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?