I’m back in my hometown this weekend for my high school class reunion. It was great to see everyone again, but I found myself having the same conversation over and over. Even more depressing, it was the same conversation I’d had with each of them ten years earlier at our 20th. It goes something like this:
“So are you still working at _____________?”
“Yeah, still doing it.”
“And how’s that going?”
“Busy as hell. Pays the bills though, I guess. How about you?”
“So, have you checked out Debbie Schwartz yet?”
It has always astounded me that we–and by “we” I mean the whole damn human race–simply agreed that the right thing to do was go away from our families for the better part of each day to perform the same task over and over until that glorious year when we are physically and/or mentally incapable of doing it anymore. Especially considering that by the time we’re too tired to shovel that coal, we’re also too tired to carry a backpack, take a cross-country bike trip or have sex on the beach.
I don’t know what the solution is for the population at large, but I’m taking a stab my own alternative.
I did have one unexpected conversation at last night’s main event. It was with the husband of a class-mate who had spent a month in Ecuador not long ago. He asked if I knew how to speak Spanish and i said “Si.” Then he asked how much and I said “Si.”
He shook his head and I felt a lecture coming on. “So you’ve never been to Ecuador, but you’re going to just up and sell everything you own, drag your girl down there, and hope for the best without even knowing the language?”
I took another sip of my whiskey and Coke, “Sounds kinda silly when you say it that way,” I admitted.
“I think it’s great!” he said.
I exhaled as he talked about all the new experiences waiting for us down there. The three distinct regions (mountain, jungle and coastline), the adventurous food (guinea pig and some alcoholic drink fermented with human saliva), the crazy bio-diversity (blue-footed boobies and Jesus lizards), the low cost of living, deep-sea fishing, etc. He went on to say that he’d been secretly planning to hit his wife with a similar plan the moment their 16-year-old was out of the house.
At one point, another classmate overheard the conversation and expressed his own desire to try something radical. He had just one question though:
“Can you get ESPN down there?”