ROCHESTER, Minn. -- This guy runs toward us with red-white-blue adornments and no shirt. He pitches to the side of the path and sits down, bent at the waist.
"Are you okay?" I ask him.
"No, I'm going to die," he says.
"Do you need water?" I ask.
"No," he says. "I have water. I think I've run 29 miles."
It's hot, man. Wicked hot. Like, when you stand still you can feel your blood's rolling simmer. The old man got lost running the Med City Marathon. Now, all these hours after the complimentary fruit has been put away, he's planning on finishing regardless of if his soul is still connected to his body on the homestretch. He got lost, he says.
"I think it's over?" I tell him.
He shakes his head. "I don't even care."
Okay, that really happened on Day 2. But still. It happened on our vacation.
We take the PBG to a zoo near Byron where there are things like Canadian Lynx, Bison and Deer. She's nonplussed about a Bear so big and fur-filled that it seems like his Rawr would blow your hair back. The highlight is a goat, which she pokes at with her pointer finger before he laps at her leg.
Hand sanitizer, meet leg.
Vacation is exhausting. The PBG has an unprecedented level of mobility and refuses to be contained, be it in arms or strollers. She's examined every cranny of this house and now is tripling back to some of her favorite things: glass candle holders, potted plants, a CD collection that she likes to consider disc by disc.
(Turns out Ma Pista is hiding a Mandy Patinkin collection).
We fall asleep on the guest bed. She's barricaded by a wall of pillows and me, holding her foot in my sleep.
Worst park ever. The makers of this space have dumbed down the swings so they are slow and jerky. I blame American Parents. The PBG hates it. No wind in her hair, bugs in her teeth. Just the rubber-y creak of boredom.
We set her on the top of a slide and take turns dropping her into the other's hands. She shrieks at the top, looks pensive at the bottom. It's like she's a fun-taster, a slide connoisseur, rolling the experience around on her tongue.
I get carded at Trader Joe's.
"Seriously?" I ask, genuinely excited.
I pull out my ID.
"Oh. I bet you card everyone," I say.
"No," she says. "I don't."
(Must always wear bib overalls).
The PBG hates grass, loves wind. This heat is oppressive.
Ma Pista has begun collecting photographs of the PBG, which she has filed on her iPad and turned into a slide show. Every time I send her a photograph I hear her chuckle at the image, followed by the beginning of the song "Beautiful" by Carole King.
TV news has a story about Smart Phone Finger and Mouse Tendonitis.
"I have Kindle Foot," Chuck says, his toes spread wide.