Nostalgia: The Days of Way Back When

There was a time before this time or better yet, there was a time when we were more connected to each other. Everything was different. The music was different. The way we dressed was different.
The world was more user friendly back then. Or wait.
Better yet, the world was more interactive. We gathered more. We talked more and texted less – then again, texting was different back then too.
You had to really mean it when texting began. What I mean is, you had to go by the letters of the alphabet on each number.

For the ease of an explanation, if you had to text the word “belt” for some reason – to do this, it meant you had to push the number two, twice to get the letter B. Then you had to hit the number three twice for the letter E and then push the number five three times for L and eight once for the T.  God forbid you mess up on this because then you’d have to start over.

The process took too long, It was easier to call – unless you absolutely had to text and if you did text, you had to really mean it because the work was too time consuming.
But that’s not my point.

My point is I remember a time when we used to go out. We used to talk on the phone for hours. We used to wear the outfits and dress ourselves up for the City.
I remember a night in the downtown scene. I found a place where I could buy a fake piercing. I walked around with a fake stud in my lip.
This was just at the time when piercings were spreading to become a bit more trendy. People had their eyebrows pierced with little hoops. People had their tongues pierced and belly buttons were a big thing too.
I found a little shop somewhere near W 4th Street where they sold these fake piercings.
I walked about with a stainless steel ball stuck just below my bottom lip.
I pretended as if I was in pain; as if I had a sudden urge to push the line and be crazy. When I walked out into the late summer night, I addressed my drunken friends who spilled around the street like young royalty. I covered my bottom lip as if I were in pain. 

“What happened?” asked Lonny.
I moved my hand away to reveal the fake stud.
“You’re a lunatic,” he said.
“Good luck at work on Monday,” Lonny told me.

I was in sales at the time. I was working in the garment industry and selling buttons and buckles to designers and garment manufacturers. I hated my job. I hated working. I hated the people I worked with.
But to be clear, I was just being young. I wanted to have fun. I wanted to explore and see everything. I wanted to be youthful and free – always.

It’s amazing though.
It’s crazy how we grow and the crowds seem to dwindle. It’s amazing what the younger body can endure – and the late nights during the week were simply common. Making it home in time to wake up and get to work the next day – this was common too. We did this. We were somehow able and capable of staying out all night and still making it work the next day. Meanwhile, the person I am today struggles to think about staying awake beyond 9:00pm.

I miss the interaction of people. I miss the need to see shows or be out at concerts and festivals, which have changed throughout the years. I don’t know how and I don’t know why either.
I don’t know if the younger generation knows what it feels like to be out at a club in the City until the break of dawn. I don’t know if they know what it is like, laughing too loud at the world, dancing and screaming, and celebrating the night in defiance of the dawn. To me, this was spectacular. Amazing. More importantly, this is my list of memories which will keep me company at the times when age creeps in.

I suppose I thought I’d always be friends with my old friends. I am, at least to some degree. I know who they are; my old friends, I mean.
I know that although we’ve changed, there’s always going to be that old spark and that old, special pizzazz from the days of way back. We howled like wild animals. We ran as fast as we possibly could or better yet, we smoked it to the filter is another saying that comes to mind.

I remember when we were at a place on the Turnpike and John went to do a flaming shot. He brought the glass to his mouth but the shot spilled down his chin. I remember the blue flames on his face in the middle of a dark club where black-lights and purple accents showed the colorful blue streams of flames on John’s face. We laughed about this. I can remember thinking to myself about the smallness of the moment yet, nothing like this moment would ever happen again.
We would never be at the same place like we were. We would never be together the same as we used to get together. John passed away years ago, which is funny because out of all the bigger memories I have of this person, I remember the tiny little articles of time, like the flaming shot that burned his chin or the girl he danced with at a place called Club Voodoo. 

I don’t know what a reunion would look like or if we could pull one off – that is of course, if we’re talking about a reunion per se. I don’t even know how to get one started because in fairness, age happened and most of us lost touch. 

I suppose I could launch a group text and see how this spreads.
By the way, I hate group texts.
Ever get stuck in one of those? You don’t even know who’s texting or who’s answering and then somehow, there’s a text from phone numbers that you’ve never seen before.

If I ever make it big or hit the number, I have my ideas on what I would do. I’d set up a weekend cruise to nowhere in particular. Or, say, one of those two night, three day cruises and the entire family is welcome. You can bring anyone you want.
We can all laugh. We can all dance. We can all play and when the boat docks at home – we can go back to our adult lives and look back with a smile.
(Know what I mean?)

I know the secrets of my old friends. And they know mine too. I love them for this because the kind of friends we are are the kind of friends who know how to keep something confidential – even if we aren’t friends anymore.

I have to say it once more; you never forget the kids from the neighborhood.
Or the music.
Or the memories.

I will say this though. There came a time when I was no longer interested in the randomness of love. I was no longer interested in the flash or the glitz. Somehow, there was this love I felt and this need I felt to be loved in return. I wanted to be loved in a regard that nothing else matters. They could turn the lights out and tell us all “It’s time to go home,” yet, what no one realized is we were home, together.
Yet, I had no idea how to express it. I had no idea how to believe in it or show myself in a more revealing way to otherwise be humble or vulnerable.

I wanna revisit a few places and re-see a few sunrises, like say, a specific one in Midtown on the roof of a building during the summer of 2001. I should have grabbed hold of the sunsets or spent more time with the sunrise.
I could have held on for a little while longer. Ah, but now – at least I have a picture in my head.
At least I saw the face of our skyline before the Towers fell.
Yeah. I was there too.


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