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September 16, 2009

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I hadn't planned it, but I got the full 24 hours out of this birthday, awake before midnight due to jetlag and I couldn't force myself back to sleep. Riding through and past the farm fields of my ancestry in the morning haze, the smell triggered memories older than me. You're supposed to freak out when you turn 40 but I took it as just another mile marker on a road that was rolling before I was born and will continue long after I exit. 40 laps around the sun equals roughly 23,336,000,000 miles just to end up in more or less the same place. 14,610 days. There aren't many I remember distinctly. I guess that's OK. Today was aimless. I bought two bottled beers, rode the train to Prague and met Honza and Zuzana at Namestí Míru, then helped Honza get his wheelchair-bound friend Marcel and his stuff cross-town. I thought doing something selfless was good symbolism for the start of a new decade but I'm probably still selfish as ever though I long to be of service. I got on a random tram and rode it to wherever, then got off and walked, nowhere to go and all day to get there. I meandered back to familiar territory and surprised Thea, a fellow American, at her office. We met in Prague 15 years ago almost to the day; I left, she stayed. We went for coffee then I accompanied her to daycare where we sat in a playground and watched her daughter play among 30 or so other tykes. It did not stir my dormant paternal instinct. Let it sleep. Then I walked alone up to Letna beer garden and met up with Honza, Zuzana, and Marcel. We sat in the grass and I picked up cigarette butts in a radius around me, a small circle of clean. I didn't do some things I'd planned and did do some I hadn't. That about sums up the first 40.