I never anticipated building relationships with the parents of my childhood friends. And yet, here I am, in my early thirties with two surrogate father figures who I adore and am grateful for. Funny how small this world is, and funnier that life unravels in this way. Funnier still that both of these people are named Scott.
I guess this could’ve been called the Story of Two Scotts, but maybe that’s a chapter title for a yet-to-be-written memoir. Today, I’m only talking about one Scott. Confusion avoided!
A couple weeks ago Scott was visiting his youngest son, Sean, who underwent surgery on his ankle to reattach some ligaments after a car ran over his foot. Scott was only in town for about a week and I wanted to be sure to meet up with him before he flew back to Bali where he now lives with his wife. We hung out on the coldest evening of that week — the man walked from Bed-Stuy to Grand Central. As crazy as this sounds, I envy the view he most likely had while crossing the deserted bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
On the surface, this might seem strange. Why would I so eagerly want to catch up with a man who could be my own father, a person who’s roughly three decades my senior? This man injects a kind of creative energy whenever I meet with him. Since retiring from the Navy a few months ago, the man hasn’t skipped a beat with taking up the role as a documentarian of sorts.
With a lot of encouragement from his family, and some from me, he’s started a website, takes photos, and has grand ideas for a collaborative project a la Humans of New York. If you love the travelogue genre, Traveling Jichan is worth a follow.
This similarity in interests, hobbies, and dare I say purpose, is what makes me excited to try and meet with him when he’s visiting the nabe. The creative back-and-forth we go through, even if we’re just talking about our own individual processes and perspectives on writing and photography, philosophizing about social media influencers, and so on is enough to get ideas of our own on the table for a potential collaborative project.
In the end, this meeting of the minds with Scott is a grounding moment where I’m reminded of what really makes me tick and what I really enjoy doing but don’t do enough of.
Of course, it’s more than just being each other’s muse. Meeting with Scott is also a moment of finding a familial connection of support, encouragement, and non-judgemental outpouring of love. I’m not his kid, yet I feel like I could be his kid. His kids are lucky to have him and his wife for parents.
Here’s to you, Scott. Looking forward to our collaboration projects. 🍻
After thought: To put the relational map into perspective, my family met Scott’s family in the 1990s when we all lived on a U.S. military base in Japan. His oldest daughter, Sara, was my best friend in grade school. Sean, who I mention above is roughly five years younger than I am.
I don’t even remember the last time I saw Sara. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve seen her. In that time, I’ve seen her two younger siblings and parents more times than I’ve seen my own family.
The cherry on top? The last time I saw Sean, he was in diapers, toddling around. He now lives in Brooklyn, a hop and skip away from me and we’ve hung out to catch up the only way you can: at a CBD festival 🤣. Other times I text him to send virtual hugs and check to see that he’s doing okay. I know what it’s like to be a wee lonely in a big city like this.