Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm an excellent driver


I listened to a radio show from 1952. It was a space thriller set in the future. 1987.

That was twenty-five years ago. 1987. The year I went to France, fell in love, came home, met my future husband, made choices that altered lives. If you could boil down a life, it was probably my most significant year.

In an instant, I became obsessed with the passage of time. I started timestamping everything.

MathMan and I have been living together twenty-four years. It's been thirty years since I got my driver's license. I haven't seen my family in two years. It's been (mumble, mumble) since I wore a size 8, fourteen years since I was pregnant for the last time, six years since I started blogging, three years since we moved into this house, almost five years since I last colored my hair, going on twenty-two years since I've seen Ethan if you don't count Skyping, three years since my 25th high school class reunion, nine months since I've been in Chicago, five years since I lost my head, twenty-three years since I graduated from I.U., three years since I've been on an airplane, fourteen years since Seinfeld went off the air, too long since I've seen some of my friends,  two years since I began working on the now fallow novel, six months since I've had a drink, six months since I started taking the anti-Ds, eleven weeks since I started working.....

MathMan says sometimes it's like living with Rainman. With boobs. And slightly better social skills. Read:  I can, and often do, make eye contact. And I'm an excellent driver.

My husband tries to engage me in conversation about Calculus and I want to talk about how Nabisco has gotten freakin' stingy with the cream in the Oreos. No, really. I swear the cream used to be thicker and it reached almost to the edges. Now? It's a shrinking circle of delicious fat and sugar. Life is so unfair.

More idiot than savant, I became so enthralled with our past that I created a Spotify playlist so I can immerse myself in the early 1990s while I work. Pathetic? Perhaps. But so many of my mistakes were ahead of me, you know? The naivete of potential and a seemingly endless future are enough some days. Enough is nice.

Six days in a hotel with airline pilots brought my six months without a drink to a swift and bubbly end. It isn't so much that they're hard to be around - they're actually quite delightful even when they're busy making sausage.

See, each night they host a hospitality suite with a well-stocked bar. Tough gig, right?

In light of that stifling pressure, my alcohol fast dove head first into a sparkling glass of Prosecco. Chloe gets some of the blame, too. She joined me at the hotel for the evening and we finally had a drink together. Strange on one hand, really cool on another. Daughter peer pressure. Having her holler Chug! Chug! Chug! and make chicken noises at me was too much for me to resist.

And then I realized that Chloe is closer in age to some of my colleagues than I am. Excuse me while I schedule a Botox treatment.


I was just sitting at the kitchen table having lunch with my colleagues at my first real job. They were telling me about how cool it was to be post-menopausal. Sex without consequences! I listened politely, trying to keep the horror from showing on my face. That was 1990 when the idea of being their age (over 45!) was as foreign to me as the idea that I would one day resort to eating Dominos Pizza because it was so easy to order online.

There was a time when I would have eaten liver before I'd touch a Domino's Pizza because the founder was such an anti-reproductive rights bumblenut.

Time has a way of making us reluctant believers, hypocrites, sinners against ourselves.

By Friday night I'd taught my favorite bartender how to make a Monaco, relearned the secrets for warding off a hangover and embraced my inner beer drinker. There may have been karaoke, hijinks at Zocalo (try the guac), my successfully wheedling the stories of how they got their nicknames out of a few pilots, and cigars. However, I'm bound by a confidentiality statement so....

The good news is that the days spent in the hotel were productive. The bad news is that alcohol is still made up of delicious, empty calories, still likely to cause mild silliness and will definitely alter the passage of time if you consume enough of it.

Which brings me back to the beginning.

Imagine 1987 as the future and not the shrinking image in the rearview mirror. What do you see?

28 comments:

  1. ha i remember those cartoons about the days of the future...1987 was a good year...for hair bands...bet they did not see that coming...dang those oreo filling hounds...they were thicker once...and i wasnt...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved the cartoons depicting the future, Brian. The flying cars and moving sidewalks. Very Jetsons.

      Which makes me wonder if maybe Nabisco is in on the secret. They're cutting back on the the Oreo cream so we can actually get off the ground when we finally receive our jetpacks!

      Delete
  2. Wrestlemania is so cool and awesome I just know they will do one every year for the next 50 years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilarious! Bill, you and my brother would get along very well.

      Delete
  3. That was the year I graduated from college, my best childhood friend committed suicide, and I continued to stay in a relationship I should have ended the previous year. My memories of that year can be summed up in a single word: SUCK. Still hard to plow through that mound of suck, mostly because every time I picture myself there, I want to go there, find my younger self and his me so hard I suddenly have a pain in my face.

    Then again, 1987 was also the year I saw Mostly Mozart at the for-real Lincoln Center and even did the Curly Shuffle across the courtyard like Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, so that was pretty awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geoffrey - that sounds like a full year indeed.Good and bad. And I hear you about wanting to sock past self. I would tie 1987 me up, lock her in a closet and leave her to think about applying herself for a change.

      Delete
  4. 1987 was the year my sister went into drug rehab and my personal high school torture squad had been expelled or incarcerated, and my best friend received a car for her birthday so I didn't have to take the school bus anymore. And I only had one more year of orthodontics left before I stopped setting off metal detectors.

