Saturday, July 2, 2011

maritime law

No more talk of gods, or worse: god, I promise.  I can't help myself.  I get lost in the frenzy of it all.

I went out to meet some friends for drinks the other night. It was at The Maritime Hotel in Chelsea. There is an outside bar there where we sat under the stars.  It was cool and comfortable outside and we had beers and wine, some of us had an occasional tequila.  

The experience was subtly different than my usual night out. For some time I have been going exclusively to local bars near my apartment, familiar places where I am known, and reasonably well-liked.  I had nearly forgotten about this other New York. The places where I am not known and probably never will be.  The places where people dress up to go out and chat in what is meant to be intelligent, charming voices.

There was a guy there who immediately recognized the make and model of my camera.   We started chatting and discussed the different merits of different models and my reasons for purchasing the one that I did.  He agreed with my reasoning, though we both longed for the superior full-frame models, and better lenses.

As the evening developed I ended up sitting next to an old friend. He was expressing his disappointment at our upcoming move to the west coast.  Not disapproval, but disappointment. He is not the type friend who stays in touch through email, or texting, or Facebook, or even phone calls.  He is a friend whose friendship thrives on face to face interaction.  It is something that has occurred to me in the past but never as much as it did until then.  The sudden realization that we will not have the simple and easy access to one another that we have had for many years. A decade.  Now when we see each other it will be because of a special trip that is made, time set aside to see each other, to catch up.  The dynamic of the friendship will change.

He is a buddy that I'm confident will be one of those as if "not a second had passed" when we do see each other.  But still, there are those seconds, that time, that does pass, that accumulates around us in years, lost days.  I felt my youth slipping from me, one last time, again.  The melancholy moment passed between us but the feeling lingered.  

I would be lying to say that I don't miss it, youth.  It would be even a greater lie to claim that I won't occasionally try to recapture it, fumbling with its awkward shape in my hands for all to see. Attempting to carry it on my shoulders, to make off with it in a fireman's carry, to run to the end zone and spike what's left of my life in triumph, followed by a shameful victory dance. The deafening sounds of crowds jeering...

For many years now I have heard people talk about growing old gracefully.  But it's not as if I had a very graceful youth or middle years to give me any practice.  I will likely grow old the same way that I've done everything else, with misguided fervor and obsessive abandon, but precious little resignation.

Who knows, perhaps some new year will happen upon me unsuspected and save me from myself, save me from the alternating tremors of my life, the erratic swing that binds me to a life torn mad with impulse.

I swear and beg to the gods, each and every one of them.