This has not been much of a holiday weekend. I worked Saturday, and had a few side jobs today that kept me out until the early evening. Tomorrow, I hope to do something relaxing, before my three day pre-Maine grindhouse.
Perhaps because of the Memorial nature of the weekend, I was quite contemplative today. Most of my running around was in upper Weschester, and, due to the nature of travel in this part of the world, that necessitated a vehicle. My folks were nice enough to let me borrow one, but that meant walking around places I once haunted, and now mostly reminisce over.
In a single day, I visited:
-the first bar i was ever thrown out of, and later banned from. It is a nail salon now. Talk about a letdown.
-three places i almost died… All were vehicularly related, and all near misses (two got me into the hospital)
-the spot where I lost my virginity
-the first house I lived in after my folks’ place (I was at their place too)
-the house I lived in with my first fiancee
-the server room I built up from nothing but a card table and a power strip
-the pool and pond I frequented every summer for over a decade
– a 7/11, which has been the only thing consistently open in my parent’s town for my lifetime
It is a lot to contemplate in a day – all the might-have-beens and odd twists of chance and fate. On the way out of the 7/11, I was asked by a local kid (who, in hindsight was probably not born when I was pulling similar tricks) to buy him a Dutchie, which are now almost 2$. I obliged, enlivened, somehow, by the exuberance of youth and pot in opposition to the weight of time weiging on my contemplations.
The event I worked yesterday was for the 30th anniversary of CU’s graduate program for Arts Administration. There were several speakers (one of whom was the founder of the program), but in all the speeches, there was one speaker in particular, whose words resonated with me.
She was talking about dichotomies, and how often, people feel the need to choose between extremes – rigor and creativity or nurture and nature. She visualized these dichotomies, during her speech, using her hands, holding them far apart vertically, she visualized the weight and distance often generated around such decisions. To show how she dea
lt with such situations, she brought her hands around 90 degrees, into a horizontal line, then brought them together.
This gesture (some of her speech was about dance and gesture, and how the two were historically interrelated), to her, represented the way to overcome a lack of willingness to compromise on seemingly disconnected extremes, perspectives, or agenda.
My memory road wanderings left me thinking about this point in her speech. I cannot regain the trappings of youth, but, at the same time, the knowledge and perspective I have traded that mantle for are quite dear. The continuing payments required to maintain that upkeep are what make one yearn for the freedom of youth, perhaps, but the powerlessness of that time in life was almost like a slap in the face outside of 7/11.
I am trying to be the joined hands of these two ideas – youthful memory and cynical experience. There is a middle ground, but it is transient, like a rainbow or fogbank. You cannot dwell there, only occassionally glimpse and reminisce as your heartstrings dance.
To all those, before me, and now, who gave of their lives, or gave their lives, so I can work and walk and think about all this, there are no sufficient words to adequately encapsulate the debt incurred in that exchange. Suffice to say that my meanderings, and the memories of all those intertwined in them, as well as the livleyhoods of all those close to me, exist at the whim of your sacrifices. For that, there should be more than a paid vacation day of barbecues. Accept my paltry thanks, and hopes that when the check arrives, you are/were satisfied with how the bill is paid.