All the interests of my reason, speculative as well as practical, combine in the three following questions: 1. What can I know? 2. What ought I to do? 3. What may I hope?
As they used to say, in certain Pentecostal circles of my youth, “It’s all over but the shoutin’.” The holidays are past, the candy canes and cookies and leftover ham are consumed, the new toys and games have been played with and packed up in the closet, and open season on movie-watching and general lounging shouts its final hurrah today. There’s fog in the air outside, hiding things that lay just around the corner, but within the confines of our home, the air is clear and buzzing with anticipation.
The kids return to school tomorrow after one of the longest breaks in recent years. They are restless and ready. Though they won’t openly admit it, I can see it in their eyes. There is comfort in the routine of waking early and shuffling off to the bus stop, of nightly homework and upcoming spelling tests. Basketball. Science fairs. Guitar lessons. After two weeks of “What are we going to do today?” there is a silent yet happy resignation to accept and live within the unobscured demands of The Schedule. Not that there won’t be surprises. I am the most spontaneous of dads, and get a thrill out of loading them all in the van for a getaway to You’ll-Find-Out-When-We-Get-There. Trips like that are sweeter when they fall within the realm of the unexpected; a chance to break the monotony of lives lived in predictable increments.
I also return to work tomorrow, after a two-week shutdown. Again, one of the longest stoppages many at the plant can recall. It’s no great secret that times are tough, and despite management’s hopeful prognostications that things will swing back around, there is no shortage of concern. Many people who are currently on layoff went voluntarily, which means that if things don’t pick up before too much longer, they will be called back to positions that aren’t available. And since someone has to go to make room on the floor, yours truly will be, once again, without a job. The best I can do is start setting money aside, hope for increased sales, and trust that the guys at the top are doing their part to bring in enough new business to keep the workers in the plant. Time will tell . . .
And a week from Monday, I head back to classes at IPFW. I still have a few kinks to work out, and an incomplete in Ethics to wrap up, but if all goes according to plan I’ll be taking a graduate-level course on the Theory of Knowledge and a Religion and Culture class, both of which will bring me six credits closer to wrapping up my philosophy degree. That would leave a second year of Spanish over the summer and one more semester of independent study courses before I get to walk that big aisle and receive my degrees. At the tender young age of 41. Yeah, the future looks bright . . .
But for now, I have a book to finish reading, perhaps a video game to replay, because kicking Pyramid Head’s ass is sooo much fun, and at least one more favorite movie to watch again before hitting the rack by 11:00pm. That’s a busy day for a guy waiting on deck, but there’s no better time than the present. Waiting in the wings. Before the crowd cheers at my name, I cease my practice swings, and I take my turn, digging in at the plate . . .