I first met this fellow back in ‘89/’90, when I was a young consultant, called up to Washington DC to do whatever the partner needed. My business suit hardly masked my inexperience, which contrasted sharply with two distinguished gentlemen on the team, former Air Force Colonels, 40 years my senior and several worlds of experience wiser than I. They were kind enough to take us kids to dinner, followed by a trip to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, with a final stop to see him. I still remember Colonel Bill Neill remarking that this was his favorite monument in the city, which has no shortage of them.
I never knew where he was, until this morning when lo and behold, I ran right into him. From Dupont Circle, I had planned to run to the Lincoln Memorial and back, and as I was waiting to cross Constitution Ave, I saw him tucked away behind the bushes. I went back around, and for a few minutes, it was just me and Al alone again, looking just like he did that night some 17 years ago.
At times like these, I invariably start reflecting back: Where has all the time gone? What did I do all these years? Did I make the right decisions? Did I use every opportunity? Hell, who knows? No, I never regret any decisions, but no, I also surely didn’t make full use of everything that life threw at me. Nothing to do now but move forward anyway.
So move forward I did. Literally that is. I was motoring up 23rd street on my way back, when across from the State Department, I finally bit it. In my short running career, I’ve come close several times but I’ve never gone down. Today, I hit an unmarked, poorly repaired pothole that was now bulging with asphalt. I went down on all fours at full speed (well, my full speed), and luckily only 100-150 people were there to witness it. I had gloves and long pants on, so injuries of the physical kind were nothing to write about.