Time & Toothbrushes

It seems like it was January 5th just yesterday. I was standing at the check-out counter of my dentist, doped up on narcotics, bleeding, and leaning on Beth for emotional and physical support. I don’t like dentists, I didn’t want my wisdom tooth pulled, and I really don’t like spending money.

“Yeah! In March we’re hitting the road,” Beth was telling the receptionist, “March 20 and we’ll be living in the truck traveling the country!”

She sounded excited and all I could think about was the $800 bill I had accrued from all the dentist visits, X-rays, and now the surgery.

“Wha do you meanssh I ssshtill haff to buy da pressshription pain pillsssh,” I barely managed to mumble and hiss through the gauze, spit and blood as my eyeballs pointed in two different directions.

I had nearly $3,500 in credit card debt, a never ending stream of bills, and now this un-planned expense. Not to mention all the work that needed to be done to the camper and the truck before we left. March seemed so far away. March was when we would hit the road. March was when I’d turn 27. March was when Spring arrived. March was St. Paddy’s.This wasn’t March. This was January.

January is the month of cold. The start of a new year. Beth’s 27th birthday. My mother’s 49th birthday. My father’s 59th birthday. Other than that nothing happened in January. I had all the time in the world.

And yet, here I am tonight standing half-naked in the bathroom I’ve brushed my teeth in for the past 3 years, thinking back to January, and how much has changed. Looking forward, I won’t ever brush my teeth in this bathroom again after 6 days time. Like me, this room is half-naked: the Big Lebowski Time Magazine mirror that I am accustomed to staring at as I pee and brush my teeth is missing, same goes for the table my toothbrush and deodorant used to live upon. I make sure to scrub all my teeth as I search for my reflection on the blank wall ahead of me, and the absence of that one tooth takes me back to standing in that damn waiting room, thinking that 3 months sounded like an eternity, and that I’d have plenty of time.

Just like that we’re here. I’m 27. Beth, my mother and my father have all become older, too. The hole in my mouth has, for the most part, healed up and left me only with a tender spot for tortilla chips to attack. The motorcycle parked in front of the house isn’t the same one I rode cross country on, the camper has additions I never expected, the truck no longer leaks in the same spots, and most surprising of all – through downsizing and selling off some of my possessions, I managed to pay off my debts in full. Well, except for my student loans, but who counts their student loans, right?

It’s mildly terrifying how much change 3 months can bring, and how quickly time disappears. As I stand in my undies scratching my undercarriage, I know that choosing to undertake this adventure right now is the right choice. No question about it. If I wait, I may miss this very opportunity that for years I’ve been putting off until it “felt right.” If Beth and I don’t make this happen right now, next thing I know, I’ll be celebrating my 59th birthday, scratching my balls as I brush my teeth, reminiscing on how I thought I would have all the time in the world to follow my dreams.