Marti heard about my day today and that I was just starting the Catch at 2pm and suggested I write about a “normal” day in the life of John. My plan was to be writing the Catch this morning at a snowboard destination in the southern California mountains while Chandler and his friend were snowboarding. We left at 6 this morning for an hour and forty minute trip, so I figured I would have plenty of time to write the Catch and get it out by 10 or 11am at the latest. That would have been a reasonable plan in anyone else’s normal day, but my “normal” day included something quite different.
Our first stop was for bagels at a shop only a few blocks from our house. We got our bagels, piled back in the car, and headed out of town. Somewhere in the first few blocks we heard a thump on the back the car. Thinking it was just the straps flying around from tying the snowboards on top, we dismissed it and drove on. After a little over an hour, we pulled off the Interstate and into a gas station before heading up the mountain for the last leg of our trip.
I don’t carry a wallet; I carry a purse — what I call a “man-purse,” or sometimes I call it a pouch. It’s big enough to carry credit cards, checkbooks, a cell phone and receipts I collect along the way. Obviously it doesn’t fit into a pocket, so I carry it everywhere I go just like a woman carries a purse. It’s convenient and well-organized, but it also puts everything important in one place so if I leave it anywhere, it’s a serious issue. So when I reached for it to get gas and didn’t find it where I usually put it in the car I started pushing stuff away and panicking. Suddenly I’m thinking about that thump we heard as we picked up speed out of town. Was it my pouch? Did I set it on top of the car to take my jacket off and open the door and forget about it? I’ve done it twice before, and amazingly went back and found it. But not an hour back and not with two disappointed kids in the back seat. We were stuck; we were dead in the water. No cards, no cash, no ID, no nothing. Chandler had $16.00 —probably not even enough to get us home.
This is when the techno power of the millennial generation can save the day. Luckily, I still had my cell phone. It was charging in the car when we went in for bagels, and I had just left it there. So Chandler started researching Apple Pay on my phone and within minutes, had me hooked up to my bank account. Fortunately the convenience store at the gas station had Apple Pay, so we were able to get gas. But a call to the slopes made it clear that the ski resort was not set up for the Apple method of payment. After seriously considering going home and doing the trip tomorrow I thought of looking up the nearest branch of my bank which was 30 minutes away. There I found out my bank app had a way of getting access to my account via the bank’s ATM machine without a card. So armed with cash, we were now able to go back to the mountain with smiles all around.
All of this took a good deal of time and deliberation. So by the time all was settled and the snowboarders were headed up the first lift, it was 1:30pm.
I must say that through all of this, Chandler and his friend maintained healthy attitudes, often finding things that were laughable, like me trying to understand Apple Pay. And here’s the bonus: Chandler really wanted to see the sunset on the mountain and do some night snowboarding. With an 8-hour pass, they got the afternoon and now they’ll get the evening in — something they wouldn’t have done had we been there early in the morning as planned. More smiles.
Shortly after Chandler was born, I wrote a song for him and the first line of the chorus went:
And his smile will light a candle that will burn in your heart.
You should see his smile today. It could start a fire. The joy of every parent is to see their child so happy.
Today was worth it if only for that.