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Welcome to the future

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

There’s a post over on Squublog about life and time and whatnot that really got me thinking, so I think I’ll post some of my thoughts here. First, though, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. 2007 sure sounds futuristic to me, and it’s sort of hard to believe it’s here.

Squub hit on some interesting points, but this one part sums things up pretty well: “If I always knew when I was doing a thing for the last time I’d spend every minute sappily bemoaning the passing of an age. What if I could decide to be twenty four again and …”

Both these sentiments are things I’ve experienced in general, but particularly recently as a part of my quarter-life crisis. I’ve felt an increased sense of nostalgia, even for some aspects of the lowest points in my life. It’s so easy to only remember the good things and forget about the bad ones, or even to view the bad things in a good light in hindsight.

I think about when I lived in the ghetto, across a big fence from an all-but-abandoned apartment building where a crazy Jamaican guy named Dread lived. Dread constantly had a joint in his mouth. He had a ladyfriend on the south side, and a Jewish woman from Skokie would, for reasons I never understood, drive him to the south side to see her.

Sometimes, I even miss taking the El around Chicago, which was almost always an incredibly frustrating experience in practice. But trains are inherently cool, and being able to look at various neighborhoods — including many where you wouldn’t want to walk — from an elevated position was pretty cool. It was a fascinating cross section of city life. I tend to forget now about the bad parts: waiting 20 minutes for a train and watching three go by in the opposite direction while standing on a platform in -30 degree windchills, surrounded by shady characters and hipsters and mothers with four children and no father in sight.

It’s also interesting how you can reconnect with these experiences. Dread used to throw movies over the fence for me to borrow, without my asking for them. They always turned out to be terrible, such as The Perfect Fit, a movie about a couple who would kill for the perfect pair of blue jeans — in fact, the woman couldn’t get off otherwise. Then there was the one about a Jewish woman falling in love with a Nazi (described as a “chick flick” by Dread). But best of all was Contaminated Man, a “bio-thriller” that has to be seen to be believed. I can’t possibly do it justice, but Sarah got me a copy of Contaminated Man for Christmas, and even though the circumstances are completely different now, watching it still takes me back somewhat to the time Dread threw the movie at me from the balcony of the adjoining building, and Sarah and I watched it on the couch that my roommate Josh and I had struggled to haul up from the alley behind our apartment.

I was going to write more about nostalgia, but it’s not really necessary because even if I do feel some at times, I know that I’m much better off now. I’ve got the greatest woman in the world, a good job, I’m close to my family and in a beautiful place. I wouldn’t trade any of that to go back to any previous point in my life. But I will continue to think about the past and try to reconnect with it in some ways, whether it’s by watching ridiculous movies, listening to CDs I listened to at that time, riding my bike, or making occassional trips to the other places I’ve lived (this is something I haven’t done yet, but need to at some point).

4 Responses to “Welcome to the future”

  1. i, squub Says:

    This is a very cool post. It’s too bad trackback isn’t really working at all right, and I don’t even know how it’s supposed to work or where something’s broken.

    You’ve illustrated some points about this that I didn’t even make, or don’t think I made. The way that I see things in my past is sort of like everything is sepia-toned. There’s a nostalgia for things I probably didn’t actually enjoy living through.

    And it’s not all a bad thing; a lot of times it’s not a bad thing at all. It’s great to be able to recall things in a pleasurable way. I get a high from that strong feeling of nostalgia that I can’t get any other way. Sometimes, though, I really wish I could just go back and re-live the shit.

    Your descriptions of the things you miss are dead on. I can feel the nostalgia in them, which is an odd thing. Like I have a nostalgia for your past, not mine.

    Something something. My head is stranged.

  2. furiousball Says:

    Just don’t relive your Foreigner-Loverboy phase if you ever had one.

  3. Bud Buckley Says:

    Now that’s more like it!

  4. Sarah Says:

    You just summed up a good portion of my life. Some sort of collection of remembering and forgetting and missing things that I wouldn’t really want back. I do very much like the idea of The Future, but I’m so conscious of never really losing the past; it’s just sort of mutating it until it’s head is kinda sideways.

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