The past year, and this is no secret, has featured a LOT of travel for Murphy and me. A lot of it has been work-related, but we've managed to do some for pleasure, too. Our last excursion before coming to NZ was a very last-minute mission to sell a car, but that's not necessarily noteworthy. Considerably more fun, however, was the second to last excursion, also a last-minute mission, but this time across the US to visit Durham, NC. We were sitting around the house on a Wednesday evening, had a glance at tickets leaving Thursday morning, and they were -just- reasonable enough, so we said "eff it" and booked 'em. Seems like many of the best adventures begin with those words...
The impetus was the march of time taking its inevitable toll on dear friend Riley. The poor chap turned 30, and while neither his birthday nor his celebration were unforeseen, our attendance was a total surprise. I'm a strong believer in the element of surprise every now and then, and Riley's inching closer to the grave was an excellent opportunity to put words into action. So it was with immense satisfaction that we walked into his house, padded upstairs, and greeted him at his desk. Praise Allah he had clothes on and wasn't armed.
He constantly reminds me that meeting me was the worst thing that ever happened to him, and that his life, once promising and vibrant, is now squandered and hopeless, and while I have a hard time disagreeing with him, I do have to counter that the suffering I've induced in his life simultaneously builds character in it.
This is also the finest run-on sentence I've ever penned.
It's not nice to keep picking on Riley, especially given his advanced age and encroaching senility, so instead I'll just share a pile of photos from a dreary afternoon spent wandering around Durham with him, his dog Dexter, and Murphy, while Erin, his future widow, was at work.
Of course, the party was awesome, we got to reconnect with friends old and new, and we whisked ourselves back across the country a day later like it was our job. The trip perhaps served as a necessary break from the NZ prep we'd been doing, and perhaps it put us just far enough behind schedule with that to throw us into a total panic. I could argue that both of those things were necessary!
In all seriousness, Riley is a lovely friend, and there aren't that many people who could entice both Murphy and me across a country for a party. Chapeau, dude.
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