Friday, March 9, 2012

On Turning 40

Actually I haven't yet, but I thought I'd dispense with this post now rather than in June. Who wants to be mopey on their actual birthday? And why now, besides the obvious -- my books are finally done and I'm about to get tenure but I live apart from Jeanine so I've inevitably been taking stock of my life? First off, I remain on injured reserve, which is making me confront the obvious fact that I may be over the hill athletically (as if I don't already read plenty of studies proving that performance declines after 40, which gives me a chance to plug this great blog). The slowly healing fractured thumb is bad enough, but at least that injury was induced by manly and dangerous rollerskiing, not age. But almost two Saturdays ago now, I injured my back during the 20K xc race at White Pine. Injured as in later that night I was occasionally down for the count with shooting pain. [If anybody knows a good webpage on back pain, please let me know.] This time there wasn't one moment when something snapped -- it just seems that overuse, exacerbated by the slow and brutally cold and windy conditions that day -- caused a disc to get out of whack or screwed up a muscle or whatever. I'm not sure what I have because I'm certainly done with doctors for a while -- my post-insurance emergency room bill for the thumb is over $500. (More on that when the itemized bill that I requested arrives.) Anyway, the crappy thing is that while I injured the back skiing, the only activity that kills right now is running. So at the moment I'm trying to be mature and 40-something, as Jeanine counsels, and wait for it to heal thoroughly before I start again. The Twin Cities marathon in October seems a long way off ...

The second immediate reason I've been thinking about the big 4-0 is that last weekend I went to my friend Chris's 40th-birthday party in New York. Not that I'm complaining about that -- I turned his party into a fantastic long weekend. It's just that walking around NYC wearing a thumb splint and doubled over in back pain on the way to a 40th birthday celebration can make a guy feel old. Thursday night I "surprised" my sister Lydia in White Plains. I may have surprised her by coming to her house that night, but I had stupidly written here that I was coming to the city -- glad to know someone reads my entries to the end -- and between that and Gary suggesting that they spend Sunday, her birthday, in the city, she was pretty much onto me. Friday I had drinks with my grad school friend Ben and Jess at the Half King, my new favorite bar in Chelsea. Then it was off to Brooklyn to see Ray and Young-ah and Charlie:

Our college-era friend Fred joined us for beers, of which several were the strong Belgian variety, which made me a little worse for the wear come Saturday breakfast (if I don't start running soon I'm going to loose all my alcohol tolerance -- I'm convinced the two are connected). Saturday I met up with my Carleton friend Erich, who gave me a tour of the High Line (NYC's new above ground park and walkway).

Saturday night was Chris's party at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station -- a fantastic location and party (thanks Lauren), and it was great to see all of the Dorment generations in one place. (I've been friends with Chris and his parents and sisters since 4th grade.) After the Oyster Bar we stayed in Grand Central and went to the Campbell Apartment, a faux speakeasy in the old office of a railroad executive. A surge of people went there for a drink, but then -- getting back to the 40-something theme -- a surge of people left about 25 minutes later, at about midnight. In other words, after one drink it became "the sitter is expecting me" time. Also notice that 40-somethings have trouble finishing big $17.50 drinks (end of party photo):

Sunday morning I finally got to meet Chris and Lauren's 3 fantastic kids. They're as cute as Charlie (luckily, all my friends' babies have always been equally cute), just much harder to capture on film.

Then finally Sunday afternoon it was time to hang out with Owen and Milo, my nephews (and their parents too). Look ma, art so famous it's become middlebrow! Actually, I thought it was pretty cool to observe how 7- and 9-year-olds respond to art. I thought they would like the 1960s stuff made out of jeeps and license plates, etc., the best, but actually, they loved the classics. Guess beauty is innate. I of course am partial to Munch.

I save the best for last. As a good Keynesian, I did my part to stimulate the economy by buying into Linsanity ... right as it begins to fade. I have a tendency to buy at the top.

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