I dropped Dylan off at Gina’s house at 8:35. From there I had to stop by “tin town” and pick up a check from our newest client. We embroidered fitted hats, screen printed tshirts and polos , printed full color business cards, produced and installed custom cut vinyl lettering on their truck and office doors, and made a killer exterior sign for the front of the building…I don’t think we’ve ever had a client utilize so much of our capabilities at once, it was an awesome experience, and it was time to collect payment. I thought I’d be five minutes but as it turns out, the owner and I both have Ford 6.0 Diesel trucks and that discovery demanded nearly 30 minutes of war story swapping related to our wretched motors.
Anyhow, I was back on the road by 9:35 and had to get to south San Jose to pick up hats from the embroidery shop and then into Willow Glen to deliver the hats as well as a few dozen screen printed hoodies I had picked up yesterday from the screen-print shop. The great news about this delivery was that the client also wanted to meet with me about a really high profile print job that they were in the process of designing for one of their clients. That meeting was set for 11:00 so I was doing pretty good. I ended up getting the hats by 10:35 and pulling into the clients office at 10:55…perfect.
Everybody in the office loved the shwag, trying the garments on and posting to facebook for the world to see. For the print job, it looks like they will go with a 12 page self cover and the back cover will have a custom glued pocket to hold collateral materials. The cool part about the job is that we are going to print on a dull coated stock and then apply what’s called “soft touch” coating that leaves a super soft , almost suede feel when you touch it. Absolutely stunning stuff when done right. So yeah, everyone was thankful for the consultation and I had everything I needed to get specifications into the estimating department at the offset print shop. I wished everyone a wonderful weekend as I packed up my computer bag and then proudly announced that my beauty and I and our little guys were going campin in just a few hours. It’s funny how warmly people respond to the news of family camping vacations.
Anyhow…still doing pretty good on time, it’s 11:40 when I get back to my car so I go ahead and pound out the specs for the soft touch job into my phone and send it off to estimating so I can put a proposal together on Monday morning.
At 11:55 I start the journey back to Fremont, with the hope of quickly stopping for some mutton curry with enough time to beat Rebecca home from work so it appears I’ve been slaving in preparation for our trip all morning.
At 12:05 I’m on Lincoln Ave coming out of Willow Glen, surprised by how heavy the traffic is as I crawl towards the freeway.
I come to the light at the corner of Lincoln Ave and some side street and I’m in the left lane sitting 2 cars back from the white line. I look over and I see this little kid jumping up and down smiling from ear to ear as he scurries away from a 7eleven, ahead of his mom and brothers. He’s carrying a bag of cool ranch Doritos in one hand and a bag of regular nacho cheese Doritos in the other. To me it’s pretty clear that this is SUPER exciting for little man, the thought of owning not one bag of chips, but TWO bags of chips! I think he caught my eye in the first place because he sort of came across like my 6 year old does…buzz hair cut, plain white tshirt, whatever he ate last all over his face and the shirt…and bouncy goofy happy to be alive sort of pep in his step. He ended up getting to the traffic light and hitting the button about 40 times until he finally came back to earth, hearing his mom as she was bringin up the rear of the happy train. She was pushing a stroller with a 2 yr old blond headed boy carrying a 370 oz Slurpee, and holding the hand of what looked like a 3 year old boy with a Ring Pop and a double chin.
As the happy crew began making their way across the street and I was able to take the whole picture in, the very 1st thought I had contained a dose of pity mixed with superiority as I watched them all happily sucking down junk food for lunch with what appeared to be money that wasn’t easily obtained. Mom was skinny and fat all at the same time, the sort of physique that comes from eating plenty of food, but none of it good. Her hair was wet like she’d showered to make the trip to 7eleven and her jeans were tight in a way that did nothing other than push her body into an unnatural shape. It’s amazing how the brain takes in details, all of these smug observations were made before they were ten feet into the intersection. At ten feet, the 3 year old managed to slip away from mom and she quickly snatched him by the bicep and barked for the goofy 5 yr old to take his hand so she could manage the umbrella stroller. Faces were tightening, goofy didn’t like having to hold both bags of chips in one hand so at 20ft he decided to let Ring Pop go at it alone so the chips didn’t drop to the ground. Ring Pop races ahead in order to be 1st to get to the other side of the street, and mom is pissed as she looks back to see goofy spinning around in circles right in the middle of the intersection. Walk sign starts blinking…. Mom grabs Goofy with her left hand and at the same time the stroller takes a sharp left because the umbrella stroller has those two… well…umbrella type handles and when she went to push forward with just her right hand, it sent the stroller to the left. She let Goofy go and corrected the stroller but not before the front left tire hit the curb…the stroller came to dead stop…and the slurpee hit the ground and splattered everywhere.
Goofy and Ring Pop just stood there like stones, smiles gone. Mom hands went up to cover her face and I hear the 2yr old let out a deafening scream as the light turned green and I hit the gas.
In 30 seconds I was merging onto the freeway. 30 seconds later I was driving 70 miles an hour towards Fremont, right on time, and I was crying…hard.
Part of it was the guilt of not turning around and getting the kid another Slurpee and telling mom she was awesome for trying. Part of it was because I’d just seen a 20 second 3 act play, telling a story of hope and struggle, and tragedy. Part of it was because I had this emmense sense of empathy come over me like never before as I watched moms hands come to her face. Part of it was in response to my initial reaction to them as they started their journey across the street. Part of it was how beautiful it is to see the way simple things make people forget how hard everything is. Part of it was seeing them all being told by that damn curb that they don’t deserve good things…and part of it was just love for my beautiful wife and my own Goofy, Ring Pop and Stroller Baby.
I did in fact stop for some goat curry on the way home, then finished packing with Rebecca before hitting the road, right on time…and then I told her this story as we drove, and we both cried a little more.
It’s late at night and I’m sitting outside the camper, listening to the sounds of people enjoying their own Doritos, and Ring Pops and Slurpees as my precious family sleeps. Perhaps the curb will decide not to camp this weekend, that would be really nice.
Well, I know it wasn’t Mabeth, but it sure felt like it.