I’ve been thinking about the phrase “on cloud nine” lately.
Probably because I’ve trotted it out myself recently. When a person is in a state of euphoric bliss they often describe themselves as floating on this aforementioned ninth cloud. Practical logic aside – how exactly does one remain suspended upon a cloud, which is nothing more than a visible mass of water droplets or frozen crystals, unless they’ve got a jet pack strapped to their back? – it’s a nice little phrase that denotes pure happiness. And I don’t know if anybody has picked up on the subtle clues I’ve scattered around my blog, but I’m kinda, sorta in a happy place these days.
On cloud nine, in fact.
Which is all fine and good, but I’ve started feeling sorry for cloud eight lately. That poor guy is every bit as lofty as his more famous sibling, #9, but will forever remain in his shadow. Nobody ever talks about cloud eight. He’s like the overlooked middle child, the underachiever, the Jan of The Brady Bunch world. Try as hard as he might, he’ll never be as loved or respected as Numero Nueve, even if he conjures up an impressive lightning display or makes it snow in Florida or dumps rain on a drought-infested country or an out-of-control forest fire. It’ll never be good enough. He’s probably got a complex a mile wide.
Even his other brother, #7, has experienced accolades in the past. During much of the 20th Century, if you were happy, you were on cloud seven. How bitter #8 must feel. I’ll bet all the deadliest hurricanes and tornadoes are the result of cloud eight. I’d lash out a little too if I were him. Hell hath no fury like a cloud scorned.
What can I say? I’m a sympathetic guy. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt sorry for a cloud. Maybe I’ll try to coin a new phrase incorporating my overlooked buddy. Perhaps if I read a really good book or eat a delicious meal I’ll say “that was cloud eight, man.” Only…no, that won’t work, will it? There’s still going to be the perception that if you are only willing to elevate something to cloud eight status that it is somehow lacking. Inferior. Not as good as it could have been. “Dinner was amazing. Your pot roast was cloud eight,” for instance, is intended as a compliment to the chef but could be misconstrued instead, leaving the person who did the cooking bemoaning the fact that they were a little heavy handed with the rosemary, or the meat wasn’t quite tender enough.
Sorry, cloud eight. I tried.
Speaking of clouds, I’ve been watching them carefully all week. Tara and I had tentatively planned a trip to Boise this weekend. The kids have no school on Friday, thanks to Veteran’s Day, and she and I have reached the point in our relationship where it’s time for them to meet each other. True, she’s coming up for Thanksgiving in two weeks, but we thought it would be nice to have a fun little weekend together ahead of time, since the kids will only get to see her for a few hours the day she arrives. The capital of Idaho is a convenient meeting place, being roughly halfway between Ely and Portland (it’s 430 miles from me, 382 from her). Though we talked about this a month ago, we didn’t want to make any solid plans because the weather in November can be iffy. I have to traverse two mountain ranges in eastern Oregon, and snow could be a factor. So, we took a let’s-wait-and-see approach depending upon the weather, deciding it wouldn’t be a big deal if the trip never materialized since she’ll be here soon after anyway. The only problem with that? Missing each other during the interim. Though it’s only been sixteen days since we parted ways in Seattle, it’s been a long sixteen days. As we’ve gotten closer and closer to Friday, we’ve wanted this weekend more and more. Last night, we decided to make it official. The weather on Friday looks good. Sunday, when we return home? That’s a little more uncertain. They’re forecasting a chance of rain and snow. I don’t think it will be bad…but then again, if cloud eight is in charge, who knows? Let’s just say we want this badly enough to go for it. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like Rusty and Audrey and I are going to become snowbound somewhere and go all Donner Party on each other. If we encounter bad weather, we’ll deal with it.
In the meantime, we’ll have Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning together in Boise. We’ve got a bunch of fun activities planned. I’m excited for everybody to meet, and am confident that my girlfriend will win the kids over, and vice-versa. They’re pretty good, as far as kids go – friendly and polite, open and accepting, used to their divorced parents dating and, in their mom’s case, remarrying – and Tara is awesome. I have no doubt that everybody will get along wonderfully, and we’ll have a great time.
Cloud nine? Not good enough. I’m aiming for cloud ten now.