It is winter in Santa Monica and I imagine that you are out there somewhere, don’t know your name or where you live but you are out there. Maybe you are like me and you think nothing watching the sunset on a warm winter’s day in Santa Monica.
Couples walk down the beach arm in arm and I wonder if one day that will be us and then laugh, because I haven’t a clue if I will ever get married so the idea of there being an us is sort of funny.Â But at twenty I am not concerned with whether one day I will get married and am barely concerned about having a girlfriend.
That is because I have a woman who is happy to help keep my bed warm and though she would like to hear about my day I don’t get any grief if I don’t talk about it and that is good.
School is out for Winter Break and at the moment I am enjoying sitting here by myself. It is quiet and it gives me some more time to think about whether I want to go to law school or go a different direction. Either one is good with me because I know whatever I do will work and success will follow me.
Twenty Years Later
Twenty years later I am back in Santa Monica and am walking along the beach to clear my head. Life is different than I had expected it to be and I am just beginning to see how dramatically different it could be.
Different isn’t necessarily code for bad or for worse but I haven’t quite decided yet how I feel about everything. That is because I am processing everything that has happened.
I am married with two kids, have a house and in many ways am living the so called American Dream. Except my dream is different than the one I heard and saw growing up.
We are fighting two wars and the wounds from that and September 11 are still felt all over. And then because we don’t like little problems we are in the middle of the worst economy since the Great Depression my grandparents went through.
Some friends have died from a variety of cancers, several have gotten divorced and a bunch of us are fighting to hold on to our houses.
Out With The Boys
It is noon and a group of us have assembled at a local diner. Under other circumstances this wouldn’t be remarkable except it is during the week and normally we would all be working, except none of us has a regular job anymore.
The economy and life have taken a bite out of our collective asses and we are gathered in large part to support each other. It is a chance to help prop each other up so that we don’t feel like a the losers and fuck ups we once pointed at. Life has humbled us and we are doing our best to keep up our spirits.
It is not easy for a host of reasons not the least of which is our circle also contains people who haven’t felt the wrath of the recession. They are still going to Hawaii or Europe or Hawaii and Europe for vacation.
Housekeepers, nannys, private schools and luxury cars are not dreams, they are reality. The boys and I are good about not comparing ourselves to them because we didn’t have the housekeepers or luxury cars and don’t care. We miss the vacations and the ability to set aside reality but what we miss most is not having to worry about how to pay the bills.
We swear we will get back our on feet and that this will not be how we are remembered. And then we wonder if karma is bullshit because so many of the people who are doing well are obnoxious assholes.
A Handful Of Years Later
I am walking down the pier thinking about all that has happened. The twenty-year-old is long gone but if I listen closely I can hear the faint echo of his voice.
We are all working again and have made much progress on the promises we made to ourselves and each other but we all have a little voice inside our heads that reminds us of how dicey it once got.
But maybe it is more appropriate to be walking by the carnival games and listening to the sounds of the surf and laughter. It is hokey but those games are like life, you don’t win a prize if you don’t play the game.