Some Kind Of Moster

This is what three hours on Academy Bus Lines, plus 30 miles in the Jeep’ll getcha’: three generations of Wagners under one roof.

This weekend’s event is Ethan’s Christening in Stone Harbor, NJ (including a duathlon on Sunday). I left work early — and believe me on this one, that wasn’t easy — walked over to Port Authority (thinking to myself, ‘I’m awefully calm considering I have a bus to catch in fifteen minutes’), and got myself on board The Ride From Hell.

First of all, busses smell like ass. Second of all, there’s no real estate for a 6′ 0″, 185 lb. guy. Thirdly — and I mean no disrespect here — the folks on the bus are a little, well, sketch. And finally, the bus takes FOR-EVER.

So three hours and many lung-fulls of ass later, I’m in Atlantic City: World’s Most Depressing Town. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Thing is, my bus never made it to the Atlantic City bus station. Instead, it stopped at two casinos (the driver slowly handing $15 worth of credits to each rider prior to moving on) before I realized that I’m better off walking. So I did, fifteen blocks to the bus station where my mom left her Jeep for me.

That’s when it got fun. Windows down, tunes cranked, I raced towards Stone Harbor eager to make our 6:30 reservation (sadly, I got into the Jeep at 6:20, so the odds were stacked against me). 30 miles of NJ Turnpike later, wetlands all around, I pulled into Fish Tales and greeted my family — Jen’s brother Steven and his partner Ken, her father, my Mother, Father and his wife Madonna, Christofer, Jennifer, and the man, er, baby of the hour, Ethan.

I was home.

And though my parents have been in the same room maybe five times since their divorce in 1980, it was a pretty magical time. Babies have a way of bringing everyone together, and Ethan is no exception. Sitting at the head of the table, he commanded attention from ‘Hiiii!’ all the way through Bu-bye!’

And so now I sit in room #307 of The Beachcomber Inn, watching local Philly Action News (same as it ever was). Tomorrow morning we Christen the little guy a few feet from the Atlantic. And Sunday morning I run, ride, and run for the finish.

Then start the whole thing all over again.

PS – I dreampt about the ex again. In the dream, I was walking downtown, present day, when I stumbled on a box full of books left curbside for passersby. I recognized one of the covers and paused, then said aloud, “I’ll bet anyone any amount that those are the books I bought XXXX.” A coupla’ women scrambled to take the bet, and sure enough, one water-logged tome after another contained some sweet inscription I’d written her only months before. I begin telling whomever I was with about XXXX, and about her ex who in a jealous fit of rage — get this — broke my jaw for a second time. There’s more, but you get the idea. On one hand, I’m pretty puzzled by my unconscious association of XXXX, monsters, and my broken jaw (as it was for real some 15-years-ago almost to the day). On the other, I completely get it.

PPS – I never did call her.

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