Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Stuck in the middle with you….

Two of my best friends live at opposite ends of the United States. For those of you not familiar with Oblivion, we are, of course (where else would you expect a place named Oblivion to be?), just left of center in this I ‘tis of thee, sweet (yet slightly salty) land of liberty.

I have come to realize that Oblivion is a hard place for all of my friends, and by default our friendships (due to my present proximity to Oblivion) to deal with. To the people I’ve known that have now moved away, this place is a reminder of all the things they never became. Here, the only thing to do is dream of other places and things bigger than you. Imaginings that someday you will leave and do all the things you’d always hoped. Not that any of them are unsuccessful, quite the contrary. One is a geologist, another pursuing a Ph.D., yet another teaching and working in a highly respected art museum, the list goes on and on.

But when they were here, when our friendships were wired with late night coffee buzzes and reckless talk of our futures, the geologist was an aspiring actress, the Ph.D. was moving to the French Quarter pursuing dreams of freedom, the teacher was off to art school with visions of Pollack in his head, and I was stuck in the middle with them. And, I was stuck in the middle with them. A warm place with smiling faces and laughter, cigarettes, driving junky cars, drinking cheap wine, full of teenage angst raging against the “system” of conformity, listening to (what felt like) revolutionizing pulse pounding alternative music, dropping acid, discovering our minds, discovering our sexuality, going to concerts (some of the best), talking until our dawn, and more glorious laughter.

I thought the day would never come when I would smile back on my teenage years and declare them the “best days of my life”. At the time, those days seemed anything like the best. If I actually dared to think then that those days were the best it was going to get, I probably would have successfully opened my wrists with a razor blade. Now, one month from my 30th birthday, I am not ashamed to say that they were fabulous times.

I am a collector. I always have been and I probably always will be. Not a collector of things, but a collector of memories, feelings, experiences and happenings. I am the one who remembers collectively for the groups of people in my life. I am the one who recalls those hopes, and dreams we all had. I am the one who remembers what we did ten years ago on someone’s birthday. I am the one who had the camera there and still has those pictures. Ask me what I did yesterday and I can’t remember, but once things pass out of the short-term memory mark and hit the long-term vault, I’m golden and will remember it forever (All those drugs I took in the Sixties).

Nothing and no one has turned out to be like they thought. Presently, I am lucky to talk with a friend or two every few months. I am their memory of a carefree time and place, in the flesh. Sometimes the transition between the past and present is too hard of a bridge to cross again and again.

I’ll have to finish this thought later….


johndamuffin said...

I was feeling quite desperate when I turned on the computer. Lost again. Then there's you with a new post that's all about identity and lost dreams and growing older and looking back, and I feel maybe more shattered now than I did before. Did you know you could reach across the internet and open up old wounds - and not so old wounds - in someone who's never met you?

But I like the notion of being a collector of memories. I hope you finish that thought.

Sublime said...

I was feeling quite desperate yesterday also when I posted this message. Thanks for the comments, it's great to know what other people think about my writings and if anyone else can relate to them.

Chin up, in another 100ish years or less we'll both be dead. Might as well enjoy the experience of emotions as they present themselves.


johndamuffin said...

You won't believe it but the other night I was entertaining exactly that thought, the "We'll all be dead a hundred years from now and none of this will matter" thought. I nearly voiced it to David but stopped myself in time. A 14-year old is entitled to his angst, I guess.