Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Those Were Days Of Roses...

To begin, I'd like to assure those who came out that I had a really great time tonight (5/7/10) and the tone of my blog post does not reflect my opinion of said night out :).

I've never been one to think of myself as being one of the young guns, but I have become one of the last of my high-school class to reach the suspiciously inauspicious age of 20. The numbers themselves, seem unnerving, there hasn't been a number "2" in my age since I was twelve, and it's here to stay for a whole decade. I can't do anything that I couldn't do previously within the eyes of the law, but I am no longer a teenager, no longer a recently departed high-schooler, and now a plain-and-simple university student, pretending that the whole world is at my feet when my every academic decision pigeonholes me further into a niche which I am yet to decipher.

Also, tonight I celebrated this supposedly momentous occasion (a week late, I must add) by hitting up the now-infamous Lloyd's Bar/Oceana double whammy. I saw infamous as the combo has been used countless times in the past, largely during the reckless Year 13 which saw us all comfortably getting along with one another, forming cliques and groups, making Facebook events and relaying mass text messages. After that year ended, and summer began with the departure of several of us to foreign lands, still short-sighted to the fact that there was no constant to which to return to any more. School's out for summer; school's out forever.

Uni brings new friends, new experiences, new mindsets. The shift from dinner cooked by mum every evening, being picked up from the tennis courts or the rather small car park and going to Llandaff for chips and sweet-n'-sour sauce, to university halls, student nights and the Blackboard learning system means that what we once thought of as paramount becomes a mere afterthought, and the structures once so solid and secure become dust in the wake of this new world. We take everything we had in school and we compact, we distinguish, we discard. The friends we remain with are the ones who we keep forever (in theory, knowing full well that theory never pans out exactly as we'd hypothesised), and the ones we begin to ignore are mere acquaintances along the way; perhaps useful one day for business contacts, scrounging upon celebrity, or even just filling up seats and the wedding.

What do we do with our old friends? The ones we love, but hardly ever see; with whom we instantly fall back into comfortable rhythms and rapport, but who we no longer have on our lists of recently texted contacts. We catch up. Forever, and ever catching up; no longer a proper part of one another's lives we resign ourselves to making a dogged but ultimately futile attempt to stay absolutely up to date with the goings on of each other's lives, but are not allowed to become a part of their tapestry of life ever again. Always observing the craftsmanship and the details, but never volunteering an idea for the next chapter.

On a similar subject, here's a bit of Tom Waits, with Martha from the Closing Time album of '73; a song about catching up. It's beautiful, and when I think of what I've told y'all about tonight, it's a little heartbreaking.

Operator, number, please: it's been so many years
Will she remember my old voice while I fight the tears?
Hello, hello there, is this Martha? This is old Tom Frost,
And I am calling long distance, don't worry 'bout the cost.
'Cause it's been forty years or more, now Martha please recall,
Meet me out for coffee, where we'll talk about it all.

And those were the days of roses, poetry and proses
And Martha all I had was you and all you had was me.
There was no tomorrows, we'd packed away our sorrows
And we saved them for a rainy day.

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