Time goes by like an out of control freight train. Whether we’re talking about how fast your kids grow up, or how fast our lives pass by it still holds true. I’d love to post about what’s going on in my life right now, but I can’t. I can’t because it involves MJ and her job and technically anything I say here could potentially have ramifications in a court of law in the future. All I can say is I’m proud of her for not being bullied, even if it means a long and expensive road ahead.
But moving on, when I get entangled in difficult times I have a tendency to think back to when life was a little simpler. Lots of people are able to look back in time and recall warm and fuzzy memories, but how many of those people knew, at that specific moment in time, they were living the good life. I’d guess probably not many. However, I tend to step outside those moments and I’ve always had an acute knowledge and realization that I was living in a Kodak moment.
Like the time when I was a kid on a road trip with my family. Sure I would’ve never admitted it to them at the time — because what teenager will admit he’s having fun with his family while touring Amish country — but I really liked us all being together and doing stuff as a family. And I knew, even at the age of 13, that college was only four years away and those kinds of vacations were nearing an end.
A few years later, while I was a senior in high school, all of my good friends went hung out after the prom. The prom itself was fun but on the way back we were all in the car, radio turned up to full blast, singing and enjoying each other’s company. At that moment, even in the midst of our senior prom, I realized how special that time was because it would mark the last time we all hung out as a group before college and going our separate ways.
And speaking of college, there were almost too many of these moments to mention. But one in particular stands out. After spending my freshman year dealing with my girlfriend becoming a lesbian and just trying to find a group of friends to fit in with, I finally accomplished my goal first semester sophomore year. I lived with five other guys in a townhouse apartment. I knew four of them well, but the fifth I didn’t know at all. His name was Lav (short for Laverty) and he was a crazy drunken hockey player. But in a great way. For the first month we lived together he called me “Chief” because he kept forgetting my name. It was 9 a.m. one Monday morning when I ran into Lav on my way to an early class.
“Where you going Chief?” he said. I told him I was on my way to class. He took one look at me, shook his head, and ordered me to drop my bag off at the house and skip class. When I asked him why he wouldn’t tell me. But even though I had never skipped class before, something told me to go along with it. So we got in his car with another guy named Lozo and we just drove. We drove to the Beverage Barn in upstate New York (where booze is exponentially cheaper) and the guys, being 21, bought a shitload of beer. Then we went back to their rundown, shithole of a house (which I would later move into) and we drank. It was the first time I had gotten REALLY drunk but it was great. We played darts, told stories and then Lozo brought out his guitar. That’s when I was first introduced to the Saw Doctors and Irish music in general.
We drank and sang all day long and I remember — just before I passed out — thinking that I would never forget that day. New friends, good times, skipping class, underage drinking and singing Irish drinking songs on the front stoop of a house that should’ve been condemned. I know it sounds kind of…well, awful when I put it that way, but it wasn’t. Especially considering most of the guys I met are still my friends today and I gained approximately 1,857 moments like that first one during my four years of college.
Now it’s different. I still get that feeling from time to time but it’s more complicated. I cherish the moments when Will is in bed with us early on a Sunday morning, crawling around and smiling while MJ and I hold hands under the covers. Those are truly great moments, don’t get me wrong. But they’re tainted in a way. Tainted by the inevitable trials and tribulations of adulthood. Tainted by crushing debt, an upside down mortgage, the threat of layoffs and firings for both of us, dealing with the clowns in the condo association, worrying about choosing between paying for gas or groceries, etc. Even though I would never give up the life I’ve made for myself now, sometimes I pine for simpler times.
A Keystone Light, a cigarette and the strains of Irish music being played by a buddy on the guitar.