It’s weird coming home. First, you have to spend some time reflecting what home means. I’m not sure if I really think of Panama City as home, but I certainly do so of Florida. The state is very much in my blood, though, I suppose, not of. And Panama City is where I grew up and it is certainly the home of Claire’s Grand Momma. I’m not sure that’s what Claire will call Danielle’s mom, but it’s a mutable point until Claire starts talking. It seems to fit.
I’ve had a hard time the last two months watching the coverage of the oil spill. I don’t really talk about it, or at least how I look at it. But, it’s so visceral here. The oil hasn’t quite reached Panama City. Still, there’s boom protecting a marshy area in the backyard. I can see it’s beacons blinking at night from the dock. We’re here, we’re here, we’re here, we’re here. Ad infinitum. There’s a palpable fear here of the unknown devestation that the oil will bring. The local news covers it nightly with a gut wrenching cutsey titled segment: The Oil Forecast. And the outlook is grim.
We went and supported a local seafood joint. Fish and shrimp and oysters caught daily. Gandy’s. Ten tables. Divey looking place. Great food. Nice people. But, you don’t have to be a fisherman or a restauranteer to mainline impending doom. It’s hard to explain. In a coastal town, everyone feels it. It’s a way of life being threatened. Small towns along the coast subsisting on tourism and fishing dollars will waste away into asphault husks and empty buildings leaving the sun bleached skeleton of a community. I never really grokked just what it meant to say you can’t go home again. But, I ken.
Enough on that from me. But, just think about that the next time you see some truly crass politician opining about the significance of offshore drilling and the dangers we embrace. Flick over to the ramblings of a freebaser on some HBO documentary about the importance of their next fix. It’s the same.
This aside, the last couple days have been fun. Danielle and I spent my birthday travelling down to Panama City. Ten month old Claire is so much less fun on a plane than three month old Claire. Her shouty shouty game was less than a hit on the plane. Mixing this in with the part where Delta thinks the jump seats are a great place to put parents and I felt bad for the family in front of us. I believe they were from Peru and did not speak English. Alas, dirty looks are a universal communicator. On the flight from Atlanta to Panama City, Claire crawled up Danielle and I and made "I’m so cute" faces at a gentleman behind us until, I assume, he started play along. This was a mistake on his part. What she was signaling was her interest in a game of shouty shouty. What he inadvertantly signaled with his own expressions, I assume, was "Yes, let’s play shouty shouty." At which point Claire shifted immediately into her best primal shout. She was showing off. He probably flashed to one of those YouTube videos that are mundane until the screen flashes black and a white ghoulish banshee screams out of your speakers, embarassing you in front of your office mates and betraying your own time killing dalliances.
And, I say, how do you discipline a sublimely happy and proud baby? Or, at least, forebid her joyful glee? It was a long flight. But, the next day we abandoned the Shouting Princess with Danielle’s mom and Pam and lit out for repose in Destin. On the whole, the birthday flights from Awkward Hell were well worth the rewards. A day on our own. We didn’t even remember to get a bottle of champagne. We had lunch at Tropical Smoothie joint. Wandered a shopping mall, people watching. Caught a movie. And had takeaway dinner in our hotel room. We even went to bed early. And slept uninterrupted. Sweet joyous uninterrupted sleep. And, I say unto thee: it was good. Even still, a reminder of how hard it is to walk around like functioning adults free of the child burden.
We’re here now, until the 7th. Updates will be infrequent. If you’d like to keep up, I’ve been fiddling around with the Twitter. Creatively, I’ve given myself the handle WBDass. If you don’t know what Twitter is, well, say a prayer of thanks. If you don’t know, but still wish to brave the waters of the maturing social media of the 21st century, google it and dive in. The water’s fine. If you don’t know of the Google, I have no words for you. Either way, I’ve been occassionally posting pictures of Claire with the Twitter. Though, I don’t consider it part of The Life and Times, so it’s a different voice from the same man. Consume as you will or won’t.
With that, I leave you a picture of Claire, chilling at Gandy’s in her high chair, playing shouty shouty and eating a french fry. Because, dude, that’s what babies do.
She looks so calm. The deep water terror. The Jaws of the baby kingdom. Princess of The Galaxy. Fear her.