Where does a wild and crazy math teacher, one who lives the rock-and-roll lifestyle, go on a Thursday night? I'll tell you where.
To the side of the freeway, out near the airport.
OK, that sounds kinda creepy. The actual story isn't creepy at all.
My son is a soldier, stationed in Washington State. His unit, as well as many others, is deploying to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, a place I've been three times. 600,000 acres of real estate, prime maneuver area and a full-time OPFOR (opposing force). In my day, the OPFOR had Soviet-looking vehicles and uniforms and used Soviet tactics. It probably wouldn't be too hard to determine how times have changed.
Anyway, to get from Washington to Fort Irwin, you have to pass right through Sacramento on Interstate 5. I can't let him pass through his hometown and not have a greeting, right? So I kept in touch with him via a phone app that let each of us see our respective locations in real time. When he told me they had stopped for a fuel break, I headed towards the airport to get a little closer. Then I crossed back over the freeway, pulled off to the side, put my flashers on, and waited.
When I saw his bus crossing the river, I knew he was only a couple minutes away. I got out of the car and stood where the taillights and flashers would illuminate me. When I saw what were obviously buses, and the only buses around, I knew those were the right ones. And my son had told me he was in the first one. Just before they passed I stood at attention and threw up a salute.
He saw me. He knows his dad loves him. And then I drove home.
Great way to spend a Thursday night, if you ask me.