As I wrote yesterday’s post, the realization slowly dawned that within a matter of hours I would indeed be returning to “quarter-life crisis” “o, lost youth” mode. It usually happens just when I think I’m happily adhering to the moderate routine of a mature adult. I spent the afternoon with a vaguely unsettled feeling – dissatisfaction I couldn’t really put my finger on. Then, around 4:30, I got an IM from a friend from college announcing that he’d stopped by Syracuse on his way cross country. The crazy thing is that my OTHER friend from college was ALSO in Syracuse for a wedding. I pictured the two of them meeting up, getting shit-ass wasted at all our old spots, then drunkenly strolling through campus, trading memories and maybe puking on some statues or something.
“get in your car, sweetheart” my friend said, “only 5 hours away”
“4.5” I replied, a time tested door-to-door truth, if you kept your speed above 80.
Of course, there was no way I was about to abruptly take off for Central NY at 6pm on a Friday, right? It was too crazy. I had plans for the weekend. And Katsumi might cry. But as the end of my workday neared, I remembered all the times in college I’d just taken off and driven somewhere: ten-hour trips through the Adirondacks, midnight runs to Amherst, and two days after 9/11, when I rented a car and drove through the Berkshires with no radio and no tape deck just to suprise my mom. One time, my friend Christina and I left Syracuse at 11pm and drove to Philadelphia, hoping to find our friends after a Phish show. We caught up with them at a diner at 3am, and headed back the next morning for our lunch shift at the restaurant.
I thought about this as I battled traffic coming out of the city, I thought about it as I had my second cigarette going over the Tobin, and by the time I got home, I was so worked up that I could barely even stand it.
“They’re going to have such a good time!” I whined to Katsumi, as I chopped mushrooms for the stroganoff, “but it’s too late – it’s too crazy. I wouldn’t even get there until like, eleven, and for what.”
Not that he wouldn’t have let me go, you understand, if anything, he probably would have preferred it to my passive-agressive dinnertime monologue. By the time we finished eating, it was 8:30. If I left then, I figured, I wouldn’t get to Syracuse until 1 anyway, and that was REALLY too late. Like, CRAZY too late. But I still couldn’t shake the thought that I’d pull into downtown, call my friends and say “I’m here – in Armory Square!”, and they would shriek and run out of the bar and then we’d do shots before last call and pass out in my car or something. And it would all be worth it.
A tortured hour or two later, by which point I’d convinced myself that there was not a spontaneous or interesting bone left in my body, that my life had been wasted making “safe” decisions, by not taking chances and stifling my creativity, my phone rang. It was Christina, telling me that the weather was shitty, she was tired from her flight, and that she wasn’t going out to meet our college friend after all.
So I thought, shit. Maybe we’re all getting old. And I sat back down on the couch to finish my bottle of vodka and watch Japanese horror films with my fiancee.