In this series, I’m taking you way back. Well….i’ve only been alive for 25 years, so maybe not THAT far. I’ll be highlighting some different memories from my past, as a way to both preserve and entertain. Keep in mind, names will be changed as not everybody is as intent on sharing as I am. Enjoy!
“WE WILL NEVER SLEEP, CAUSE SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK.”
“I’VE SAID IT BEFORE AND I’LL SAY IT AGAIN: IF YOU THINK YOU’RE ALIVE THEN YOU’RE BETTER OFF DEAD.”
These lyrics, done in an almost unintlligable scream and backed by fast drums, fast guitars, and heavy riffs blasted through the speakers of my buddies car. The car itself, a small Acura if I remember correctly, was backed up to the paved walkway running along side the 24 Hour Diner in town. Myself and a small group (that seemed to change with time) had become a staple in this place. If you want to call us Diner Rats, go for it, we never really gave a shit about lables.
Sitting in a Diner for endless hours drinking coffee and discussing the universe was all well and good, but there were some phases like any human has where we latched onto a specific hobby. For a while it was playing cards, sometimes poker but mostly UNO. There was a time we would regularly venture out to the Adult-World store in the next town over, just for kicks and to talk to the large black woman behind the counter (she was hilarious).
The longest running hobby however, that seemed to pass from “generation to generation” of the group I became a part of, was Hackysack. Originally turned onto us by a boyfriend of a waitress who was part of our group, we all took to it with somewhat intensity. This is where we were now….well….two of us at least.
It was, as I remember it, the last of the “Golden Days”. Most of the original group had faded out, or simply just got sick of the Diner. Some were at odds with each other, so they’d just rather not hang out here for now. Others had moved on with jobs, or significant others. But at this point there were still a few left, clinging on the fringes of a high that lasted two years. Two years doesn’t sound like a long time, but considering we spent every single night with each other, it was indeed a lengthy period.
The friend in question, with the hardcore music blasting from the rear of his 90’s-mobile was Dan. He was a mess at the time, to put it honestly. But whats interesting is that the description of “he was a mess”, doesn’t 100% apply. He was having trouble sorting some things out in his life, and it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, just that it was happening all at once. Dropping out of College cause it wasn’t affordable anymore, working out his relationship with his Mom, Step-Dad, and girlfriend all at the same time. All of his friends were moving on with their lives and he was being left behind in a whirlwind of uncertainty.
But this was one of those moments, like many others we were able to have, where everything was perfectly clear. The one thing about our relationship as friends, at least from my perspective, is that we inspired each other and kept each other happy. Being surrounded by good people and good vibes, even if it’s just the two of you on a sidewalk at 2:30AM, is a wonderful thing.
Right now, in this moment, this is all we needed. Outside the Diner on a cool summer night, harcore music blasting from a little car with all doors and trunk open, coffee cups in our hands filled with semi-warm brew, cigarettes hanging out of our mouths, and a hackeysack to punt around for a little while. We were always in the zone with that game, able to focus on the task at hand, barely speaking a word. It kept our heart rate up, our reflexes sharp, and our minds clear.
This wasn’t a game. It was meditation.
We pause for a second to sip some coffee, and a hook-line pumps through the speakers.
“Throw your diamonds in the sky, and we’ll stay gold forever.”
I don’t particularly like this band, but they spoke to me in the moment. At that time I had regular money, nothing holding me down, and a passport to go anywhere. I could have gone anywhere, seen so many things. Travelled the world with naught but a pack on my shoulders and a burning desire in my veins. But I didn’t.
No, I spent most of my money those days on gas to get to the diner, coffee, and cigarettes. And from an emotional, and spiritual standpoint, that’s exactly where I needed to be. I turned away diamond opportunities for myself, and cultivated golden moments for all the people around me, and I was completely happy with it. This was one of those moments.
Later, we got in the car and drove over to the convenience store for RedBull and more cigarettes. Still blasting the same song, he asked me a question.
“What are we doin man?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean in life. Like….what are we doing?”
“I don’t know.”
Turn the music up.