I have to spot you. It’s Global Positioning on a personal level. No matter how many bad meals and cramped seats in airplanes, hours waiting in airports, traffic on freeways or how much hemorrhaging money and time; I do what I must to have a tactile image of each you in your life.
I go to Illinois and hear your children play in their piano recital. I fly to Colorado to see my grandkids in their school play. There are baseball games in Northern Oregon, golf matches in Eastern Oregon and college visits in Southern California and Vermont.
It is a privilege and also a compulsion. My communication is not complete if I don’t know where you are when the phone rings; where you sit at the computer, or where the mailbox is located. I must see where you sit to read a book and stand to wash dishes in the sink.
There’s history to this that began when I could afford to follow. For instance, when one son and his family went to South Korea for a year, I got a laptop tour. He called me on Skype, carried the computer through the rooms and up to the roof top for a view of the neighborhood. It was great. But I didn’t have a REAL sense until I visited. Now I know the businesses they passed when they went to school. I can picture the metro station two blocks from their house and watch the people watching them as they went about their lives. I’ve experienced the movie theaters and hiked the trails to the monasteries. I have eaten at their favorite foods at their regular restaurants and know where they bought their green tea and rice.
Now I am on my way to Beijing. My granddaughter has almost finished her summer language course so I am late in my visit. But how will I share her experience if we don’t have the common memories of the streets, the rooms and the taxis through the crowded city. Can I really imagine the air unless I have breathed it with her? I’ve been to China before, but I haven’t been to HER China.
Well, you all keep moving. When I return to the U.S. I must see my other son in his new office. Then I’ll visit my daughter who has a new office AND apartment as she waits for her family to join her. Peripatetic is the word my father used for my family.
Dad’s wife calls me a globetrekker and it’s true. But in these travels I am a seeking connection with people I already know. My GPS is controlled by my heartstrings.
I’m on my way.