Tuesday, July 3, 2007

acting my shoe size

Friday night I experienced an epiphany of sorts and it's been nagging me ever since.

It was around dusk when we returned from dinner in Chevy Chase at Indique Heights -- the less hip sibling of Cleveland Park's Indique. As I pulled up to the house I saw two kids, probably 14 years old, in our front yard looking guilty as hell. When I parked they had darted across the street, up a ridiculously steep hill, into Lafayette Park. Impulsively I gave immediate chase and surprisingly scaled the hill with ease. By the time I reached the field, however, they were at least 50 yards away, and at that point I should have bailed on my pursuit. I didn't.

Instead I sprinted, in dress shoes and jeans, until the Indian food in my gut turned to fire works and my leg muscles cramped up. What was I thinking? There was no way I would ever catch them. Even if I did catch them, then what? It's not like I'm going to lay hands on them.

The truth is I admired these kids and wished I could be on their side of this chase, where I had spent so many years of my life in the wake of trouble. It occurred to me as I leaned over with my hands on my knees, gasping for air, that when I dashed into that park I crossed a threshold. I was an old man chasing his youth and failing to reel it in.

Collecting myself, I took one last look at them -- two atomic specs on the horizon, arms and legs flinging wildly -- and nodded in acceptance.

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