Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stepping Out (a nostalgic ramble)

Yesterday was just one of those days.

It's hard to even put into words how everything can come together on certain days to bring you right back to where you were when you were a kid. Just driving up the road to get some lunch I found myself remembering the first warm days of the year when I was in Jr. High. I remember jumping off of the bus, on to my bike, and riding it down to my friends house making sure to leave my jacket at home because I would not bow down to the cold that would come after dusk. That would mean admitting defeat. It would mean admitting that it wasn't yet summer.

I was once called an idiot for being nostalgic, for holding on to the past the way that I do.

At the time, I was shocked to hear it. Not because I agreed with the statement but because people could actually think that way. The past should somehow be shoveled into a garbage bag and put out on to the street instead of having it's place in your life? I always felt that they should be treasured. Especially the good moments. Especially the events and people who changed your life. Especially the moments where you felt alive - physically or mentally.

But of course, you can't tell me something like that without it sticking in my brain. When I stepped outside yesterday it was also a cause for me to step outside myself to think about what made me who I am, and it kind of hit me finally. Why am I generally more nostalgic than everyone else?

For example, I have an old video game collection that includes Atari 2600 games, Intellivision, and Colecovision. I collect those little LED Football games from the late 70's. I have a giant plastic tub full of Transformers, and another one full of Legos. I have two different boxes of papers, notes, pictures, fliers and random crap from me teenage years. I have two video tapes of my friends and me hanging out and drinking beer. I even have a Star Wars coin-op in my basement because, when I was a kid, it was my favorite arcade game.

I like finding old friends, saying hi just to see how they are doing. I've recently found a lot of old friends and I genuinely enjoy catching up, either through email or through a few empty beer bottles down at Jacks. Hell, I'm flying to Vegas in March to hang out with some old friends who live there.

Most people aren't like me. I accept that. But why am I like this? Like I said earlier - I think I figured it out. It has to do with where I grew up. Monongahela, Pennsylvania, population 1700. The part of Monongahela I grew up in, the number was closer to 50.

That means that while everyone else in my graduating class of 400+ kids had an entire community of kids to hang out with - I had something like 4.

Of those 4 only one of them was in my grade. Only one other Senior was on the school bus with me during my Sr. Year. (He wouldn't have been in my graduating class if his mother didn't force him to repeat 2nd grade!)

So imagine my early teen years - being isolated meant that you kind of had to hold on to your friends. If Kirk pissed me off there was no walking away and hanging out with someone else. We had to figure out our differences and deal with it. (Or walk another 5 miles to find someone else to play army with.) When he got his first girlfriend and disappeared for a few months, I didn't just hang up on him when he called and wanted to hang out again, I came down and we picked up where we left off.

Yeah sure over the years he and I drifted pretty far and now days we barely see each other, but when he called me last year and asked me to come camping with him, there was no doubt in my mind we should hang out, yet again.

That is kind of like how I've treated my entire life. Old friends are still friends. Old memories are still a part of me.

These things made me who I am, and if a warm day in the middle of winter makes me think about jumping on my bike to hang out with a friend - I have no problem being a nostalgic idiot.

1 comment:

  1. I don’t think that this is as uncommon as you think it is. It may be that I am a nostalgic idiot as well. I have a hard time getting rid of my stuff because I have held on to most of it for so long and all of it holds memories. I also have two friends that I hardly see anymore, sometimes years at a time and when we get back in touch it is like we never missed a beat. I also have every single letter any person ever wrote me, including the stupid ones and I will some times go back and read them. The past is what makes us who we are and, in my opinion, it is stupid to toss it out.


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