Spontaneity has eluded me for five decades

I have a very “Squirrel!!!” mind.

My wife was chuckling at me the other day because in about a 90-second span I hit her with five different topics of conversation options.

“You gonna be like this all day,” she said. She’s pretty dry in her humor.

When I’m in a good mood, I get that way. I love talking with her because most of the time we’re not on the same page and that makes for very interesting time-killing conversations on the way to St. Louis or Cincinnati.

Lee and I have been taking more brief trips lately – overnighters if you will, just to breathe and break some chains of loneliness.

By the way, if you haven’t stayed at the Axis Hotel in Moline. It’s a really nice Hilton property on a corner that overlooks the Mississippi and a modernized downtown. It’s in walking distance of the TaxSlayer Center where we watched Michael Bubble (Buble) last week. (see – Squirrel!)

I’m a huge Buble fan. I was very impressed with his relaxed approach and I loved the 30-piece band. It was a raspy, growling backdrop to the best crooner the world has right now.

Anyway, I jump around in conversations because you never know when an idea will pop up that impacts your life in a big way.

That happened to the two of us in our living room the day we were ushered off the property of the local newspaper.

It resulted in me being able to write this piece for you on a Sunday morning.

But the weekend trips have been fantastic and full of oxygen. One of my favorite things is discovering new urban settings. I love walking through tall buildings and looking for a bite to eat.

Architecture just blows me away. People have infinite capacity to create – and destroy. In my prayers I ask God regularly to remember his blessing in our capacity to create wonderful things – and to forgive our capacity for destruction. How patient that entity must be with us – and with me.

And I’m a huge people watcher. I try to picture who they are and what their lives must be. Most people nowadays have their neck craned down over a phone that is full of the day’s communication. Most also have headsets in. It makes saying ‘Hi’ to people difficult, but I can’t help but smile at them as they walk by in their social vacuum.

How different their lives must be than mine – full of daily adventures in big cities, while I wake up and access my emails with a cup of coffee in a home that’s 121 years old and made of bricks Make no mistake, I love the trees, and fall, and neighborhood walks around rural history. I love being able to wave to the people I know and have brief, but non-intrusive, conversations.

Speaking of intrusive, I’m watching the Ryder Cup on Hulu and NBCSports is doing this “play through” thing where they split screens, shut off the audio to my favorite golf event, and play commercials. BOOOO! It would be fine if those were the only commercials, but they do it like every six minutes and then go to full commercials every nine minutes. One or the other please. All about the Benjamins.

I guess the point of this week’s musings is this – don’t be afraid to take the left turn when the road says go right. Spontaneity is a good thing, something that, in my first 52 years, didn’t really appeal to me.

A short jig with my daughter on Navy Pier a couple weekends ago with Lake Michigan slapping in the background confirmed it. That followed a 10-minute siesta in a lounger on the same pier. I opened my eyes squinting to the cityscape behind and wondered how I would live if I were a billionaire. Just like that.

The world is a gorgeous place and, although we love our small town full of street improvements, growing parks, increasing retail, and a burgeoning and overdue look back at our riverfront, it’s wonderful to get away and see how the rest of the world does it – But that’s Beside the Point.

Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached at editor@pencitycurrent.com.

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