Monday, October 24, 2016
Today I turned 36. I intended to share lots of pithy, sage commentary for today. Instead I discovered that this hotel charges $15 per day for internet service. I'll eat the cost, but the principle of the thing gets to me. As I tap these words out to you, I'm staring out the window into downtown Atlanta, watching rush hour traffic slowly unclog and the sun beginning to set. I once lived here, ten years ago, and left profoundly dissatisfied. Little did I know I was a mere two years from leaving the South forever and moving to Washington, DC.
I really dislike early flights because I inevitably leave behind something (or more than one critical thing). This morning I left behind two crucial medications. One of them I was able to get filled at a CVS across the street, that is after somehow navigating the connecting tunnels that lead to shops and food courts adjacent to the city's downtown high-rent hotel district. The second medication is a controlled substance I likely will not get filled even tomorrow, and perhaps not at all. It has give me the opportunity to sleep restfully at night and I'm upset to likely be without it for the next five days.
My childhood best friend lives here, but we have been estranged for a decade. We tried living together, an arrangement of convenience which has proven to be the undoing of even the strongest bonds of friendship. He is married now, quite happily, and has a two-year-old child. I extended the olive branch towards him this afternoon by way of text message. He's kept the same cell number for over ten years. He responded, favorably, and if our schedules sync, I'll meet him for lunch either Wednesday or Thursday.
It is difficult to overstate the impact he made upon my life. We were both loners, or at least extremely socially awkward and anxious enough that we had few friends other than each other. In our childhood, we ran pell-mell into creek beds, woods, and the occasional half-finished Eagle scout project. When we were not outside playing games of sport, we fired up the Nintendo. After video game designers started making advanced machines with more than four buttons, I was no longer coordinated enough to participate.
I made the first serious trip without adult chaperones of some sort in his company. We went to New York City, a place that still intimidates me and likely always will. He mastered the subway map, I mastered communication with women from across the world. I felt very adult and worldly, but hadn't even really started to live. We went to concerts together, we smoked cigarettes together, we pushed boundaries as every adolescent does. And now we will meet again.
I used to try to hang on to birthdays as long as I could. Now that a birthday is fading away into the next one to follow, I feel that same sort of desperation. There is no way to freeze time. In four years, I will be 40, an astonishing life accomplishment. If you knew me twenty years ago, you'd be surprised I even lived long enough to make it. No need to retell that story. The best ones to come are yet to follow.