The universe has its sense of humor, indeed.
Two days before Charlie's first day of school, still on the heels of the wicked anxiety that has come to signify August to us, the fast food Mexican place that we have, against our better judgment and in full parental 'pick your battles' with a nervous child with a nervous stomach fashion, been patronizing very, very, very regularly for about three years -- on Labor Day, the place had a sign posted on the door, 'permanently closed.'
Nothing subtle about that.
I think we started taking Charlie there so, so much around the time we were resettling into our house after living in another Jersey town, Charlie's thymic distress had become routine, Jim taught late on Wednesdays and Charlie and I needed some way to fill the time-without-bike-rides. The occasional, as happens so often with Charlie, became the habit.
The habit was disrupted by the external force of hurricane Sandy last year. The Mexican place that was twelve minutes away closed. The other two nearby places closed. Charlie adapted to going to the same sort of restaurant 45 minutes away and we had some Jersey driving adventures.
That one place is gone now, too.
Monday night Charlie called to go nearly every other place we've ever taken him. He settled for getting Chinese comfort food -- chow fun with shrimp at a nearby restaurant.
We've got plans to try to seize the 'permanently closed' situation as gist for trying something new, slowly.
Probably the night before school starts isn't the time to be too adventurous on that front, especially when my parents, after a great two-plus week visit, went back home. Charlie got up early to say goodbye, fell asleep in his brown chair for the rest of the morning, had a superb 16-mile ride in Jersey horse country, shaked and quaked and froze on a ride back home.
'Fortune favors the bold.' It's Virgil, Aeneid, 10.284; I first read those lines when I was around Charlie's age.