encourage you buying new (less polluting) cars, it got me a €3000 discount. You read that right. Three thousand shmuckers, more than I ever spent on it.
So now I got me a brand new car, that will hopefully last me a good number of years and many kilometers. The papers are in order, no country will deny its solidity, we are all set.
And so, I finally feel ready to have that child we had been discussing- oh. Hi.
2 years, you say? Alright. Time to catch up.
Before I continue, let me be perfectly clear that I consider all children to be of equal value. I probably say this because I was a difficult one myself, but a child’s behavior should not determine its right to be loved.
That being said: I don’t know where I deserved to have such an easy-going child, but I will gladly take it.
You wouldn’t believe what a little ray of sunshine he is, and try to imagine this coming from the cynical bastard that I am. He cried today because he didn’t get something he asked for, and we could tell he was extremely tired because this is the first time in weeks that he did this.
This kid just smiles all the time! He walks around town singing for all to hear, (generally) does as he is told and likes nothing more than to experiment with the languages he is learning.
If life were a computer game, it seems like mine got stuck on easy mode, at least in this aspect of it. I am fully aware and immensely grateful for it, because as you might understand, any problem concerning his health or behavior becomes a huge deal instantly as I am stuck on the other side of Germany. Anything that needs taking care of, is mostly up to his mother to solve while I can only watch and bite my nails.
The issues I’ve had trying to fix my own situation have kept me up many a night, I shudder to think what life would be like if the hurdles many other parents have to take would combine with my own.
So the stage is set and while some actors are late to the party, we can begin. I have done all I promised to do when I made this vow in the Black Rock Desert, so now it is time to go beyond. I pulled this off, there’s no reason why I couldn’t take it further. The situation, with such limited time with the girlfriend or alone is a difficult one, but certainly not impossible. I feel like there is room for challenge within.
As long as I manage to not crash my car or lose my job or nuke my relationships abroad (I am capable of all three) they will carry me where I want to go. Where that path will lead, time will tell, but for the first time, I feel ready.
Like Tom Hanks who just made fire, allow me to yell from the top of my lungs:
I did this.
And I can do more.