    It was a very peaceful year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, that does sound calm. Calm after many storms. I suspect you earned a good year.

      Delete
  5. I love old radio shows from the 40s and 50s. Cop shows, creepy horror shows, even a few comedies. I was elsewhere in the 80s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love those old shows, too, Deloney. Suspense, X Minus One, Lights Out, The Shadow and The Whistler. Your's Truly, Johnny Dollar and my favorite comedy The Jack Benny Show. The station I listen to does a great job with variety.

      As for you in the 80s? If the photos are any indication, a good time was had by all.

      Delete
  6. Imagine 1987 as the future and not the shrinking image in the rearview mirror. What do you see?

    Do you remember Black Monday?

    I was working for an NYC investment house, in the futures department.
    ~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do remember Black Monday, Thunder. Strange days. I had no idea you worked in NYC much less back then. I can't even imagine what that must have been like.

      Delete
  7. Well, let's see; I was a year away from [major life-changing event], two years from Pro Job, five years from getting my degree, seven years from moving here, and several years from the series of people dying. So I'm in the mid-30s, I am somewhat astute about money, and sometimes, my plans actually work out. I'm in therapy, I've been weightlifting and running and walking, and I'm in great shape. I have bookstores (some of which will not be there in ten years) and friends and a large city that loves me.

    1987 was Not Bad, Actually.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. D. - You definitely had all the wind at your back in those days. It sounds wonderful, full of possibilities and success.

      Delete
  8. What a gorgeous spinning post! And moi aussi I am also an excellent driver (I think). Gosh 1987 I can now feel it. It was the year I was married. To the man I left some 9 years later (I do everything in nine year intervals - hell there's one coming up and I'm restless). We had moved to Milan from Paris where we met (were we there at the same time?) and it was either get married or go back to Australia. We did. Oh gosh what a ride. You've really stirred up my brain this morning! Xxcat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Cat! I think we're about the same age, aren't we? I know what you mean - that was the year that all these huge decisions were made. Some stuck, some didn't.

      I so want you to write a memoir. What an interesting, international life you've led so far.

      Keep us posted on your next 9 year adventure. xo

      Delete
  9. Oh, wow. 1987. My sister graduated from high school and moved Very Far Away. I made Regionals in high school track (Shot Put, baby!), then nearly overdosed while trying to 'fix' a severe headache.

    It turns out that taking an entire bottle of Excedrin and 1/2 bottle of Percogesic in less than a week is "too much".

    My parents were convinced that I had a brain tumor and upped their insurance policy on me. I was later diagnosed with severe Cluster headaches, and given an excellent medication that combined Excedrin with barbiturates. I spent the rest of my sophomore year slightly high.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my word, Karen. You mean we almost lost you and I hadn't even had the chance to "meet" you yet?

      What a scary year. Maybe it was a good thing you were a bit "numbed" to it.

      Delete
  10. Garage Days Rerevisited, Among the Living, and the chick from East Canton at the waterpark who I got along famously with for the day, exchanging addresses and a total of one letter each because internets what's that before we both vanished forever into the ether.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Summer love, Randal? I had no idea you could be susceptible to it.

      It's nice to see this sweet side of you. Mwah!

      Delete
  11. resort to eating Dominos Pizza because it was so easy to order online.
    What, no Papa John's in the area?? We already miss Papa John's pizza as it was so easy to order online and only a few minutes drive up Buford Hwy to pick up.

    1987 was the year I got to work in Hawaii for a few weeks, NICE!! Hang loose!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kulkuri, We're out of Papa John's delivery range. Nuts to us.

      On the other hand, your time in Hawaii sounds delightful. Even if it was for work.

      Delete
  12. in 1987, I was 12 years old, and my whole world was about to change drastically!

    ReplyDelete
  13. In 1987, I had no idea just how unhappy I'd be during much of the following five years. Maybe it was payback for seeing (and singing along with) REM when they first performed 'It's The End of The World As I Know It and I Feel Fine' Things were better by 1992.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't wanna look! But I ADORE your timestamping.

    ReplyDelete
  15. 1987 . . . I turned 16, got my driver's license, made the cheerleading squad for the first time and thought I had finally made it with the cool kids, saw Bon Jovi from the 12th row on the floor of the Rosemont Horizon (as a former Chicagoan, you may remember it) and learned what real heartache was. It was also the last time someone told me they loved me. Someone I wasn't related to, that is.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You are a brave woman. I'm afraid to look at this part of my early adult (late teen) life. I'm working with childhood and adulthood and conveniently leaving out the middle for now. Too many crimes of the heart, and pure idiocy, to think about at the moment!

    Suffice it to say: much fun was had, a little damage was done, I survived.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I embrace my inner beer drinker mostly sorta kinda nightly. Gotzta get the lint outa the belly button somehowz. Remember 1987? Nope... it was full of diapers and full diapers and wet diapers and diaper coupons. 1987 was a shitty year, lemme tell you.

    ReplyDelete

And then you say....

(Comments submitted four or more days after a post is published won't appear immediately. They go into comment moderation to cut down on spam.)