We’re eleven days into the only year ending in eleven that most of us will live through. And I’ve gone eleven days without posting. This was not a deliberate move – I had no resolution to avoid or reduce my commentary on my own life in this space. It just sort of happened, the way things do before and during and after travel, when time is short and emotion is capable of being long. I’ve composed partial posts in my head but run out of steam by the time I get to the keyboard, or been distracted by others. I’ve been spending a lot of time with a lot of others – after living alone for the first time since 2001 (and that year I had my own room in a hall that housed probably two-hundred people), I’ve spent the last month or so living with other people again, first at home, then at a debate tournament, and now on the road between tournaments. One gets accustomed to a different rhythm living with others, especially in close quarters. It is harder to muster that self-reflective, introspective state that gives rise to so many of my posts, so much of my writing in general. Living with others has still traditionally given me the opportunity to stay up till three in the morning and reflect on my day – traveling and crashing with friends, less so.
Anyway, it’s hard to sum up a series of days that have all been radically different in some sort of clean or poetic post. So I guess all I can try to do is pull together vignettes, maybe many of them at length and in succession, to try to not lose hold of the moments that have introduced me to this already intriguing year known as twenty-eleven. By the end, there may be some emergent thread or common bond, or there may be just a collection of days at the outset of a long journey whose destination is uncertain. So it has/does/will gone/go.
One: Rang in an essentially arbitrary new year (we just decided to do a countdown after, in the midst of a game of Celebrity, someone noticed it was 11:59 and then 12:01 on their cell phone) in front of the fire at Miranda Gray’s place. Miranda wasn’t there, but most of her family was, including some extended family. Fish and I were also there, as was Anna, who’s practically family at this point. In any event, we’d played plenty of Oh Hell and Celebrity and I actually enjoyed the latter game for perhaps the first time in my life. So much seems to be changing about my attitude toward the world. It’s tough to see how much of it is for the better, but it’s a little unnerving to feel that fundamental attributes of my personality are being washed out with the tide of former vantages. Then again, it’s just a game.
Drove Fish home and spent an hour waiting for Brandzy to show up, little knowing that he’d decided to drive from Berkeley to Albuquerque in a single day. It’s true what they say about geography knowledge in this country – there isn’t any, even and often among the best and brightest and most well educated. He’d deliberately obfuscated mileage and timing to himself for fear of intimidating himself out of what proved to be an extremely ill-advised venture – one that Google Maps lists as taking 17 hours and 6 minutes without traffic, stoplights, gasoline refills, or sustenance. Only the GPS knew the depths of his absurd attempt and yet he made it safely and almost coherently. And then there was much sleep, the first of the year.
The Frontier was closed that day (I’m still getting used to such closures after years of them not being 24/7/365), so we had to settle for Garcia’s after an epic tour of the Academy, Brandzy’s first. This featured the first-ever retelling of the caterpillar story in the place where it originally happened, as well as recounting some other storied events of my past life in the vicinity of their inceptions. The Academy tends to have an overwhelming affect on people, but I expect it less from someone who graduated from a place called the Athenian School. I also had moments of looking up and out and around and having to remind myself what a majestic place not only the Academy could be, but also and especially Albuquerque itself and even New Mexico generally. By the time I could virtually manifest a balloon-streaked sky in my mental theater, I was ready to reconsider my admonishment on moving back to the Land of Enchantment.
More than anything, my friendship with Brandzy is demarcated by talking. Well, talking and joking. Talking, joking, and tangents. Talking, joking, tangents, and irreverence. Talking, joking, tangents, irreverence, and… you get the idea. We were slated to be roommates upon arrival at Brandeis in the fall of 1998 and while I have always carried a bit of resentment at his late decision to abandon Scheffres 212 for an internship in city government in Oakland and a year’s deferral to ‘Deis, we both have long discussed that we’d have had to drop out of school for infinite distraction and failure to attend a class had we actually been paired together. So the remainder of the first day of this year was spent in endless verbalized contemplation of our recent past and potential future, adorned as usual with vast gulfs of mutual mirth and oblong spokes of barely relevant trivia. It was a typical good evening of plunging into our mental morass, made all the more amusing for its priming over a lengthy card game with Fish.
I have many more vignettes from early in the year to relay, but it is late in the overhang of the tenth day and I am feeling underwhelmed by the idea of getting through those nine days in the next hour or so amidst thousands of words. I feel impelled to get this first breath of 2011 out into the world, take my leave, some rest, and return reinvigorated to recount all that has transpired in the new year’s infancy. So far, so good. Already the first feels a month or so ago. Hopefully by the time I have caught pace with my tale, the time will not have sailed past me in its inevitable march toward the infinite.