In the early afternoon I bumped into someone I worked with on a project years ago. He recognized me right away. He was always a very friendly, earnest guy. He was pushing around kid #2 in a stroller. Last time I saw him his wife had just delivered #1. It took me a moment to even remember his name. I thought maybe I should make a better effort to remember names and keep in touch.
I called up an old friend later and we ended up shooting hoops; I hadn't done that since I was 13, maybe. Seems almost funny for a couple of grown men to. He said "I found this park a few days ago, I'd never been there. Do you know where _____ is?"
"_______? Sure," I said, "I used to go down there when I was a kid. My elementary school was a couple blocks up the hill."
I remember walking down that hill to go skating in the winter; it seemed like an arduous trip at the time. Little snow boots didn't have enough grip for that slope. Extra worrisome with a pair of skates strung over your shoulder. After an afternoon on the rink we'd sit on the benches inside the clubhouse, unlace our skates and have hot chocolate. I never really liked hot chocolate but it seemed rude for a seven-year-old to refuse, so seven-year-old me never did. I never really got the hang of skating either.
27-year-old me is probably even worse at basketball than 13-year-old me was and that's saying something, because 13-year-old me was not very good at all. It doesn't really matter though, the point was to get outside. We shot the ball—I usually missed—and we talked. People don't take the time out of their days to just talk to someone like that anymore. You get older and you fill your time with other things. "More important" things. Some fill the time with kids, some with work; I'm sure a lot filled it with golf this weekend, but that always felt like work to me. It's something you're "supposed to" fill your time with when you get older; that feels like work. People don't fill their time talking to an old friend while shooting hoops on a court in the park down the hill from their elementary school. And we talked about all sorts of things: work, friends, growing up, kids these days, family, women.
I'm not even sure how that one woman came up in conversation. I know it wasn't me who brought her up. Telling me she'd put on 30 pounds since I saw her last, her husband got fired in December and played video games for a month before someone got him an interview and told him to go, and her being as miserable as ever were supposed to be solace I guess. Colour me unsurprised by any of it, but it doesn't give me solace. She wouldn't have been any happier with me. In a way that's sad—a more magnanimous man might say he feels sorry—but I don't feel anything at all really. I just remember things. As time goes on I remember fewer and fewer of these things. Maybe there will come a time when I won't remember at all, and maybe that'll be lamentable or maybe that'll be because some things simply aren't worth remembering.
But then again I remember the taste and smell of that hot chocolate I never liked, and almost losing my footing on that hill, and the weight of my skates on my shoulder. I don't know if that's worth remembering or not, but I do.
*yawn* I wasn't meant to be up this early, I was meant to sleep this late.
Other than that I feel good! And as the Godfather of Soul said (see a few posts above), I knew that I would! Except for the sore hip and knee, that was unexpected. Never had that problem when I played basketball before, but then again that was about half a lifetime ago. O_O