I looked at my watch today, the watch I never learned how to set and so when the time “changes” I am forced to perform complex mathematical equations to determine the correct time, the watch whose alarm is set at 8pm (or 9pm, depending) and will remain set until 8pm (or 9pm, depending) until the day it dies, the watch Noriko gave me and will forever remain special, and realized it’s May 22.
… what? You were expecting more, perhaps?
You ever have one of those days that passes you by so quickly that you forget to take notice? Maybe it was a weekend day that went to fast or a day at work that flew by? Maybe it was an old wedding anniversary?
In my case, I never thought I would accidentally miss May 21 and not take notice. I never thought a May 21 would pass without feeling some deep, incontrovertible pain.
You see, that used to be my wedding anniversary. I was married before on May 21, 1988.
I can’t imagine missing or forgetting September 24 but, I suppose, these landmarks along the road of life are fleeting and it actually is possible to miss them. I feel strange admitting that, because I can remember the pain my divorce brought for all of those years and I can remember the love that I felt during my dozen years of marriage.
… but, and I kept help smiling as I write this, none of it really matters. It mattered then. It matters far less now.
It would be obvious to say that I have a new wife and that I love her very much. But loving Vicky does not reduce the love I once felt for another – the purpose of love is never to diminish. Quite simply, married or not, in love or not, I am a different person.
So, I started thinking about how different I am and it began to play out in my mind as one of those mass mailings your friends email around. Favorite ice cream? Favorite character on Heroes? Favorite Jelly Belly? And I thought I’d list them now, knowing that they’ll change next week, next month, and next year. They are meant to change… Everything Changes.
In 1988, I thought I’d never get divorced.
In 2000 (the year of my divorce), I thought I’d never get married.
Today, I’m sure of and aim for neither.
In 1988, I never wanted children.
In 2000, I never thought I’d have children.
Today, I want Vicky and I to have children.
In 1988, I was sure my acting career was over.
In 2000, I was sure it had just begun.
Today, it’s like the motorcycle Vicky keeps saying we’ll get me. Sure, but where would we put it?
In 1988, I had written one novel.
In 2000, I had written seven novels.
Today, I have written 13 novels (give or take), am finishing the 14th, and am preparing to write my 15th… damn!
In 1988, I knew I had to be published to give my life as a writer meaning.
In 2000, I was certain I had to be published to give my life as a writer meaning.
Today, my life has enough meaning and publication would be a nice bonus.
In 1988, I played far too many video games.
In 2000, I played far too many video games.
Today, I play far too many video games!
In 1988, I held everyone else to a very high standard.
In 2000, I held myself to a very high standard.
Today, I’m trying to go easy on everyone.
In 1988, my in-laws hated me.
In 2000, a few of my ex-in-laws loved me.
Today, my in-laws love me and I think I’ll keep them!
In 1988, I read comic books.
In 2000, I sold comic books.
Today, I watch comic books on TV!!!!
In 1988, I read fiction.
In 2000, I read a little fiction.
Today, I never read fiction any more, just non-fiction. What the hell?
In 1988, my musical tastes were way behind the times.
In 2000, my musical tastes were way behind the times.
Today, my musical tastes are way behind the – THEY’RE JUST FINE, THANK YOU!
In 1988, I admired sci-fi films.
In 2000, I admired Woody Allen films.
Today, I admire Bergman films… who says I’m not getting old?
In 1988, I was a dirty, young man.
In 2000, I was a dirty, middle-aged man.
Today, I am in training for the Dirty Old Man-o-lympics!
In 1988, I was employed as a Benefits Assistant who did some writing.
In 2000, I was employed as a Technical Writer.
Today, I’m employed as an Assistant Marketing Manager. (Things may be looking up!)
In 1988, I had taken some college courses and failed miserably!
In 2000, I had my Associates degree.
Today, I’m preparing (with Vicky’s generous help) to go back and finish my Bachelors! Boo-yah!
In 1988, I wore my hair long.
In 2000, I wore my hair long.
Today, it’s growing, baby! It’s growing!
Now, just in terms of the last two:
In 2000, my deepest regret was in failing one of my closest friends.
Today, my deepest regret has been in failing one of my closest friends.
In 2000, I wanted to write big books on a grand scale.
Today, I like writing small books on an intimate scale.
In 2000, I would never eat sushi.
Today, I love to eat sushi… with Vicky… at a restaurant… There’s just no way for this NOT to sound dirty…
Times change. People change. Hair styles change. Interest rates fluctuate. The point here is that all of these statistics are meaningless by themselves. One day, you’re a young man filled with promise who has nothing but regrets and self-abasement. The next, you’re older and the promise ain’t there so much but you know things can be worse and they ain’t so bad now, anyway.
Thank heaven for time, I guess.