…It strikes me odd how fast 25 years flew by. I have decided it is a function of age and perception of time. Looking through the eyes of my four year old, I see that a year comprises 25% of his life and proportionally, that is almost 12 years in my life. A lot happens in a year of a 4 year old, and a lot happens in 12 years to a 46 year old, but a year slips by to me like a month does to my little one. So each year, being proportionally a smaller part of my experience, goes by faster and faster, an unwanted acceleration.
We’ve lost some dear classmates…. They still live in my memories, but their absence on my contacts and my Facebook gives me a daily measure of the value of my time here and now. Their remarkably full but brief lives make me believe that living is not just not being dead. Every reunion after the 10th is as much about mortality as it is about taking measure of each other’s progress. It fouls the air with its musky perfume.
I concluded after the last reunion that people don’t really change, but the guys really can gain weight and lose their hair. Everyone should take a look at their weight and work very hard to get back to their Freshman year weight. You will be easier to look at, and you will be healthier and less of a burden to the pedicab driver next time you are in Phuket. Can’t help with the hair.
I think that television programming caters to this middle age navel gazing and explains nicely the current popularity of zombies and meth chemistry. Do you struggle to avoid becoming a zombie or have you have you unwittingly joined the undead? Do you make choices that help others or just yourself? You knew that head on the turtle was rigged to blow but so often you will grab it just because, no? Spoiler Alert –Walter dies. Or was the whole last episode was a fever dream as he froze to death inside the jacked Volvo in New Hampshire. Which isn’t that bad of a way to go.
Speaking of ways to go, would you help your fellow classmate if you ran into them in the post-apocalypse? As you stare at them unblinkingly through the reticule of your rifle, do you ask, “what House were you in?” as your posse dispossesses them of water bottles, tents, and a few cans of Spam. Nice shoes. Do you invite them in, or give them back their water bottles and shoes and send them along, or do think you will need more salt. I would like to think that an invitation would be the sensible thing because we humans are social animals and survive best in bands of trust and kinship, which I assume is a given among you, my brothers and sisters. Unless you lived in the Quad, then at best you might make a passable sopressata.
I recently visited Calabria, speaking of sopressata. Looking out on the sea, with the Aeolian Isles in the horizon, I thought of Odysseus and how he really took his time getting back home. I thought of Saracen Corsairs picking out good spots to land where they could avoid boiling oil showers, and thought maybe they tried the sopressata despite the injunctions if they were curious enough, curiosity being a kind of hunger. I can’t say I understand the meaning of life after that visit, but I can assure you I came a few steps closer staring out onto the sea under moon and stars with the hot Saharan wind pushing you away from the edge of the ruined battlements.
My meaning of life is written in the sweetness of a baby’s breath, the soft kiss of your wife, the sturdy pride in your children’s accomplishments. It is in seeking friendships that aren’t metered in banal Likes but in thoughtful actions. It is to serve the world at large. It also is to buy the latest iPad because you can. And sometimes you take the long way home because you want to, because the car drives nicely. And you try the sopressata, chased with a Zantac…