I turned 40 recently. F-O-R-T-Y.
And you know, part of me wants to hide it. To leave everyone who doesn’t know me in real life kind of guessing. Like, “How old is that chick who wrote that book with a bad ass heroine who seriously kicks ass?” So that they’ll think I’m younger and much cooler and well, wait. I am cool. Heh heh.
Come on. YOUTH does not equal cool. OK. So if you are a young person, like say younger than 30, let me just give you a bit of advice (I know you want it!) . . .
Oh damn. Did I almost just turn into one of those curmudgeons that goes around telling younger people that they’re nothing special just because they’re young?
“In my day . . . *grumble, grumble* hey, kid, get of my lawn!”
Well, at least I caught myself before I one hundred percent became a crotchety butthead.
My age doesn’t matter, guys! I’ll be fucking sky-diving at 80 with my blue hair whipping in the wind and my face on fire with happiness because that’s how I roll.
Yeah. And that’s *ahem* how I’m planning my escape from the flesh . . . skydiving “accident” at 85. So, this is the only warning you’ll get, all you younger people who will want me to stick around well into my 120s.
So now you know. I just turned 40. And so far it’s been pretty damn great. I let out a back-cracking sigh when it happened and then I had a party with my husband because I don’t do big group parties. I like to know the people I’m with. Like, really know them.
I probably should have emphasized really in that last sentence because know is starting to, I don’t know, look like a biblical sense of the word.
But I’m gonna leave it because it’s funny. To me.
That’s how all my humor works. It’s me, not you. 😉
Anyway. The people in my life. I like to know what songs they like. I think I know what they love about themselves and I sort of know what they hate about themselves and I love them for both.
So tonight, I was making this Spotify playlist for a friend who will never listen to it, because that’s also how I roll. I like to make them. And sometimes I never give them to the person because honestly, I don’t think they’d give a crap.
But it’s one way I remember the people I love, with music, and sort of like thinking, “Oh yeah, I remember how [insert name here] turned me on to Widespread Panic. What a cool jerkface they were. I miss them!” Except I don’t love Widespread much anymore. That was an ill-advised detour into Phish-like jambands. And I was never high enough to really appreciate it in the longterm. Not high. That’s key.
I thought about all this stuff, and I realized this thing out of nowhere (sort of): I have a lot of friends who’ve died. And I still remember them like they’re alive.
So what I want to do is make a list of the friends I’ve lost. I know I’ve forgotten some of the people, which is kind of sucky of me. But as I get closer to my own old age, creeping closer to me like the River Lethe, that is my excuse: old age. Forgetfulness.
If you’re reading this, thank god, you’re still alive. Drop me a line. Let’s hang out. Grab a drink. Have a chat. I fucking miss you.
Christie B. How we met: 3rd grade. She was funny and interesting and I was jealous of her for being one of two children. Just the other day I remembered how, during college, she used to take a jar of pennies to the airport (pre-9/11) and fake-trip down the walkway and “spill” her jar of pennies. Then she’d clean them up and act embarrassed and secretly laugh at the situation. Her sense of humor was prime–and apparently quite physical and situational–and I am lucky that I knew her for so long. Her song, the one that I think of when I think of her: Faith Hill, “It Matters to Me.” Granted, Christie had a lot of songs she liked, but I’ll never forget her asking me if I was going to try singing, randomly, when worked at JCrew in Nashville to try to get a record deal, because that’s how Faith got discovered.
Drew. How we met: he was a customer at the indie record store where I worked during college. And he was sweet, and pretty damn adorable. He smoked and I thought I could influence him to maybe be a bit less cynical. For some reason I was less cynical than a lot of the people around me. Call it naivete. Because that’s what it was. Drew was studying something intriguing like environmental engineering (I made that up) because he was more interesting than me (English lit, gag). He acted tough and he wore square dark-framed glasses that were uber handsome on his face…His death was this random shock. I think it was a freak heart-attack when we were in our twenties. His song, and how i knew that he was a damn softy beneath that tough exterior: Rocky Votolato, “White Daisy Passing.”
Eames. How we met: don’t remember, precisely, but we became rock climbing partners for a while. He was in a rough spot with his girlfriend, and I was in a rough spot with this guy (super ill-advised boyfriend, 14 years older than me, he dumped me for a YOUNGER girl, WTF?! Classy). At the time, my heart was raw and Eames’ heart was raw, and he was a better climber than I was (translate: he led all the climbs and set the route so I could just top-rope it ha ha ha ha, you wimp, you, Nik), so it was a match made in heaven. We hung out a lot and drove all over to climb. I kept a soft spot in my heart for Eames for a long long time. Though we spent a lot of time in the car driving to climbing haunts, I don’t remember what he listened to. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was something like DMB. He was a chill guy, who said words like “jonesin’ to get on the rock” and he wore Smith sunglasses and was always super cool and had beachy sensibilities. Good guy, old Eames.
I’m glad there’s only three. A lifetime is a long time to live without your friends. Not included here are the people who died in the traditional order of nature: my father, my grandmother, grandfather, uncles.
Sometimes it just seems worth it to stop and take stock of what you have and what you’ve lost, I guess. So you don’t forget to appreciate the people you can still hold onto.