I am thankful that my life is rather amazing despite Dar. I mean, other than him, my life is kind of everything I wanted and worked for. How bonkers is that? And how does it affect his life?

Maybe no one has the life they pictured. Occasionally I’ll have a Sliding Doors moment, a bit ofMan in the High Castle, where I seem to flash on the life I thought I wanted. That happened the other day at our hotel, the Inn at the Cove at Pismo Beach. We only booked it Friday morning, trying to escape the smoke. Rushing out our front door, I forgot to grab more than one pool toy – a pink softball-sized inflatable ball. That was one more pool toy than I saw anyone else bring to our hotel pool in 5 days there. (Seemed like everyone had just escaped the Bay Area.) One time, our pink ball was just floating there, and I saw this one Mom pick it up. Her two kids, maybe 9 and 6, made a game out of Mom throwing them the ball as they leaped into the pool. Ah yes, a boy and a girl, creative-game-inventing, swimming with abandon. (One of our kids can’t do one, the other can’t do the other.)

That was just a flash. The lion’s share of my five very unexpected days in Pismo was spent feeling lucky to be watching Dar on the beach. I mean, he’s very low-maintenance at the beach. He loves just hopping around the waxing and waning tide.

Watching him with the waves, a song kept running through my head. No, I don’t believe it’s about gratitude. No, it’s not a very good song. I don’t really know why I like it. It’s from a movie. No, it’s not a very good movie. As watching the video for the song proves quite resoundingly.

“The Neverending Story” is a good idea for a book, and intermittently a great book. The NeverEnding Story is an okay idea for a movie, and…almost never a great movie. The rock man, the Jar-Jar-looking guy? Sheesh! That said, the scene with the kid riding the luckdragon through the clouds…that touches the infinite. Somehow it speaks of sublime wonder. Hiyao Miyazaki knew that. He stole that kid-flying-white-dragon bit for the most transcendent moment of Spirited Away, which is a great idea for a movie and consistently a great movie. Maybe that’s why no one noticed he stole it. (Yeah, I know flying white dragons existed in Japanese culture before; they didn’t have a scruffy canine head before the NeverEnding Story movie.)

But Limahl’s “Never Ending Story” is often a semi-great song. I can’t really explain it. It just touches me in that luckdragon place. It’s the first minute of the song that really works for me. After that, yeah, it starts to suck. But listen to that first minute as if you never heard it. The fade in. The sounds like a beach (Dar was on a beach). Then

Turn around (comment on “Total Eclipse of the Heart”? Just throwing that out there)

Look at what you see

In your face

The mirror of your dreams

(I have since learned that this is “in her face” – fork that. Too banal. I mean, the whole song is banal, but that makes this a too obvious and gooey love song. Besides I have always thought he was singing “your face” and he maywell be as a rebellion. Your face as the mirror of your dreams is banal, sure, but somehow meta enough to be slyly suggestive.)


Make believe I’m everywhere

Given in the light

Written on the pages

Is the answer to a neverending story…


(Somehow that backup vocal really hits the sweet spot between hope and fear, between sadness and awe. I don’t really know how it works, but it does for me.)

Hearing that again and again in my head, watching Dar on the beach, I kept getting that chill, you know, not from the weather, but those goose bumps of emotion at the amazing unlikelihood of any existence as beautiful as all this. But even, or especially, during all those feels, also the thinking about, you know, my tiny, tiny place in the universe, the grains of sand that Dar and I are. What does it mean? Are we part of a NeverEnding Story? Isn’t that what the believers of the great religious books need us to believe?

What is it all worth, in the end? Nothing? Can Dar be part of science, at least? Contribute to that NeverEnding Story?

Or is Dar’s NeverEnding Story that he NeverGetsBetter? Every day with him is more like another movie called Groundhog Day?

Where’s the Groundhog Day song?

And what will be my contribution to the NeverEnding Story? This blog? Some books I wrote? Dar’s brother? What will I be to someone who lives 1000 years from now? Not part of much of a story at all, one would think.

What is the great narrative? Does it change? If it doesn’t, that’s depressing. And Biblical, considering these people think all the answers were written millennia ago. If the NeverEnding Story does change, yay that it’s set in stone from something written millennia ago, but booooooo it moves slowly. So we can’t know it. We can only write some tiny tiny tiny word in a 20,000-page book that no one will ever read. Hm.

So yeah, that was me, hiding from the smoke, on the edge between overflowing happiness and existential crisis. Shining in the universe’s eyeblink just long enough to be feeling anything. And thankful. So thankful for being in the right place at the right time. Because we all are. Even Dar.

Thank you.