I was in a very special time yesterday. Maybe special isn't the word, since it's not unusual. But not normal, let's say.
And I'm having fun with the noun, because we know what time is, and how we refer to it. Where is really not a helpful interrogative pronoun in this case, although the geography of time is well known to us. Where was it when you last saw it?
I just like to think of moving between time zones, so to speak. We all do it, notice the relative nature of time, understand that it's our own inner clocks that somehow get put on mute. I spent a lot of time yesterday just messing around, and I have no idea how that happened. I was in a different time.
I was actually writing a blog post, about friendship. It's another baffling aspect about my time trip: My blog post disappeared. Or else it exists in another timeline, somehow jerked away when I wandered through a wormhole.
None of this is unusual. We all lose track of time, and I'd guess than anyone reading this has done exactly the same thing I did yesterday. It was a bitterly cold day, with wind getting all arbitrary and showing up at unexpected moments, lowering the wind chill to really rude levels, and so I was inside. Still on the far end of my sickness, for what it was (it was not much, mostly weariness and lack of appetite, with run-of-the-mill symptoms and no real fever), I had nothing hanging over my head, no errands to run out there in the Arctic air. I could just waste away.
I was writing about friendship in this era, and over the course of 1200 words or so (I mean, seriously: it just disappeared) I found myself coming to an interesting conclusion.
And without rewriting the whole thing, it was that there were nine people in my life, once, among the many others I've known, with whom I had a bond. It's a common bond, understood by anyone, I assume, who's had a particularly social college career, or military service, or sports career, or really any time with any people in which there's a group effort and result. Doesn't have to be traumatic, or life-changing, or much of anything: it just has to have been together, and it has to be over.
My father-in-law went to his Army reunions until the end, until he hit his four score and 12 and the rest of them had mostly passed on, anyway. This sort of bond, which, again, you all know about.
It was just this particular bond, and how I realized it.
But wait. That's another post. This is about time.
Yesterday I started thinking about some friends who were with us (my wife and I) during one particular summer, when we sang and danced our way through our last gasp of playtime. My wife had just finished grad school and I had gone about as far as I cared to, so we weren't coming back to this little college town and this job, as fun as it was.
We worked in a little dinner theater of sorts, a regular steakhouse off the interstate that catered to tourists, and featured a singing waitstaff for entertainment, drawn from the university's music department. Not a novel idea, but fun and a nice job for singers.
I was an actor, not a singer, but the distinction is about emphasis (well, talent too). I'd done nine musicals already and knew I could sing, even knowing nothing about the subject and with no training.
Every summer, they'd pull the theater out of mothballs (it was always there, just extra seating for the restaurant), close the intervening doors, and have a two-hour show following a good dinner. The actors would all wait on the tables until the music started, and then we'd head for the stage and do our thing, all evening and all summer.
I'd done the same show the previous summer, but this one was special. A month of rehearsals plus three full months of nightly shows created a solid core of friendship, helped along by two of us falling in love and getting married right in the middle of the summer. July 30. My wedding anniversary. This all makes sense, right? My special sort of feeling?
Anyway, I was thinking about those days for whatever reason, then looking back at the years, knowing it was the summer of 1983, the summer I turned 25 and four days later got married. Still married to her. Not 25.
We had eight performers, four women and four men, plus our arranger/director and some teenager we got to play the drums, who became at once part of our core. We worked together and played together afterwards, and needless to say they were all at our wedding, smiling back from our yellowing pictures in the album.
Eight of these 10 people are on Facebook; one is a Luddite, rejecting technology but alive and apparently well, and another seems to be lost, although I have hope.
The rest of us are engaged with each other, and awfully sentimental about our summer. Yesterday I had a wild idea and suggested that, since this summer will be the 35 anniversary of not only our season in the sun, but my wedding and, I guess, the time I turned 25, might be a fun time for a reunion. The latter less exciting but needs to be mentioned.
So I posted the below cast photo on Facebook and tossed out the idea. We'll see. Lives are complicated, although at this point they're becoming a bit more flexible. We're a bit spread out, though.
I was looking at that picture, though. Thinking about still knowing these people, after all these years. Knowing who they were and who they are, knowing how they've changed, seeing their younger versions, always, in their eyes and smiles.
So I played around on Photoshop, trying to squeeze in modern pictures to place next to the older ones. I love this stuff, although it turned out awkward and needs more research and more appropriate modern pictures, which I definitely don't have the time for.
Because I started this project and have no idea how long I worked on it, but I was starving and it was dark outside and I just couldn't get Brian's jaw to line up with Kathie's hair...
And it's not like I'm a Photoshop expert (I don't actually even use Photoshop).
It's not about the picture. It's not really about the hours I spent fussing with it, finally settling on a so-so version and knowing I could do better, with better source material. And then realizing it was late, and so on.
I can get a little weird about losing time this way, so I feel pretty good about shrugging my shoulders. It happens. You get an idea, you run with it, you're not running a Fortune 500 company...hey, time is your friend.
It's just that this friend won't be here forever, and maybe that's driving all of this. Maybe I should spend that sort of time on things that bring me a bit more joy than moving pixels. Maybe I should recognize that time has passed and is limited, and do something even more proactive to try to gather with these dear friends once more.
And, you know. Maybe I should invest in a cuckoo clock. That would work, I think.