Bourgeois Deviant

Friday, January 11, 2008

Taking the late train

Last night, a friend was generous enough to bring me along to see Is He Dead? While it wasn't a great show, it was certainly enjoyable and very well done. As it is still in the infancy of its run, the cast hasn't quite gelled into a well oiled machine in terms of timing and taking opportunities as the full subtext of any play might provide. The knocks will work themselves out soon enough and it will have a good run of it.

But I come not to bury, not to praise,
But to speak of other things, my ride home.

As you might note from my media list to the right, I am reading Steve Martin's Born Standing Up. It is excellent. I am mid way through the book and hell bent on finishing it soon. So, as with any good reading, I am loathed to be distracted by what is going on around me. None the less, my attention was diverted, somewhat by coincidence relevant to the content of the pages before me.

Sitting behind me, to my left, were two college men. My guess is that they were headed back to Montclair State University after a night out in Manhattan. They were involved in a three way conversation with one of their cohorts over a mobile phone. One of the lads seemed to have a post-cryogenic-thaw inability to control the volume of his voice. In other words, I could not help but notice the content developing in my proximity.

Whoever was on the other end of the call had apparently been the victim of theft. Actual linear time aside, college doesn't feel that far off, so the tone they had adopted was vaguely familiar. As it turns out, the stolen item was a bottle of Baily's Irish Cream. Nothing else. The discussion ranged from likely suspects to if the crime should be reported to the proper authorities. As the fellow with the voice problem stated, at least it wasn't the guy's teevee. However, this bottle of Baily's was imported by the victim's own hand from his stay in Ireland and had only been sipped six times.

While I can see the sentimental value of that kind of loss, the gravity with which it was being treated was equivalent to that of a 60 year old bottle of Oban's going missing, or a brand new plasma screen teevee. Those losses I can rationally comprehend. But, in efforts to get my head around the problem, however one sided my intelligence gathering, I supposed that the victim might not have been of age and therefore liquor, whatever its kind or source, had a vastly inflated value given law, etc...

When I was of similar age, there were two finished bottles of Cuervo Gold that I had a large hand in emptying and was disproportionately attached to. I spent a great deal of time turning them into candle sticks with multi-colored wax dripped all over. (Creativity is so relative.) When one broke, it was a sad day. I did get over it quickly, however. The other I resolved to leave behind with my college days upon graduation. Equivalent inertia felt and a faster recovery made.

The conversation kept going back to the missing Baily's to the point of sounding contrived. However, I couldn't be sure how much alcohol anyone had consumed and I was failing to recall what life was like at that time. I.E. the irrelevant and unimportant being able, by choice or circumstance, to be come utterly salient and paramount.

My stop was coming up when, back tracking in the book because of the repeated distraction, I noticed this: "Of course, we were all beautiful. We were in our 20s." Throughout his book, Steve Martin writes with such warmth and affection for so much he recollects. Its easy to understand his perception of beauty. While I don't share that perception (yet), especially in relation to the fellows I couldn't help eavesdropping on, I do feel it for that time of life and its care free, consequence free existence. I will probably always feel that kind of inertia for those salad days, but like fine wine and some women, they'll just get better with age.

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