It was incredibly hard to sleep the other night. Driving home from the Valley in the pale blue glow of my overheads seeing how much I could let my vision blur without endangering the indigenous metal and rubber creatures of the 101. A wave of nostalgia pours from the speakers and funnels into my ears like quicksilver. I’ve been murdered by memory.
Some old Badly Drawn Boy, some music I had put away for a while. The perverse beast that is satellite radio. One of the saddest things I ever wrote I wrote to this song. Once played it a dozen times in a row. Magic in the Air. I remember smoking cigarettes in my dorm room before I got addicted to them and had to quit 6 years later. When it still felt fancy or self-loathing in that artsy way, before I learned to deem all art as false and all attempts to be artsy a cry for help. More appropriately, a cry for attention. Might be a bold statement from a writer, but let me be the first to say, this writing isn’t art. At worst it is a waste of your time, at best, a conversation.
I remember the white smoke under the light of my desk halogen. My roommate down the hall would complain about the smell and I’d retreat to late night lonely campus haunts where I would think about just about everything. I’d think about how I started compulsively breaking rules and living outside the margins so I could see the road I was walking down more clearly. Spent a lot of time wandering and making ill-advised phone calls. Even watched a house burn down on the Row at one point and thought “what a show, what a night”. Laughed my ass off each time.
It’s such a less turbulent time right now. I am trying to enjoy it. All of it. My tastebuds and my long runs through the city. My girlfriend’s enthusiasm and pension for knowing everything that is going on in this city. My parents and my health and my plans. My friends. If you are still reading this, that means you. Even if you don’t think it does, it does. We, in fact, are friends.
Passing Universal City and Toluca Lake and it all makes a little more sense. I used to be a lot softer. I left things too early. I stayed places too long. This nostalgic bastard living in me was fogging up my rearview mirror. You must defrost!
Sometimes I can’t believe you all read this blog, but I am old enough now just to be grateful that you do. All the nice emails and comments make me feel good. I mean, the hate mail makes me feel good. People get confused thinking life is the main event, it’s just practice. There’s no main event. This is it. You can make lots of mistakes and if you are able to admit them, you’ll be fine. Most people refuse to change when they should make it a passion.
If you are comfortable with change, being completely embarrassed, totally wrong, full of shit and openly uncomfortable, no one out there will be able to shake your stride. You will be an impermeable mound of imperfection, the way the powers that govern the universe intended. It’s all just practice, friends.
I’ve gotten back in touch with a lot of great people from my childhood, my high school, college and even old jobs via this blog. Everyone is growing up, nesting or deciding not to, starting families or changing careers. It’s pretty cool out there. This may go down as a truly great summer.
I guess what I am saying is if nostalgia is what comes out of looking back, then life is worth turning around and looking forward to.