If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve probably guessed that I watched too much TV as a child. I would apologize for that, but really, what’s the point? I’m working on not feeling guilty about, nor apologizing for, anything that happened more than 10 years ago. I’m not succeeding, but I’m trying.
So about this too much TV thing… I loved Flipper. And I really wanted to swim with Flipper. And now that we are going to Key West, I may actually get to swim with Flipper! In fact, when we first planned this trip, I thought we would finish at the Florida state line, at which point I would happily toss my bike into the ocean and rest my butt. But Dana pushed for Key West. I only relented because Flipper lives in Key West. I think. Maybe.
Yes, I know that Flipper – the star of the 1965 TV show – is dead. In fact, my college roommate did the research, and it turns out that Mitzi (who played Flipper on TV) died in 1972 and is buried in Grassy Key. So we will visit the grave, and then I will swim with Mitzi’s grandchildren. And I’m sure there is a dolphin in Key West named Flipper, because all dolphins are named Flipper (even if they are really named Mitzi). Just like all collies are named Lassie, and all kangaroos are named Skippy.
Skippy? Does anyone else remember Skippy the Bush Kangaroo? No? Like I said, I watched too much TV as a child.
Another way that TV warped my mind was that I desperately wanted to grow up to be June Cleaver. I remember explaining this to a stranger on the B45 bus on Washington Avenue when I was 4 years old. I also told her that I was going to live in a house with 44 steps, and have 44 children, 44 cats, and 44 dogs. Clearly I was very into being 4! My mother told me to sit down and shut up and stop bothering the nice lady – clearly mom wasn’t quite as in love with my being 4 as I was.
But I really wanted to grow up to be June, and amazingly, I sort of did! I certainly didn’t start out as June. I started out as an ugly, dorky little kid. And then as an ugly, pathetic college girl, getting drunk in desperate attempts to attract drunken pathetic college boys. Old joke:
Why did God invent alcohol?
Because ugly people get horny too.
But then I graduated and got a good job, and I made lots of money in high tech, but I kept searching for the man who would whisk me away and bestow upon me with the coveted role of June Cleaver.
So I married the wrong man. And then I smartened up and got divorced and married the right man. And then we had 2 kids and bought a house. With steps! In the suburbs! And we bought a minivan, the modern-day answer to the station wagon. Oh boy!
And then, to complete the picture, I quit my job. After 17 years working in high tech, I quit my job to stay home with the kids. Katie was almost 3 at the time, Bill was 6. Dana did not like the idea of me staying home. He thought I would become insane, wound up in the minutia of my tiny life. But I didn’t, and I think looking back, he’s been happier as Ward than I’ve been as June.
We will return home from our bike ride around the 17th anniversary of my quitting high tech. Which means that – roughly – I spent 17 years as a student, 17 years as an engineer, and 17 years as June. So when we get home in August, I want to find a plan for my next 17 years. A daunting task. More daunting, in fact, than riding a bike for 2200 miles.