A mild November morning found me on a dirt road just outside of Redding, California preparing for a most special occasion—the wedding of our son and future daughter in law. In preparation for the festive event and while waiting on my wife to arrive, I bunked at the happy couple’s house, a rural one-bedroom loft located at the end of a winding, dirt road. It was a few days before the wedding when we took our first morning walk.
Jason stared helplessly over the hood of a leased Toyota Innova wondering where to find tampons in India. This was a topic with which he was thoroughly unfamiliar. He knew what tampons were—25 years of marriage has that effect—but was mostly sheltered from having to consider them. As his driver barreled through midday Hyderabad traffic, Jason carefully considered his options.
He crouched behind a barricade in a war-torn, pre-dawn courtyard in Hell’s Kitchen while four heavily armed men in black tactical gear patrolled the apartment complex. The wind whistled, blowing a thick snowfall and causing his eyes to water—a near white out reduced his night visibility to a few feet. The brutal cold snuck like a thief into every crack in his clothing, stealing the warmth from beneath his parka. He waited patiently, silently, his pounding heart drowning out the nearing voices. There was going to be a firefight.
As I wait on beta readers to finish with a book I’m hoping to put to print someday—a process which will yield a fifth round of editing—I find myself in search of a creative, if not slightly narcissistic, outlet. So I’m starting the blog back up. I’m told I need a voice, which I apparently lack. Perhaps a biweekly post will present an opportunity to locate said vocal direction. Welcome back.
The question is so common since our repatriation that we’ve joked about creating business cards summarizing our answers in an easy-to-read bulleted format. It’s the ice breaker du jour—a convenient, six-word sentence uttered by virtually everyone familiar with our recent two-year hiatus from U.S. residency. It’s a crowd-pleasing, comfortable, mildly depressing party question that evokes a fair bit of stammering, questionable statements, and creative explanations on our part. It’s a question you shouldn’t ask lightly—because you might just get an answer that surprises, or delights, or possibly sets one off balance in a way that leaves you wondering why you asked in the first place.