Secret Pop

Feb 22, 2002

Let the games begin. Or let them end. They're only games, after all.

I spent the day in an off-site meeting at the Beverly Plaza Hotel. The last time I was there was October 1. It was my first actual day at work. I had packed a suitcase, because I was staying in a hotel for the week as I looked for an apartment and tried to get used to the idea of living in Los Angeles. I remember leaving San Diego that morning. It was a strange, sad goodbye. I remember what I was wearing. I always remember what I was wearing.

The executive board room (which has no business having such a lofty-sounding name) smelled just as it did at 10:30 A.M. on that morning in October. The ice water still tastes as if it was dipped from a swimming pool. The lunch menu was still maddeningly inaccurate. The climate control was poor. The elevators were stuffy. The bathroom was as well. It was all the same. Just as I had remembered it. And it was interesting to be taken back. I didn't know that I was going to be. It caught me off-guard.

I wonder about the purpose of nostalgia. I don't find myself benefiting from it much. More like falling prey to it. It's bittersweet, and that's a sort of nicety. But I am left wanting. And that is not for the best. Looking back, I see the roll call changing. The landscape of friendships gotten and forgotten. The curvature of love and loss and smiles and stings. Change hurts sometimes. But I often make reference to that bit in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader when Eustace has been turned into a dragon and must dig so deep into the scales that it hurts, in order to shed the hideous outer part and reveal the boy inside. What is arduous has its rewards. One would hope so, anyway.

I said goodbye to a lot of things that morning. And I wasn't in San Diego to smell my Present Laughter weather coming on. I wasn't anywhere, really. Sort of adrift. By turns, exhilarated and eviscerated. I seem to straddle the extremes. I wonder if I'm due for a bit of the middle of the road this year. A taste of the happy medium. A glimpse of bliss maybe?

"Off the charts." Am I? It's nice to hear.

Nothing makes sense to me today. And I think I am developing a Red Bull dependency.

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