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Saturday, February 28th, 2004

Time Event
10:39p
Son, can you play me a memory

One boiling, sweaty night in 1990 I was working late at Six Flags Great Adventure; I had a food service spot and so had to wear dark, heavy clothes that made July all the worse. I took my dinner break, and while eating a lousy, greasy pizza and drinking Diet Coke came on the radio Billy Joel's Piano Man.

I'm sentimental, and can get attached to anything. One of them is now Piano Man; even a few bars of it and in my mind I'm sitting back in Jackson, New Jersey sulking through the heat and sulking at my coworkers and preparing ripostes I never said to my supervisors. I see myself there, and now, and take stock of how really much happier I am now. Often times I've heard Piano Man since 1990 flash through me as well, and I can see my life as a progression of themes, or in this case theme. Or I can see it as a tangled web, centered on that stimulus, and see all the times my life passed that same point.

That's not my only time-binding moment. I've collected several personal anniversaries like that -- August 22, November 12. February 28 is now one of them; it's the day last year that I last lived in Troy, New York, a city with ... plenty of problems but an inescapable charm. I was back for graduation, but otherwise haven't returned to a place that still feels strongly like home.

How does this year compare to last year's? Following the general arc of my life things are for the most part better. (It's easy for me to stay cheery; happily most of my problems are little and ordinary ones.) My job is doing about what I'd hope to do. I'm living in a city I find endlessly fascinating, which doesn't snow on me, and which has good enough public transportation I can read instead of drive everywhere. I'm paying down student loans and filling some old denied purchases while still saving, even if I never think it's enough.

Three loved ones walked out on our friendship, but two of them have apologized and we're trying to make amends. It's still awkward but I love every moment of trying to rebuild. The third, we'll see. My collection of odd LPs is off in storage, but I've picked up a few eccentric CDs that satisfy me too. (The Best Of Allan Sherman is playing right now.) I've listened to more old-time radio and I go to the zoo every few weeks. I'm nearly two-thirds the way done writing a textbook, and I'm even happy with about two-fifths of it. And I do hear more old-time radio, which is delightful and makes a lot of old cartoons make sense.

My parents had medical scares, but came out of them in flying colors and on the Atkins diet. Two siblings are getting married in the coming year, meaning I may earn enough frequent flyer miles to take ownership of United Airlines. I've started wearing grown-up clothes, or at least dressing more formally than a broke graduate student does, and noticed I look a lot better in stuff that has a discernible collar. My artistic skills are still rudimentary, but I hit stuff that looks like something on purpose more often.

Overall, a pretty good year. I don't know why I ever whine, really. I'll give another summary come August.

Trivia: The year we know as AD 4 was not a leap year. After Julius Caesar's calendar reform the priests misunderstood the new rule for several decades, and Augustus Caesar cancelled leap years through to AD 8 to repair the damage. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, E. G. Richards.

Currently Reading: Astounding Days: A Science Fictional Autobiography, Arthur C Clarke.

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