Friday, June 16, 2006

Lost Connections

Here's something about growing up that sucks -- and no, I'm not going to reference my rapidly diminishing scalp coverage or using the bathroom in the middle of the night.

I had this dream last night, which I won't go into, save for the fact that at one point, I found myself sitting around a table with a bunch of people I've known forever but haven't seen or spoke to in almost as long. Among them was Big Jody, formerly of San Francisco, Georgia, London and now South Bend, Indiana.

Big Jody is one of "the eleven," the eleven people in the world who've never looked at me as if I were insane. We met at a wild Doug Davidovich party in 1991, sitting idly talking about turn-of-the-century baseball players while everyone else did grotesque dances to the Pogues. Big Jody and I have discussed Platonic theory in the Wilmington, North Carolina branch of Hooters. We've gone on at length about what is right and wrong about professional baseball, and all of the unanticipated joys of fatherhood. We sit, we drink beer, we talk. Sometimes in Mexico. That's about it.

Unfortunately, since they (they being Big Jody, his brilliant and feisty wife and equally brilliant daughter whom I some day hope will be my daughter-in-law) move around often and we are often flat broke, we seldom see them.

Even worse is the fact that -- and here's where the growing older part comes in -- we don't even call or email very often. I think about this guy and his family every day, and yet, seldom have any contact with him.

And he is not alone. Pretty much everyone sitting around that table in my dream (which, oddly enough, took place in Las Vegas) is someone I think about but never talk to. When I was single and in my twenties, I routinely ran up $200 a month phone bills talking to everyone, past and present, in my life. I go through old shoeboxes of letters I've received and am shocked to find that I used to regularly write letters to people I now haven't talked to in many years.

We used to drive long distances to see Big Jody and his family. Noodles' Mom, who also moves often thanks to her husband the Rocket Scientist's employer, Uncle Sam, generally managed to live no more than 400 miles from Big Jody, so we'd take off and meet them overnight somewhere like Asheville, North Carolina. Three summers ago the Jawa and I drove the length of Indiana to visit them, but now Noodles' Mom is in exile in the desert, so we have no anchor to set out from.

I have no excuse or explanation for not emailing people like Big Jody, Smike (who since college has been busy spreading the gospel in the former Soviet Union), Cheerful Scott (lives in Germany), Phred (Santa Barbara), Brian B. (here right in SF, for cryin' out loud!), Annie F. (Seattle -- and believe you me, I owe her plenty), Little Bake (Orange) and a host of other Seattle people -- Tony, Delmis & Scott, etc.

You'd think that technology would make it easier to keep in touch with everyone, but it just doesn't seem to work out that way. I think of all of you constantly. It's just what happens when you get older.

That doesn't make it suck any less.


Anonymous flush puppy said...

Big Jody?! Holy smokes. That does remind me of the time the escalator in the crazy SF Nordstrom was almost my undoing, thanks in large part to Ken Dunque and his petit sidekick (perhaps of the people around the table?), I might add. Also, I'd be curious to know who the other 10 are.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous flush puppy said...

and wow! 16 hits already! yet only one comment. now two.

1:40 PM  
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